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Aug 19, 2014

Exploiting JMP® Capabilities to Bring a Business-Critical Manufacturing Process Under Control

David Payne, Head of Continuous Improvement, Macfarlan Smith

Andrew Ruddick, Director, Process Insight Consulting

In 2012, a facility for the continuous extraction of morphine from field-grown poppy straw was debottlenecked to increase the production capability. However, since startup, it has only been possible to run at about 75 percent of the nameplate capacity due to problems processing the highly variable and complex feed stock. Process understanding was poor, and critical variables were not well defined. Significant process data was available, but it proved impossible to see the wood for the trees using conventional data analysis methods. JMP data visualisation (Distributions, Graph Builder) and analysis platforms were used to baseline the current situation and give powerful new insight. JMP Fit Model, factor profiling and simulation have enabled the process to be brought under control within a defined robust operating envelope. The facility can now monitor process performance and trigger suitable response to changes in critical input variables. Process capability has significantly improved. There is strong leadership recognition of the value of JMP – the progress made would clearly not have been possible without it. The next phase of JMP analysis and modelling will drive back through the supply chain to enable optimisation of the poppy varieties and growing conditions linked to morphine extraction yields. This has enormous potential for enhanced profitability, continued growth and effective vertical integration of the business.