A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a document that lists all of the specific tasks, and their sequence, that operating personnel must follow to successfully operate all aspects of the complex web-coating process. Each of the 20 regular coater modules that require an SOP has several internal modules that also require SOPs to be controlled to function effectively.
The use of SOPs ensure that all of the specific operations in the entire web-coating process are functioning as required and are reproduced by all operating personnel when a product is being manufactured. When used consistently, they will result in a quality, cost-effective product that can be reproducibly manufactured at the volume needed to meet customer demand. They are essential to the effective operation of testing procedures, laboratory, pilot and manufacturing coating lines. The advent of computers has helped make the creation of SOPs more efficient, easily accessible and allows for effective updating when needed.
SOP web-coater process advantages
There are several specific reasons that the consistent use of current SOPs will result in improved and reproducible coater performance:
- Effective guide for coater operating personnel to set up the coater at the start of a coating campaign and to maintain process conditions during the run.
- Requires the identification of all process variables and specifying appropriate operating values.
- Recognizes the importance of some variables that were not previously considered to be significant.
- The setpoint for all process variables are as intended during process operations and are the same for each shift that is operating the coater whenever product is manufactured, which will result in excellent process reproducibility.
- Improves production process product reproducibility.
- Improves communication between operating engineering, management and R&D personnel because the SOP functions as a common reference to discuss coater operation concerns.
- Ensures all safety and environmental regulations are known, listed and implemented by operating personnel.
- Acts as an effective training aid for all coater personnel.
- Works as a tool to assist in troubleshooting defects when they occur. Current process variables can be compared with SOP standard values.
- Individual optimized procedures can be used for each manufactured product
- Will ensure all test procedures are the same at each laboratory and are consistent with test methods used in the converting industry.
- Specific SOPs can be updated as more process information is developed