Success Story: Bayer CropScience
Calculation and worldwide provision of limit values for quality assurance in plant protection production
Bayer CropSciene – Expertise and experience in crop protection
With its innovative products and forward-looking know-how, Bayer CropScience AG is one of the world’s leading suppliers in the field of crop protection. The product range of Bayer CropScience Deutschland GmbH includes herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, seed treatment products and non-agricultural applications. These include, for example, products from the Environmental Science unit for pest control in the home and garden or for commercial use. The portfolio is rounded off by the BioScience business unit, whose intensive research makes a major contribution to progress in the field of plant biotechnology. The company, which was formed in 2002, is a subgroup of Bayer AG with sales in the region of €5.7 billion, 20,000 employees and representatives in 122 countries. It is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the fields of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. Bayer CropScience – a new company that occupies top positions right from the start. It ranks first in insecticides worldwide, second in fungicides and third in herbicides.
Quality assurance - Limit values
Bayer CropScience has around 55 production facilities worldwide, each with 2-20 production lines, in which crop protection products are filled or formulated, i.e. brought into the optimum commercial and user form with auxiliaries and carrier substances.
The formulation or filling plants are used for different products (formulations). In the event of a product change, the systems must be cleaned to ensure product quality and avoid contamination. The contamination of products can lead to high financial losses and a loss of confidence among customers and the public.
For the cleaning of the plants in case of product change, there are limits for the Acceptable Concentration Level (ACL) which must not be exceeded. These limits are valid worldwide and are calculated according to official guidelines (ECPA, US EPA) and additional restrictive Bayer CropScience directives. The calculation is based on the so-called NOEL value (No Observable Effect Level) for the most sensitive plant of the derived product, taking into account the amount of application and an additional safety factor.
Until now, the limit values have been provided by means of data sheets based on MS Excel, which were time-consuming and labour-intensive and had to be prepared specifically for each production plant or production line.
In order to improve this situation, a database with all necessary information was planned, which can be maintained centrally and is available for information searches for all production plants distributed worldwide. All changes to data used in the calculation of the limit values are logged to allow an audit.
The application implemented by PTA allows central data storage of all relevant data and prompt and efficient worldwide provision of the limit values relevant for the production plants. PTA’s many years of experience and the good cooperation with the end user have led to this success.
The tasks of the PTA
PTA GmbH prepared an architectural recommendation taking into account the existing infrastructure and implemented the application on the basis of an existing requirement definition.
The application was to be provided worldwide in the company network without additional installations at the end users. Since the existing Citrix terminal server infrastructure could be used, the decision was made in favour of a client-server application and against the other alternatives considered (web-based solutions with ASP.NET, J2EE or Oracle Forms 9i). The application was realised in .NET, taking into account a separation of the layers of user interface, business logic and data management in an Oracle database. The realisation was done in a prototyping approach in close cooperation with the end user in English.
Calculation and provision
The limit values are calculated automatically and must be approved by a specialist user in the central quality assurance department before they appear in the evaluations. Limit values that have not been released and are necessary for evaluations can be viewed by this specialist user. The current data were taken over from Excel files. Changes to data that are included in the calculation of limit values are logged for auditing purposes. The affected production sites can be automatically informed by e-mail about the existence of new limit values affecting them. Those responsible in the production plants can maintain the data for their plant themselves and create reports and interface files with all limit values affecting them.
The cooperation with PTA in this project was extremely positive.
I would like to emphasise the following points in particular:
– strong customer orientation (PTA always endeavoured to be
to understand the requirements of the users and to implement them in the application)
– highly professional and reliable project planning
(all agreed milestones were reached on time and in high quality)
– high technical competence in the realisation of the application,
which has led to a very good acceptance by the users.
Mr. Brauer, Head of the department for non-SAP and eBusiness projects
actively use. The worldwide provision of consistent information stimulated intensive technical discussions, which ultimately lead to a uniform and higher level of quality assurance.
Dr. Hüttelmaier, Department QHSE Systems & Quality Management