A large Dutch slaughterhouse has been using ATS MeatIT in their MES/MOM environment for decades. Every piece of meat is tracked and linked with the parent ERP system. The software on the work floor has been adapted to the production process and is easy to operate by hand via a touchscreen.Recently an issue was reported. When a specific label printer was turned on in the morning, it started to print hundreds of labels spontaneously. The software that manages the labelling works with a trigger that is sent by the controlling-tool. After some investigation it was found that a triggers were being sent to print the labels through the night. Even after several adjustments in the software, the issue remained without any logical explanation. Our engineers suspected that there were incorrect signals received from the controlling-tool, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

At their wits’ end the engineers requested that the slaughterhouse to look back at camera images. It turned out that the trigger wasn’t coming from the PLC at all, but the touchscreen! Every night the touchscreen was being cleaned with cleaning foam then and hosed down with a warm jet of water. The water jet pressed the first button “Re-print labels”, the follow-up question “Are you sure/ certain?” was sometimes answered by “Yes”.

The solution was simple; now, 10 minutes after the final step of the slaughter process, the application shuts down automatically, so the process will be waterproof again. In addition, the touchscreen will be lockable.

It remains unclear whether we ruined the computer game of the cleaner with these adjustments.