PHARMA MANUFACTURER SEES PROCESS CONTROL BENEFIT
- Integrated flexible process control system supports ‘agile’ manufacturing need
- In-house engineering personnel configure system
- Costs down and productivity up with plans for continued system investment
A clear focus upon operational efficiency needs to be at the forefront of any business priority - particularly in the current tough economic environment. Siemens Industry Automation has worked with Wirral based chemical and pharmaceutical intermediates manufacturer, Phoenix Chemicals to provide process control solutions that have helped deliver three key benefits - enhanced production flexibility, improved product consistency and a reduction in costs.
The enhancements are based upon Siemens’ PCS7 process control system. The easy-to-set up system means that Phoenix engineering personnel are able to configure the control system to meet changing production requirements, without having to rely on outside expertise. Since the first of its four separate installations at Phoenix’s site, the PCS7 system has contributed significantly to supporting and enhancing Phoenix’s overall competitive edge.
The working relationship began in 2002. Since then Siemens has to date installed four PCS7 process control systems at Phoenix’s processing facilities, and such are the ongoing benefits of the system that plans are in place to add a fifth system in the near future. The company manufactures its products to meet the needs of customers across international markets, with a typical example being the production of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry.
Phoenix’s management team was seeking improvements in both the operational efficiency of its production processes, as well as a need to remove the potential for product inconsistencies during production due to operator actions. The PCS7 automated process control systems installed on the various continuous production processes have, over the intervening years, helped address these key operational objectives.
The benefits that are helping Phoenix include the company’s ability to take a more agile approach to manufacturing so that processes can be readily and speedily re-configured for different products. This supports an ongoing need to meet shorter times to market which can be critical in the pharmaceutical environment. In addition, the PCS7 system has resulted in the reduction in numbers of required operator personnel as remotely-mounted operator stations deliver the same operational solution. The control system has also enabled the business to reduce its ongoing service, maintenance and training needs with a dramatic effect upon associate costs.
Such tangible benefits are seen across the varied production processes implemented by Phoenix Chemicals with typical process control automation applications including a wiped film evaporation plant and a multi reactor API plant whilst another PCS7 application is dedicated to laboratory work where chemicals are developed in micro-bore piping.
An essential element behind the success of the PCS7 applications on site has been the rigorous development and testing of the required applications by Phoenix engineers and process technology staff. This has meant that the designated applications and subsequent PCS7 solutions have been integral to the needs of the business and fully understood by on-site staff from the earliest stages. The collaborative approach has proven beneficial, particularly when further system enhancements have been made, as both testing and documentation were able to be delivered in a timely and straightforward manner - ultimately saving Phoenix cost on service support and training expenditure.
Integral for the PCS7 solution is its ability to use Profibus digital networks which are used extensively on the manufacturing site to communicate with intelligent motor drives and field instrumentation - including those installed by other vendors. With its integrated central database and specific Profibus management tools, the solution of offering the PCS7 control system alongside industrial PCs and network switches, as well as local Siemens’ technical support means that Phoenix Chemicals has benefitted from a completely integrated and supported package that has delivered benefits in production flexibility, operational efficiency and cost control.
Indeed, such has been the success of the PCS7 automated process control solutions already in place across many of Phoenix’s production processes that plans are now underway to implement a fifth PCS7 system to help Phoenix Chemicals maintain its competitive edge.