Every plant manager is keenly aware of the negative impact disparate control systems can have on the production floor.
Multiple systems introduce complexity, increase costs and compromise efficiency at every level – from integration and system visibility to parts management, training and maintenance.
But the stakes are especially high in regulated environments where validation is critical.
Yet many pharmaceutical plants maintain multiple systems to control material and formulation processes – and to manage building and environmental conditions that impact product quality, such as pressure, temperature, humidity, and in some cases, particulate count.
In existing plants, the control infrastructure often evolved in line with new regulatory mandates and became even more complex over time.
The result is an environment where issues around event-time sequencing, data security, reporting and other essential functions are commonplace.
What’s the solution?
A single, integrated plant-wide control platform for process automation, environmental monitoring and building management.
With a unified approach, the same functionality applied to process-control system validation is used to meet validation requirements for building automation.
Today, many pharmaceutical companies are converting to unified platforms to ease compliance, reduce costs and enhance product quality in their existing facilities.
What are the steps to a successful upgrade?
Here are a few thoughts based on lessons learned during implementations for leading pharmaceutical companies.
For example, at Rockwell Automation, we use a comprehensive library of pre-engineered and pre-tested control modules to streamline validation – and also apply software simulation to thoroughly test the complete sequence of operation.
Simulation is used both before the factory acceptance test (FAT) and during the FAT onsite.
Oftentimes, our teams begin with systems that impact the entire plant.
For instance, an efficient approach might start with the main energy management system, which typically includes air handlers, chillers and other equipment that affect operations across the board.
Subsequent installations are planned based on criticality, number of I/O points and shutdown duration.
And learn more about a unified approach to building management systems for life sciences applications.