Making Connections in Bioprocess Manufacturing
After being acquired by Nikkiso Corporation in 2009, the LEWA team had an opportunity to work with management to identify its best opportunities for long-term growth. In order to expand into a global market, LEWA needed to change its approach to how it designed and developed skids.
Until this point, the LEWA team designed and developed each skid using the control system already in place at its customers’ facilities. This approach limited LEWA’s ability to quickly scale and required engineers to become familiar with a wide breadth of technologies. Each new customer presented a design challenge, and each engineer would have an opinion on the best solution. As customers increased, additional engineers with diverse backgrounds would be needed, cutting into overall profitability.
The challenge to reduce customization also pertained to the EcoPrime’s information system. Bioprocess manufacturers collect reams of information created by valves, sensors, pumps, flowmeters and other components for precise fluid management. All that information needed to be collected in real time and be easily accessible.
“We’re seeing scalability and the ability to share data across the enterprise as an important trend,” said Gerard Gach, chief marketing officer at LEWA. “We needed information solutions that could simplify integration into our customers’ facilities and operations.”
The conclusion was to standardize on an integrated control and information system that could easily integrate and communicate with other equipment on the machine and in the facility.
In addition to standardizing the EcoPrime LPLC batch skids, LEWA also needed the platform to precisely control its innovative EcoPrime Twin, a new continuous process skid that uses twin-column technology and creates 10 to 100 times the amount of data as the batch skid. LEWA needed an information system with a robust historian and accessible reporting.