Case Study: Integrating PlantPAx into an Existing Process Cell for a Pharmaceutical Company
A major pharmaceutical company was in the process of commissioning a control system for a new process cell and asked ECS to provide site support to complete the commissioning and qualification.
The control system supplier had taken a simplistic approach to keep costs down. A single controller with multiple Panelviews provided the heart of the control system that also interfaced with some OEM skids. The control hardware consisted of a quality Rockwell ControlLogix controller with multiple Panelviews. The controller code was all custom with little use of off-the-shelf products and was an assortment of custom blocks of code tied together, providing minimal functionality.
Little to no thought had been put into the operator and how they would run the system to create quality product. Standard operating procedures had not yet been developed. Producing a quality product was dependent upon the operator selecting the correct sequence of functions from operator stations at multiple vessels. This approach exposed the company to a great deal of risk in producing a quality product and controlling the rate of production.
Case Study: FactoryTalk Batch Integration into a Control System for a Pharmaceutical Company
A large pharmaceutical company was commissioning and testing a new control system that was limited to providing only manual control of Equipment Modules. In some cases, manual control of Phases was available, with these Phases operating as coordination Equipment Modules but not having the infrastructure capable of interacting with a standard sequencing engine. To run a Batch Process the operators were required to manually enter recipe values and capture report information via an HMI, while tracking all activities in the various units. This allowed significant opportunities for operator errors (errors in setting parameters, errors in running the Equipment Modules in the correct sequence, or, in some cases, the physical inability to run multiple Equipment Modules at the same time).
ECS Solutions recommended and subsequently undertook the addition of a sequencing engine that not only stores the recipes (which contained the order in which the phases should be executed) but also stores all pertinent Parameter Values. With this modification, the operator is required simply to select a recipe together with all the equipment needed to run the batch. The batch engine is responsible for coordinating all the activities, including the parameter value transfer and Report information capture. The system also has the capability to prompt the operator regarding those tasks that require operator interaction. The installation of the addition did not interfere with any existing activities and all the existent code and functionality was preserved, with no changes being required.
Case Study: Proprietary Replacement
For many years, a large nutrition company used a Proprietary program that was developed in-house, to manage the recipe database and to calculate the mass balances of the ingredients to meet the nutritional profile of each product. The application/program has become difficult to support and maintain. The customer approached ECS Solutions to undertake a review of the Proprietary application and recommend how it may be replaced or rewritten.
ECS engineers quickly recognized that Proprietary was a custom application, written in Microsoft access with a significant amount of custom VBA code incorporated into FactoryTalkView. The problem became how to obtain the functionality of the Proprietary application in something that was more manageable, accessible for troubleshooting, and ideally “off-the-shelf”. ECS engineers recommended that since the client was running FactoryTalkBatch in their operations, simply adding the Material Manager feature, which is a free add-on with FactoryTalkBatch, the required functions would be obtained. The customer’s management felt that ECS had to dig in and truly understand the very complicated Proprietary application and how critical it was to their operations.
Batch Forensics: The Case for Link Groups – Class based Unit Synchronization
To coordinate activities between units, take advantage of product functionality to greatly reduce controller code. Programing and unit coordination are used during activities such as material transfer from one unit to another and may be used to coordinate recipe pause points in a unit while the recipe of another unit reaches the desired step, or may be used to transfer process data from one unit to another for further evaluation, etc.
Using product functionality to create a class-based solution while minimizing programming greatly simplifies the complexity of the code. The product functionality consists of link groups and Phase logic phase requests (PXRQ for phase manager phases and RQ for classic OPC phases).
To better understand its usability, we will use a sample process consisting of units capable of transfer material with each other, One to Many, Many to One, Many to Many. In any of these examples, keeping track of who the groups involved in a synchronization can be as simple as specifying the required pairs (more than two concurrent can be done as well) in the procedural (recipe) model.
Let’s look at several scenarios:
Batch Forensics: The Case of the FactoryTalk Batch Timers
Frequently, we hear new and seasoned engineers say they do not use the Rockwell FactoryTalk Batch (FTBatch) Standard timers ($timer) because they cannot interact with them or can’t tell what the timer’s status is, as they do with controller-based timers. However, our Batch Forensic experts explain that this is not the case.
Standard Recipe timers require no design, implementation, testing, commissioning nor validation as required by timer Phases implemented in the controllers. Standard recipe $timers can be applied at all levels of the procedural model (Procedures, Unit Procedures, and Operations) Standard $timers can be used in as many placed as required, each instance of the timer is given a name defined by the recipe author that can be associated with the activity at hand. Timers are automatically added to the units configured on the area model just like the $Null Phase.
Boosting Batch Performance at a Salad Dressing Plant
A well-known line of salad dressings was recently acquired by a major food manufacturer with the plan to establish a fully automated, paperless manufacturing process for the production. To do this efficiently and cost-effectively
represented a significant challenge.
Material Storage Management
Managing the reception of materials and its distribution throughout all the storage locations can be a daunting task. Automating this with off-the-shelf products simplifies tremendously the implementation of such a solution. Factory Talk Batch has a component called Material Manager that enables such implementation.
This solution seamlessly integrates the reception of materials into the Plant with the production process. Setting up this solution consist of defining the materials capabilities in Factory Talk Batch. These capabilities are defined by containers, or locations where material can reside, possible materials that can exist in the plant and the possible means of moving material from a source to a destination called Phases.