Redefining Process Automation

IT and Digital Networks Are Reinventing the Manufacturing Control Systems

 

 

Not so long ago, the typical pharmaceutical facility might have employed a distributed control system (DCS) for batch process control tasks as well as a variety of stand-alone programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for controlling individual machines. They didn't much talk with each other, and successive manufacturing and fill/finish steps required significant human intervention and clipboard juggling in between.

Okay, a lot of plants still work like that, but that doesn't mean they have to. Today, the twin enablers of commercial information technologies and plant-floor digital networks are reinventing the manufacturing control system. Its tasks are no longer just control of physical variables, and its architecture is now spread across intelligent instruments, servers and other devices throughout the manufacturing environment.

"Competition is increasing, operational costs are rising and workforce expertise is hard to come by," notes Jack Bolick, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (Phoenix). "Today's systems help reduce costs, protect facilities and employees while minimizing risks and maximizing uptime."

"Abnormal situations like plant upsets and environmental incidents can cost millions of dollars and put the health and safety of plant personnel at risk," adds Terry Krouth, vice president of PlantWeb technology for Emerson Process Management (Austin, Texas). "Fortunately, new predictive technology coupled with targeted and guided "help" enables movement beyond simple management of these situations to preventing them."

Controls suppliers also are working more closely with original equipment manufacturers to ensure that traditionally stand-alone machines are equipped to be more readily validated and managed in a regulated manufacturing environment.

"Pharmaceutical companies are turning to automation providers to help them coordinate the efforts of their process equipment makers," says Mark Liston, global accounts director for Schneider Electric's pharmaceutical segment (Knightdale, N.C.) "Their objective is to create universal, vendor-neutral automation and documentation standards that support local flexibility yet put the company back in control of its production systems."

Here, then, some of the latest process automation offerings designed to help put you back in the driver's seat.

Change Management for Automation Systems

Change Management Solution is intended to help life sciences companies track changes and control versions of automation software, devices and equipment used on the factory floor, providing a framework to achieve 21 CFR Part 11 and GMP compliance. Based on GE Fanuc's Cimplicity Manager software, the new Change Management Solution provides electronic record keeping, electronic signature, complete audit trails, and record security. The solution is designed for 21 CFR Part 11 and cGMP regulations and, with an open architecture, can connect to an installed base of disparate plant floor systems.

GE Fanuc

800-GE-FANUC http://www.gefanuc.com

Automation Platform Extends Functionality

Industrial IT System 800xA is designed to extend the scope of traditional control systems to include all automation functions in a single operations and engineering environment, so that plants can run smarter and better at substantial cost savings. This reach extends well beyond the realm of essential process control to production management, safety systems, smart instrumentation, smart drives and motor control, robotics, information management, asset optimization and documentation. Its unique engineering environment manages one set of consistent data, for single-point entry, single-point change, and re-use across the plant, according to the supplier.

ABB

440 585 8500 http://www.abb.com/us

Service Eases Validation of Updated Controls

New service is intended to allow customers in the pharmaceutical industry to easily update their legacy control systems without expensive and time-consuming re-validation. The Validatable PLC service enables input/output cards installed as long as 30 years ago to be connected with the company's newest automation technologies. It is designed to preserve customer investments in system validation while facilitating the upgrade of processors, I/O and other components of process automation systems.

Schneider Electric

919-855-1100 http://www.us.squared.com/iat

EBR for OEMs Streamlines Integration

Rockwell Automation has expanded its electronic batch records (EBR) capabilities with the release of an EBR-enabled scalable solution designed to allow OEM equipment to directly connect to the manufacturer's information and automation infrastructure. This helps life sciences companies reduce validation costs, improve information flow and gain faster access to plant floor data. Designed to achieve full paperless documentation of batch records, these powerful control platforms and software products help simplify the exchange of real-time data between OEM-supplied skid-mounted systems and the EBR application residing within the company's manufacturing execution system (MES).

Rockwell Automation

800-223-5354 http://www.rockwellautomation.com

Compact DCS in a Box Is Big on Features

Simatic PCS 7 Box combines many of the features of a conventional process control system in the compact design of a single PC. Its integrated functionality and capability allow PCS 7 Box to be used in new applications where a DCS was typically too expensive or too large. It has been specifically designed with a small footprint to provide DCS functionality to new industry segments and applications, such as skid vendors and secondary processing, as well as pilot plant applications. Packaged in a compact industrial PC system, PCS 7 Box is a modular and flexible system, which can be used in either stand-alone or networked environments.

Siemens Energy & Automation

215-646-7400 http://www.sea.siemens.com

Data Collection Software Facilitates Audit Trail

Ethernet-based data collection and storage software package works with the company's full line of programmable controllers and is suitable for pharmaceutical applications. DataWorx PLC connects Ethernet-enabled DirectLogic PLCs or WinPLCs to stand-alone PCs or network servers for paperless recording and audit trailing, and secures data from the process to where it is being archived, via Ethernet. With DataWorx, users can log unlimited PLC data to networked PCs or file servers as delimited text files.

AutomationDirect.com

770-889-2858 http://www.automationdirect.com

DCS Capabilities at PLC Prices

ArchestrA architecture-based control system is designed to be economical, easy-to-use and expandable. Dubbed the Foxboro A2, the system integrates technology, expertise and services from across Invensys to provide end users in general process plants with an automation solution that fits their applications better than programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and costs less than traditional distributed control systems (DCSs). System input/output modules combine flexibility, high capability and ruggedness at a low price point.

Invensys Foxboro

866-747-6477 http://www.foxboro.com

Process Controller Is Compact Yet Expandable

Yokogawa FFCS is suitable for small to medium size control systems. Its height has been reduced by 60% from the company's earlier models. Also, up to three input/output nodes can be added to one FFCS. Therefore, the control capability of a system can be enhanced without adding additional controllers. Even though the FFCS controller is compact, it has all the sophisticated control functions of a larger size controller. The application capacity has been greatly expanded--compared to earlier compact models-delivering more application expansion capacity and asset productivity.

Yokogawa

770-253-7000 http://www.yokogawa.com

New Capabilities Added to Process Knowledge System

Release 200 of Honeywell Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) uses open technologies to gather, view, analyze and act on information. To help customers elevate performance results, Experion R200 adds significant new features, including: seamless integration with Honeywell TDC and TPS; full access to HART device digital data; a faster, more secure network solution; and an innovative model-based control technology that increases process stability and reduces valve maintenance.

Honeywell Process Solutions

602-313-4054 http://www.honeywell.com

Low-end Controller Extends System Architecture

Latest extension of the hybrid ControlWave architecture, the Micro extends the system's range into a lower priced, space efficient package required by small to mid- sized applications. ControlWave Micro offers rugged, long-term reliability, wide temperature operation from "40 to +70 degrees C for remote sites and very low power consumption for solar applications. Additionally, ControlWave has been designed to meet CE and U.L. Class I, Div. 2 hazardous location requirements.

Communications functionality includes three serial communication ports and one optional 10/100 Mb Ethernet I/P port. Optional built-in spread spectrum radios and worldwide dial-line modems offer convenient integration and communication flexibility.

Bristol Babcock

860-945-2200 http://www.controlwave.com

Process Automation System Capabilities Enhanced

Version 7.2 release of the DeltaV process automation system includes upgrades to advanced controls, migration products for existing PROVOX and RS3 users, and simulation software enhancements. Also included in release 7.2 are new fault-tolerant application station hardware, engineering tools that speed project execution, plant-wide event historian, remote terminal server and migration to Microsoft's Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, and system hardware upgrades.

Emerson Process Management

http://www.EasyDeltaV.com/Version7

Industrial Controller Features Ethernet Connection

SNAP-LCE is a stand-alone, small-footprint, industrial controller designed for use with Opto 22's SNAP Ethernet-based input/output units. The Ethernet controller provides real-time control and is programmed with the included ioControl, Opto 22's popular flowchart-based control programming software and part of the company's recently announced ioProject software suite. In a rugged, compact design, the SNAP-LCE includes a built-in 10/100-Mbps Fast Ethernet port for attaching the controller to Ethernet networks, to computers on the network running industrial automation software, and to Ethernet-based input/output systems.

Opto 22

800-321-6786 http://www.opto22.com

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