Experion LS Brings DCS to Smaller Pharma Sites

Feb. 17, 2009
Honeywell’s new control systems aims to provide reliability and agility, and reduced lifecycle costs, in a smaller system.

This month, Honeywell introduced the Experion LS control system, a new product within the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) line. The aim of the LS is to provide manufacturers the power and reliability of a distributed control system (DCS) in a small and flexible solution. Experion LS manages all continuous process control applications and optimizes batch and sequence-oriented applications typically found in the pharmaceutical industry. It is scalable from a single PC and controller to multiple stations.

Experion LS is geared for smaller plants in that it allows the manufacturer to better respond to market changes while offering robust process and batch control features. Because it requires little engineering effort to configure and is easier to maintain than a PLC or large DCS, Experion LS can help plants save on support costs. The easier configuration also enables faster and more-reliable changeovers, allowing operators to more easily modify batch recipes and increase production.

Many applications in pharma would benefit from the functionality of a DCS, “but the installed base has been limited due to the perceptions of lack of scalability, great complexity and high costs,” says ARC Advisory Group analyst Craig Resnick. “Experion LS appears to address these issues by being designed to be a DCS for the masses, one that can be specified, purchased, installed, and maintained in a scalable fashion by organizations that have not utilized DCS systems in the past. It is especially critical today that manufacturers, processors, and OEMs leverage these technologies in face of their unprecedented pressures to cut costs while simultaneously meeting increased regulations and sustainability objectives.”

“Smaller manufacturing operations tell us they need DCS functionality, such as system reliability and greater flexibility, that PLCs can’t offer, but many leading DCS systems are just too big for their operations,” says Norm Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. “Experion LS offers the best of both worlds. It provides agility to respond to product mix changes and offers advanced optimization and batch technology usually found in larger DCS systems.”

Experion LS features Honeywell’s S88 compliant and scalable solution for batch automation that can be fully redundant. The system has drag-and-drop configuration, pre-built algorithms, a global database, pre-configured displays and out-of-the-box batch functionality. Automation configuration changes can be made without stopping production, while operators can have a run-time view of control strategy and sequence status, redundant unit execution and integrated operator instructions.

“For many years, smaller manufacturers faced a dilemma: They needed to quickly adapt their processes to market changes, but doing so could reduces system reliability and increases lifecycle costs,” says Gilsdorf. “As the creator of the first DCS system, Honeywell has taken its extensive DCS knowledge and designed Experion LS to deliver the agility these manufacturers need to survive in today’s business environment without sacrificing system stability.”

Plants can work through local authorized Honeywell Experion Implementers to provide project implementation and ongoing application support. Honeywell provides training, support and ongoing technical assistance to system integrators to ensure the project lifecycle is a complete success.