For an Italian production site of one of the most important pharmaceutical multinationals, we have dealt with the Revamping of a packaging line for product treatment (powders) in the pharmaceutical sector.
In this case we dealt with what can be defined as a Complex Revamping project due to the combination of factors ranging from the obsolescence of many field devices and the need to intervene not only on the technological update but also on the aspects of integration with MES and ERP systems.
In particular, the scenario presented the following characteristics :
- Old generation sensors and PLCs (S5 series 95U)
- Operator control panels (OP series)
- Synchronous motors managed by inverters
- Video control systems for scanning product identification labels.
The main objective was to provide line managers with more control information to ensure accurate measurement of the quantities of packaging elements discarded/not discarded during the process, the creation of automatisms including the recognition of material not in line with packaging specifications and the generation of specific performance indicators on the entire packaging process.
All this is achieved through the provision of
- Adequate supervision and control tools accessible to various organizational levels (from the line operator to the factory supervisor, to the production manager, and on some indicators also to some top roles of the company).
- Integration interfaces with MES and ERP systems able to allow the punctual and immediate alignment between the packaging line and the production needs.
What we have done
The issue was certainly not to rethink the entire line and totally replace the machines or technological equipment present, but to find the right balance that would allow in a short time to make the necessary improvements to allow a line, still able to serve the production, to operate with the performance and efficiency required by the market.
In details we have done the following :
- The redesign of the command and control panels of the entire line
- The adaptation of the PLC software and operator panels for the management of each plant of the line
- The design of the Supervision and Control platform
- The integration of the single machines in the whole line
- Software development and interfaces (HMI, SCADA-MES, PLC-SCADA)
Interventions in some cases even particularly invasive on the plants but that have allowed to enhance the best machines that still today and for a long time can guarantee performances in line with the production needs of the customer.
A particularly important aspect is the implementation phase in the field, since we had to intervene on machines and systems of production lines still in operation and therefore with very limited time windows to allow the intervention.
After the commissioning, we have dealt with the training of personnel and the preparation of the necessary documentation to ensure certifications and validations typical of the pharmaceutical sector.
The customer, thanks to this intervention, has been able to strengthen its processes thanks to a stronger integration of the entire line with the management and sales planning systems, allowing a greater control of the value chain downstream of production and especially the possibility to intervene well in advance in case of performance conditions below expectations.Read More
Technology refresh of machines and plants, better known as revampinghas always had as its main objective to save investments made in the past thanks to interventions to increase their resistance over time, lengthening their life cycle.
lengthening their life cycle. Without disrupting the entire production process, it is possible to transform the tools that companies already have in order to significantly increase their production capacity increasing revenues and margins.
It's definitely a cost-effective approach that can implement efficiencies, and it's also often a way to get important results quickly.
Retrofitting working equipment with the latest technology provides immediate savings in maintenance costs. With the introduction of sensors capable of collecting new data or simply increasing the amount and frequency of data collected, you gain a greater ability to analyze what happens during production cycles and/or material handling. All this offers the opportunity to act to improve performance, reduce machine downtime, make mechanical improvements that can limit the wear and tear of certain components and thus obtain additional economic benefits. act to improve performance
The technological refresh represented by revamping is not a simplereplacement of existing components, but it requires the adaptation and/or the development of software capable of obtaining the maximum in terms of performance as well as a high capacity of reverse engineering not only of the software and of the electrical/electronic architecture of the machine or of the plant, but also and above all of the processes linked to it.
Acting at software level is not only necessary but allows to bring further improvements able to increase the speed of execution of the algorithms and therefore the speed with which a machine, a plant, an entire line is able to work.
But is revamping always the right solution? What are the scenarios in which it is more convenient to implement new solutions?
Obviously the cost/benefit ratio is the first evaluation to make in the choice, provided that the numbers on which we base ourselves are real and verified. However, it is necessary to consider in this report not only the direct costs of the intervention activities, and therefore the benefits in terms of cost optimization and increased capacity, but also the indirect impact that the intervention for technological adaptation will have on all activities.
It is therefore important to analyze various aspects to best support the decision-making process, for example:
- How long can production be stopped to allow for interventions?
- By intervening on a plant to make it more efficient, will I obtain benefits on the whole line or will I have to intervene also on other plants of the same line?
- If the upgrading of a plant requires action to be taken on other machines as well, can I always adopt a revamping logic for each of the machines on which it is necessary to intervene?
- If I have to intervene on the entire line, is the cost/benefit ratio of a revamping solution always higher than that of building a new line?
In short, each situation is specific therefore is important that in each intervention you do not limit yourself to assessing the specific impact but analyze it in the broadest possible company context.
Choosing professionals capable of guiding you in the choice of solutions to address current needs but open to adjustments and evolutions for future needs.Read More
Automate, a leading Italian system integrator of solutions for industrial automation and Industry 4.0, is pleased to announce that it has achieved CSIA (Control System Integrator Association) Certification, an international certification specific to the quality of system integrator processes.
Automate is one of only 4 Italian companies to have achieved this result through an in-depth audit to ensure compliance with high quality standards defined in the best practices CSIA, the worldwide association of system integrators based in Chicago (Illinois, USA).
Offering Industry 4.0 solutions to its customers through operational models able to follow best practices for system integration activities covering all business processes, from human resources management to the approach of its project methodology, from lead management to the collection of customer satisfaction is a key aspect to ensure end-to-end solutions with high quality standards.
"We are proud of this important step in the growth of our company - says Eugenio D'Ursi, CEO of Automate srl - being able to serve our customers knowing we can do it through methodologies and best practices recognized internationally is essential for us. Quality is our biggest priority and we will never stop searching for it by improving our organization and solutions".
The Industrial Software Forum organized by Messe Frankfurt Italy and promoted by ANIE Automation has carried out an interesting study on the main software applications, enabling the evolution towards the Digital Transformation of the industry.
The event was held with the participation of many companies in the sector including ABB, Cisco, Rockwell Automation, Engineering, Miraitek, Oracle, Schneider Electric, Siemens and VarGroup.
The Smart Manufacturing through practical cases has focused on data management, use of intelligent sensors, storage in the cloud up and data Analytics. Finally, space was given to more transversal topics such as Servitization, the Agile approach in project management and Cyber Security considered as a critical factor of development
Automate meets partners
A System Integrator such as Automate could not miss such an opportunity to meet historical partners and get in touch with emerging realities and especially share with customers the potential offered by the Industry 4.0 paradigm and how Automate can offer integrated solutions to meet the most complex needs.
We are aware that we must give our contribution to the industry in a transitional moment like the one we are witnessing. In this sense, the certifications and related collaborations with the technological leaders of the sector and the high rate of Exploration that we daily invest around the new technological trajectories only testify to the quality of our current and upcoming solutions.
Italian Automation Fair: Automate this!
Also this year our company has participated in forces to SPS Italia, the Italian innovation fair, held in Parma.
The fair was a great opportunity to discuss and discuss issues related to Industry 4.0 and the digitalisation of companies with various stakeholders in the sector.
The increase in terms of exhibitors (+6%) and visitors (+18%) compared to the previous year testify to the strong growth that is characterizing the world of automation.
The potentialities of different technologies have been shown, the competences and skills needed by companies to implement the most innovative applications have been highlighted. In addition, we discussed the technical characteristics of the most experimental products. In this way, we analyzed the technological opportunities and, at the same time, we were able to identify false positives.
The Automate experience
Automate's solutions, and the approach with which they are customized around the needs of its customers, perfectly matches current and upcoming industry trends. Our value proposition is to offer services and products that can generate a clear competitive advantage in the short to medium term.
SPS Italy was an opportunity to consolidate our relationships with the largest providers and operators in the industry, partners and friends with whom we have been sharing experience and success for many years!
Road to SPS2020!Read More
The term Industry 4.0 indicates a trend in industrial automation that integrates some new production technologies to improve working conditions, create new business models and increase productivity and production quality of the plants.
An interesting investigation carried out by Shell Italia on a sample of 400 companies in the production sector, he highlighted how companies are increasingly acquiring digital awareness in an industry 4.0 perspective.
94% of the interviewed actors said they use at least one enabling technology of the new technological paradigm, against a European average of 86%.
Innovation yes or no?
There are still lags innovation process of many companies.
One of the greatest difficulties for the companies surveyed appears to be the training of staff in the use of new technologies, as well as the lack of trusted experts from whom to seek support.
In accordance with the literature in this sector, the study highlights how the determinants of technology purchases are changing, no longer concerning mere technological products, but rather projects and processes aimed at satisfying specific needs.
The role of Automate
Automate is aware of its role as an intermediary in technology transfer.
Our offer, as well as including a highly personalized service, includes a training activity calibrated on the needs of our customers, aimed at an ongoing collaboration through which to share knowledge and core competences. With a strong spirit of innovation we always adapt our proposals to the current and future needs of our customers with the aim of offering solutions that are constantly updated and in line with the evolution of the sector.
It is a challenge that we carry on with the awareness that industrial automation integrating new technologies is essential to make companies perform in any sector of activity.Read More