Case History on Revamping: pharmaceutical sector
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
Robotics, Italy is growing
Italy and Europe are growing in terms of robotics.
Within the next three years, in Italy, 87% of production companies will use second-generation robots.
This is what emerges from the recent study of the BCG Advanced Robotics in the Factory of the Future, concerning the degree of diffusion of robotics in manufacturing companies.
Europe, and in particular Germany, France and Italy, have shown a greater propensity to integrate this technology than countries that are traditionally first movers in the process of diffusion of technological trajectories, such as the USA (80%) and Japan (72%).
The same study showed that most of the companies surveyed do not have an action plan in place to enable their integration in the short to medium term. In fact, only one company in five of the sample analyzed has established a strategy aimed at the digital reconfiguration of the production process.
According to BCG, a critical success factor is represented by the presence of high specialized skills, both in terms of the initial process of integration of the robotic units in the individual production context, and in terms of maintaining constant efficiency and use in the long term.
Automate's solutions and the way they are proposed are constantly innovated in order to offer the most technically efficient solution, without neglecting the passage of tacit knowledge that, once explicit, can increase the value of the workforce and consequently of our customers.