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
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