Increased Flexibility & Better Quality for a Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

E Tech Group’s control system engineers implemented a low-cost Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system to upgrade a single-product semi work facility.

The Project: Accomplish Two Automation Capabilities at Once

AMPAC Fine Chemicals (AFC)  A California pharmaceutical manufacturer hired E Tech Group to upgrade the process control system of a single-product semiwork facility. During the project, the client asked E Tech to also convert the equipment to a flexible midscale, multi-product production facility… with no increase in project budget.

This presented several obstacles for our automation engineers; we needed to implement a multi-purpose and comprehensive control system that would accomplish both goals for the client while staying within budget and deadline constraints.

The Solution: Kill Two Birds with… Rockwell’s PlantPAx?

The existing hard-coded control system was built in the 1990s, and was not capable of handling the flexible manufacturing desired. Our automation engineers designed and installed an updated process control system that met the strict FDA regulatory requirements and high level of security required for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). This approach to their integration upgrade was a cost-effective alternative to a traditional server-based batch solution.

E Tech’s engineers selected the PlantPAx process automation system from Rockwell Automation for the complete control system upgrade. PlantPAx provided a control solution that allowed the flexibility to easily change the manufacturing schedule and produce more than one product on the equipment. 

Rockwell’s PlantPAx software is industry-leading in terms of plant-wide controls integration, scalability, adaptability, and perhaps most important of all in pharmaceutical automation, consistency. With support from Allen Bradley automation products, we created an integrated control system that won’t require entire retrofits each time it needs an upgrade, saving the client money.

Additionally, the use of PlantPAx Logix Batch & Sequence Manager allowed a controller-based solution and saved money by removing the need for costly custom code or additional server infrastructure. FactoryTalk View Site Edition software was chosen so that personnel can configure recipes directly in the controller.

Technology We Used:

  • PlantPAx
  • PlantPAx Logix Batch & Sequence Manager
  • FactoryTalk View Site Edition
  • EtherNet/IP network
  • Allen-Bradley FLEX I/O modules
  • Allen-Bradley IntelliCENTER motor control center
  • Allen-Bradley PowerFlex VFDs

The Results: Efficient, Scalable, Versatile Pharmaceutical Automation

The new control system has improved the quality, consistency and speed of manufacturing the client’s APIs by automating processes that were once manual. The new system has reduced reliance on paper-based documentation, which offers additional cost savings. The success and quick ROI of this project has led to the client pursuing additional upgrade projects with E Tech Group and Rockwell Automation in other plants.

“With the automated batch solution from Rockwell Automation, we’re improving the quality and consistency of our APIs, and avoiding the delays that naturally occur during manual operations,” said Director of Automated Systems and Calibration, for our client.  “The Rockwell Automation solution allows us to meet customer needs more quickly than our competitors while still staying in full compliance with industry regulations.”

The director continued, “We need to align ourselves with leading partner companies in order to be competitive and each project we complete with [E Tech Group] and Rockwell Automation is a perfect example of that strategy.”

An industry leader in control systems integration and industrial automation, E Tech Group offers comprehensive controls system services for clients across a wide breadth of industries. With deep domain expertise in the life sciences industry, we provide pharmaceutical manufacturers with turnkey factory automation solutions that look toward the future of the company and the industry, so our clients can stay competitive, no matter how active the market.