Automation key to process optimisation

Paul Boughton

Whether the drivers are efficiency, safety, or hygiene, automation is at the heart of efforts by companies optimise their processes. Sean Ottewell reports.
Belgium-based UCB has awarded Emerson Process Management a US$6.1 million (€4.7 million) contract to provide integrated process automation and operations management systems for a new biopharmaceutical production centre in Bulle, Switzerland.
UCB is investing US$228 million (€174 million) to construct the first phase of a new plant, its first biopharmaceutical project in Switzerland. The 20,000m2 facility, which will be one of the largest in Europe, will be the main production centre for Cimzia, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Emerson’s integrated solution includes its Syncade Smart Operations Management Suite, DeltaV digital automation system, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. Emerson will also provide related engineering services, including design, installation, testing, and commissioning.
The Syncade Suite software integrates real-time plant floor data with business processes, decisions, and asset management – a key advantage in managing complex operations and extensive documentation required in pharmaceutical production. Syncade Suite manages workflow processes, including electronic work instructions, equipment status and material tracking, recipe-driven operations, automated weigh and dispense operations, and exception reporting.
“Typical biotech manufacturing can involve thousands of pieces of paper that can affect the ability to produce ‘right-first-time’ batches,” said Lorenzo Zampini, automation project manager.  “With Emerson’s integrated operations management and control systems, we can automate the reporting process as well as gain tighter process control for increased productivity and smoother regulatory compliance.”
The Syncade software integrates with Emerson’s DeltaV automation system to facilitate operational activities and information flow from the plant floor up to UCB’s SAP system.  In the UCB plant, the DeltaV system will control 163 process units including fermentation, purification, filtration, and bottling. Emerson’s new electronic marshalling technology with CHARMs (characterisation modules) will help minimise installation time by eliminating up to two-thirds of the wiring and connections needed with traditional control systems.
Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software that will be supporting HART instrumentation will make it easy for technicians to calibrate critical instruments, check their status, and even detects potential problems before they affect operations.
“Emerson is delighted that UCB has chosen us to automate this ground-breaking facility,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management.  “Our proven ability to provide a single source for both plant automation and operations management systems will help UCB seamlessly manage operations from the plant floor to the head office.  We look forward to working with them as they bring the Bulle facility to life.”
In a separate development, MORE has reduced energy consumption and optimised the quality of steel produced from its electric arc furnaces by using Rosemount 8800 Vortex flowmeters from Emerson Process Management.
The flowmeters are being used to more accurately measure and optimise oxygen used in the steel making processes (Fig. 1). Optimisation of the oxygen-fuel ratio is critical to minimising conversion costs, reducing oxygen and fuel consumption, and avoiding rework. In addition, accurate control of oxygen improves furnace safety and reduces environmental impact.
Based in Gemona del Friuli, Italy, MORE supplies a wide range of technologies and auxiliary equipment for electric arc furnaces used in the steel-making industry. These include sidewall injector systems used with chemical energy packages such as oxygen, carbonaceous fuels, lime and other fines. These chemicals are injected into the furnace during the manufacturing process to improve steel quality and provide additional energy from exothermic reactions, helping to reduce overall energy consumption. [Page Break]

Optimising energy use

Yokogawa has announced the addition of Soteica Visual MESA's best-in-class energy management and optimisation solution services to its portfolio of plantwide energy management solutions (EMS). Yokogawa has also acquired 44.3% ownership of Soteica Visual MESA to accelerate the joint development of EMS.
Manufacturers around the world are highly interested in, and have a strong need for, EMS that will help them consume less energy and reduce their manufacturing costs. In addition, there is an increasing trend to optimise the mix of conventional and alternative energy sources used by plants, which can help to protect the environment by reducing the emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and NOx.
There are two components to energy management in plants. One is to make more efficient the supply and distribution of utilities, such as steam, electricity and fuel that are used by equipment in the main process, and the other is to optimise the energy consumed by the main process itself.     
Yokogawa says it has a competitive edge in control systems and advanced control solution packages for main processes, and helps its customers save energy by optimising operations at their plants. At the same time, the company has lacked EMS for utilities that can be used to achieve the optimum mix of conventional and renewable energy sources, based on factors such as process operating conditions and energy prices. Until now, the company has had to devise solutions for such requirements on an ad hoc basis.
For this reason, Yokogawa has decided to partner with Soteica Visual MESA, a global technology leader in the EMS field that has worked closely with major oil companies and has a strong track record in the oil industry. The partnership will allow Yokogawa to sell Soteica Visual MESA's well-proven Visual MESA energy management and optimisation solution package, extending the range of solution services that it is able to offer to its customers. The partnership will also allow Soteica Visual MESA to expand its sales of Visual MESA through Yokogawa's global sales network, with a particular focus on Asia.
Visual MESA is capable of reducing annual energy costs by approximately 2-5 per cent. There are approximately 3400 plants worldwide with US$40 million (€31 million) or more in utility costs each year that could benefit from Visual MESA and obtain a return on their investment in one year or less, and Yokogawa will initially be targeting these facilities.
Yokogawa will provide high value added EMS services, including maintenance and site wide energy management and optimisation services. Yokogawa and Soteica Visual MESA will also cooperate in engineering with the aim of acquiring the knowledge needed to create a new business model for an EMS service that can help to optimise energy efficiency throughout a plant, including the main process and utilities.[Page Break]
Embedded unified architecture

The latest release from Invensys is its Triconex Trident safety instrumented system (SIS), now with OPC unified architecture (UA) communications.
Triconex safety systems help customers comply with rigorous safety standards, as well as help meet or exceed production targets, all while protecting their most valuable assets – their equipment, people and environment. The Triconex Trident SIS package is a SIL3-certified fail-safe, fault-tolerant controller, delivering superior reliability and availability for distributed use in refineries, petrochemical, oil and gas plants and other highly hazardous facilities.
With embedded OPC UA communication integration, the Trident Safety System offers greater connectivity with third-party systems (Fig. 2). It complies with IEC 61508:2010 international standards and fulfils the requirements for emergency shutdown, fire and gas, burner management, turbomachinery control, high integrity pressure protection systems (HIPPS) and oil well RTU system applications that need to be distributed in remote instrumented buildings or located remotely in the production fields.
Implementing OPC UA maximises interoperability between systems and streamlines connectivity through open-platform architecture and future-proof design. The new communications interface module also contains an embedded OPC UA server to provide a cohesive, secure and reliable cross-platform framework for real-time data, alarms and events. The new communications interface module also provides enhanced security features by implementing X.509 certificates for additional security protection.[Page Break]

Compliance with quality and hygiene regulations
Siemens provides a number of products aimed specifically at the food/beverage, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. The three are similar because compliance with quality and hygiene requirements is a key competitive factor. Likewise, automation components in production have to conform to the high safety standards and ensure high levels of productivity through reliable continuous operation.
Hygiene areas in these areas all share common requirements. For example,  items and equipment which come into contact with food must be such that they can be kept clean, and can be disinfected and maintained, and have no adverse effect on the food and beverages. They must be installed in such a way that the immediate environment can be cleaned appropriately. The relevant directives, standards and legislative requirements,  such as EHEDG, FDA, DIN EN 1672-2 (Hygienic Design), GMP, LMHV and LMBG must be observed.
Similarly, Siemens panels and HMI IPCs with touch screens and stainless steel fronts have been designed for use in the food, beverages and tobacco industry and for operator control and monitoring close to food processing machines. For this reason, the devices with stainless steel front have been developed in compliance with DIN EN 1672-2 (food processing machinery – safety and hygiene requirements).
Siemens points out that such design has a number of benefits such as:  simpler cleaning thanks to resistant and rugged stainless steel front with smooth surface, and minimal grooves and gaps; a high degree of protection (IP66K) on the front for increased seal and ruggedness; and food-standard sealing material and shatter protection for the display to prevent contamination of the foodstuffs.