Optimal Automation has upgraded a legacy control system to a PLC and networked SCADA system on a large fluidised bed dryer (FBD) at a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. By working with the client to optimise the efficiency of plant operation, Optimal have been able to deliver a 50% increase in productivity for the FBD.

“We automate and improve the performance and productivity of all types of FBD: large and small, fully automatic and semi automatic, new build and refurbished, solvent and non solvent based,” said Martin Gadsby, a director of Optimal. This recent FBD project involved a control strategy that encompassed not only tower automation, but also all the batching of raw materials, including dispensary control, together with tracking of raw materials and finished product in IBCs. The system supplied by Optimal has a Siemens PCS7 at its heart, in a server arrangement with four clients and an engineering station. The PCS7 has an integrated recipe system, and produces batch reports that are used as part of the total batch release documentation set. The 50% increase in productivity has meant a rapid return on investment for the pharmaceutical company.

In another recent pharmaceutical project, Optimal’s synTQ PAT (Process Analytical Technology) Data Management system has been installed on a fluidised bed drier, with the objective of determining if gains could be made in the consistency of quality and a reduction in processing time. In this project, synTQ was used in combination with a 3rd party multivariate analysis (MVA) product and a NIR instrument.

The project was not however just simple end point determination – by building Orchestrations (PAT Methods), Process Models, and gaining process understanding, the client was able to determine – in real time – the drying phases that were occurring in the drier. He was then able, by means of the Orchestrations within synTQ, together with a 3rd party control system and the OPC connection from synTQ, to design an application that controlled the drying temperature in line with the stage of the process, as determined by synTQ, and introduce real time dryer end point control. The system has proved successful and delivered a short payback time.

Optimal Industrial Automation         

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