ABB launch plug and produce solution for pharma plants at Achema

Collaboration between ABB and Werum IT Solutions launches shop floor integration to reduce engineering, validation and testing time associated with biotech production

Designed for established pharmaceutical manufacturing plants with existing machinery, the new software solution called Shop Floor Integration Version 2.0 allows for the creation of a digital twin of the existing system prior to installation.

The new version launching at Achema is one of the first to offer pharmaceutical companies digital twin modelling to install this interface onto existing machinery.

This reduces engineering, validation and testing time and minimises the plant’s downtime. Using this new solution, engineers save between 40% and 70% of the time spent on integrating systems when compared to existing solutions.

The shop floor integration interface connects Werum’s PAS-X manufacturing execution system (MES) to existing shop floor equipment. This digital solution prevents production bottlenecks and reduces cycle times so as to lower inventories, free up capacity and increase efficiency.

This gives engineers the opportunity to test the running of the line in the digital world before any connection is made in the real world. ABB together with Werum has developed a message-based communications system that sends and receives instruction between the MES and the production equipment.

This provides regular synchronisation between the systems and communicates data such as quality, setpoint and consumption.

Two pharmaceutical companies are early adopters of ABB’s Shop Floor Integration product. GE Healthcare runs it as a new manufacturing installation and another large company is implementing shop floor integration on an existing plant.

GE Healthcare’s site in Uppsala, Sweden, is the first in the world to use ABB’s message based communications system to connect the MES to its DCS (distributed control system).

Gero Lustig, Global Business Manager Life Sciences at ABB said: “This solution provides the answer to communication between the real-time world and the transactional world. Our Shop Floor Integration product with its digital twin capability, seamlessly saves pharmaceutical companies time and money. We have designed a completely integrated system that works for both existing and new pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, which saves effort, reduces downtime and improves communication.”

The historical route for integration between manufacturing systems was both labor-intensive and multi-staged. ABB has cut down the often lengthy process needed to define OPC tags, define interface handshakes, states and logic and replaced these with a simple, efficient and qualified interface needing just a few steps – defining the message, defining PAS-X and Master Batch Record interaction and steps, and finishing with defining DCS and Batch interactions and steps. This reduces the possibilities for malfunctioning and makes it simpler to programme, with less machine-operator interaction during the manufacturing process.

In contrast to today’s tag-based integration, the new concept is based on OPC UA (Unified Architecture) and the widely used standard for message-based communication MQTT (message queue telemetry transport). This ensures highest standards of cyber security, data integrity and ruggedness.

Traditionally process control and equipment in the pharmaceutical production are often isolated in the operational technology (OT) from the production control (MES), which is handled by the IT department. The digital factory of the future solution from ABB sees a convergence of the IT and OT systems and departments which will increase the efficiency and flexibility both in greenfield and brownfield sites.

The new solution will be demonstrated on the ABB stand A61 in hall 11.1 at Achema and a presentation on the early results is being given by Per Larsen, Technology and Digitalization Manager at ABB, on Monday, June 11 at 15:40 in room H1.1 at Achema Congress.

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