UCB awards Emerson US$6.1m contract

To automate new biopharmaceutical plant being built in Switzerland

Belgian biotechnology firm UCB has awarded Emerson Process Management, a division of industrial engineering company Emerson, a US$6.1m contract to provide integrated process automation and operations management systems for its new biopharmaceutical production centre in Bulle, Switzerland.

UCB is investing $228m to construct the first phase of the 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 (certolizumab pegol), which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The drug was approved in Japan for the treatment of adults with rheumatoid arthritis at the end of last year.

‘The state-of-the-art and largely automated facility at Bulle will be a model for the industry when it opens in 2015,’ said Michele Antonelli, UCB executive vice president. ‘To ensure the project meets its tight build-out schedule, we selected Emerson Process Management for its demonstrated ability to engineer and coordinate fast-track automation projects of this type.’

This is UCB's first biopharmaceutical project in Switzerland

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. It manages workflow processes, including electronic work instructions, equipment status and material tracking, recipe-driven operations, automated weigh and dispense operations, and exception reporting.

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 detect 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.’

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