Advancing Innovation in Pharmaceutical and Biologics Manufacturing

FDA Voice: FDA Budget Matters: Investing in Advanced Domestic ManufacturingIn a U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s FDA Voice blog post, FDA Budget Matters: Investing in Advanced Domestic Manufacturing, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb opened noting:

Advanced manufacturing, which includes various technologies, such as continuous manufacturing and 3D printing, holds great promise for improving the American market for drugs and biologicals.

Emerson's Ron Rossbach


Emerson’s Ron Rossbach shared his thoughts with me on this post. He noted that both pharmaceutical & biologic manufacturers and the FDA share a common goal of having a greater patient-centric focus with great accessibility to medicines and therapies.

What has held back some of the innovations needed to achieve this goal is the inability to engage in early discussions of novel technologies with regulatory agencies like FDA, absent formal submissions.

Dr. Gottlieb signals the willingness of regulators to take a much more collaborative approach between manufacturers and regulators: Continue Reading

A Novel Thermodynamic-Based Metric: The Magic Bullet for Resource-Efficiency?

Emerson's Ana Gonzalez Hernandez


Author: Ana Gonzalez Hernandez

In my previous post, I introduced the concept of resource efficiency: the integrated efficiency with which energy and materials are transformed in industrial processes. I mentioned that improvements in resource efficiency are considered indispensable to achieving globally agreed CO2 emission and energy reduction targets. This is because trends in production volumes are predicted to keep rising to meet growing population demands, and opportunities for improving energy efficiency are beginning to reach technical limits.

Energy-intensive material producers have compelling reasons to take resource efficiency seriously. Altogether, the production of metals, chemicals, plastics, paper and cement generate over 60% of total industrial CO2 emissions. Improving resource efficiency promises to be the most cost-effective option to simultaneously avoid wasting scarce and toxic resources, reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions, and improve responsiveness to future climate and environmental regulations. In fact, understanding the current state of a facility’s resource use, the factors driving it and the opportunities available to minimise it, will be a prerequisite to staying competitive in the future. Continue Reading

Handling Processes with Long Lag Times

Emerson's Mircea LupuEmerson’s Mircea Lupu shared his thoughts on Ovation system algorithms for handling processes with long lag times—a control challenge that vexes many.

Mircea opened noting that control algorithms are at the heart of any control system to provide stable and accurate response and robustness against disturbances and process changes. Tuning these algorithms to achieve the desired performance can be laborious.

Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control is the workhorse algorithm but has difficulty with processes with time lags. There are solutions to address these lags but setting and maintaining tuning can be tedious. From a loop stability standpoint, the integral gain in a PID loop works against the time delay.

The derivative gain in a PID helps if tuned in a proper range. Too little or too much causes oscillation in the loop. In summary, proportional gain should be decreased, integral reset time should be increased with time delay and derivative gain may increase with time delay, but too much may destabilize the loop. Continue Reading

Trends toward Remote Turbine Operations

Emerson's Brett BensonAt the 2018 Ovation Users’ Group Conference, Emerson’ Brett Benson discussed the challenge of operating multiple plants with reduced staff levels and how centralized control for single or multiple plant sites is a viable solution.

The latest developments in communication technology coupled with modern control hardware provides utilities the ability to monitor, analyze alarms and control their plants, remotely, from a centralized location.

In the presentation Brett highlighted a recent project using a centralized control architecture that provided the plant with the ability to remotely operate and monitor four combustion turbines. He shared an overview of the hardware and software required to perform these tasks and described a future expansion of this remote operation capabilities. Continue Reading

Optimizing Power Generation Maintenance Strategies

Emerson's Alex FlickEmerson’s Alex Flick presented Optimizing Power Generation Maintenance Strategies Using Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) Analysis at the 2018 Ovation Users’ Group Conference.

Alex opened by sharing a story of a North American generating station. The plant was commissioned in 2002 and producers over 500MW of power. The plant has a couple of gas turbines, a steam turbine and heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs).

The plant reliability work practice was time-based, non-quantifiable preventive maintenance that was highly reactive. The maintenance process was loosely defined and had no failure history for root cause analysis.

The capacity factor continued to grow over time and the staff was quite lean. They needed a way to have a supportable and defensible maintenance strategy and improve their equivalent forced outage rate (EFOR).

The approach they took was to look outside for help. Alex explained that this was the point the he and the Operational Certainty consulting team at Emerson got involved. The principals for this project was to use existing knowledge in the combined cycle balance of plant (BOP), get the employees across the plant involved in the project and ongoing program, and validate & expand the analysis and identify the controls.

The commitment to the strategy was led from the top by the plant manager and senior staff. The project team followed this approach: Continue Reading