Flexible facilities are a growing trend in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Manufacturers increasingly look to produce multiple products and maximize production time. To meet these requirements, an automation strategy must maximize the flexibility of the process equipment.
The preparation, storage, and distribution of media often requires real-time flowpath selection and bumpless transfer between multiple sending tanks to supply a downstream user with a lengthy production cycle. To accommodate this flexibility, the transfer lines can be defined as unique DeltaV batch control units that manage the sending tank selection based on product expiry, sending tank availability, and operator input.
Using this automation strategy, the transfer line unit runs its own phase to achieve a steady supply of product to the downstream unit. This transfer phase selects the supply tank from available upstream units and monitors tank level to switch to a new supply tank while maintaining flow to the downstream unit. An emptied supply tank may then be cleaned and refilled while the transfer line continues to send product downstream.
Managing the upstream unit selection in the transfer line will allow for long-duration supply of product to a downstream user. Configuring the lines as separate units allows flow flexibility in cleaning to avoid unnecessary delays in supplying the downstream user. Ultimately, this approach will maximize up time of the process and will minimize buffer lost due to expiration.
As the biopharmaceutical industry continues to move towards increased flexibility and modularity, automation strategies are evolving to manage the flow of product. Transfer lines are no longer an extension of a larger process unit. Utilizing transfer lines as unique units allows for optimized placement of flowpath selection and increased segmentation of equipment for cleaning.
From Jim: You can connect and interact with other DeltaV Batch and pharmaceutical & biotech industry experts in the DeltaV and Life Sciences groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community. Also, consider joining our experts in person at the Oct 1-5, 2018 Emerson Exchange conference in San Antonio, Texas. Register by August 15 to receive the Early Bird rate.