There can be little question that Industry 4.0 technologies are reshaping the way life sciences companies operate. In the wake of the rapid development of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, more facilities than ever are being “born digital.” Some of these born-digital facilities are the result of new organizations with entirely digital strategies, and others are biopharmaceutical organizations that have been around for a long time and are exploring new opportunities as markets change.
One thing is for certain, though. The future of life sciences manufacturing is digital and flexible, and the technologies that enable those modular designs will dominate the industry. Emerson’s director of life sciences consulting, Michalle Adkins, recently shared her thoughts on the future of digital life sciences technologies by exploring a new technology built for modularity—the module type package (MTP) communication standard.
MTP was developed by the User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR) to create a framework for standardized connectivity between equipment. This new standard—the closest thing to plug-and-play connectivity in industry—helps users quickly integrate new equipment into processes, reduce risk, and improve time to production startup. MTP automates and simplifies the overall integration process.
Michalle elaborated on the applications of MTP in the life sciences to PharmTech magazine, saying,
“It can be used to enable much easier integration between a programmable logic controller used to control OEM equipment, such as a deionized water skid, and a distributed control system.”
This easier integration is what creates more flexible manufacturing. As Michalle explained,
“Operations teams can use MTP to unlock modularity, using different equipment on demand, with MTP automating and simplifying the integration process. And users of these OEM packages can tie multiple systems together without the need to re-engineer solutions, making new equipment less costly to install, validate, and maintain.”
Emerson has further enhanced MTP connectivity by eliminating the need for users or system integrators to expend extra engineering effort. Emerson’s DeltaV™ distributed control system (DCS) and PACSystems™ programmable logic controllers (PLC) are fully validated together to more quickly integrate using the MTP standard. The PACSystems PLC natively creates a configuration file that automatically integrates into the DeltaV DCS to get new systems up and running quickly.
You can read more of Michalle’s expert advice on MTP as well as information from her peers on other Industry 4.0 technologies in the complete article at PharmTech.