Networking of Pharma Skids with Decentralised I/O Solutions
Published by : Industrial Automation
Fast market launch IP67 I/O modules control skids in factory acceptance test (FAT).
The challenge in the production of pharmaceutical or biochemical agents is to produce the product on a large scale as quickly as possible after market release. Modular production reactors for agents are the solution from plant manufacturers. The individual modules, also known as skids, are usually only assembled into a production plant at the premises of the manufacturer of the agent. The advantage: The skids can be manufactured and tested in parallel before being put into operation as a finished unit at the manufacturer's premises. The bottom line is that the modular plants can be activated more quickly than monolithic plants.
1- Reduced time to market with factory acceptance test (FAT) without a central control system
2- Easily scalable solution
3- Seamless integration into different control systems thanks to multiprotocol Ethernet, and
4- Minimised control cabinet design for shorter production times.
Short time to market with pharmaceutical skids
In order to achieve a short time to market, the skids must be connected quickly and securely, both in terms of process technology and voltage and communication connections. Ethernet is the communication standard in this area due to its high data density and flexibility. Thanks to the Turck multiprotocol, the modules can be operated on any control system with PROFINET, Ethernet/IP or Modbus TCP – without user intervention. The entire sensor system and actuator system is already pre-wired on the module and is directly routed to IP67 I/O modules without a control cabinet. The pre-fabricated standard connectors are much faster to wire than single cables in control cabinets.
Another challenge for skid manufacturers is to test the modules before they are connected to the central control system. Subsequent commissioning at the manufacturer of the agents can then be completed within a very short space of time. The solution uses Ethernet-based I/O technology with IP67 degree of protection and decentralized intelligence. IO-Link masters take the signals from sensors and actuators to the controller.
Faster commissioning with external FAT
Before the actual commissioning, the function of each individual skid is tested in production. In this process, the Turck I/O modules control the components on the skid itself without being connected to a controller. The interaction between valves and sensors therefore can even be reliably tested and preconfigured offline. The entire factory acceptance test can therefore be carried out at the plant manufacturer's premises. At the end customer, the pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical manufacturer, the entire plant is then only tested in the site acceptance test.
Sensor to data lake
The system is open for central data storage in data lakes. Without necessarily having to go through a control system, the data can be transferred directly from the I/O modules to IT systems in the network via a parallel data channel via the Ethernet cable. The Turck multiprotocol standard of the I/O modules makes this possible. It allows read access via Modbus TCP while time-critical communication via Ethernet/IP or PROFINET remains untouched.