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Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is enabling Glaxosmithkline to monitor water usage at its drug manufacturing plant in Cork, Ireland.

The installation of Rosemount wireless flow and pressure transmitters on two new storage tanks has helped the company to better understand water usage throughout the plant, to trial the wireless technology and to create a network for cost-effectively adding new process instrumentation in the future.

‘Water is a considerable overhead to the plant, so it is important that we monitor flow rates to manage consumption and to help identify any usage trends,’ said Emmett Martin, site services and automation manager at Glaxosmithkline.

The Cork site produces a range of bulk active ingredients for use in the formulation of prescription drugs.

The existing water storage facility was too small and had no measurement instrumentation in place.

Two new storage tanks were installed along with a new pipework infrastructure.

The tanks are located around 300m from the main control room and there was no existing cabling in place.

A wired installation would have required new power and data cables to be buried in trenches.

By adopting a wireless solution, these costs were avoided.

Ten Smart Wireless devices were installed, including six Rosemount pressure transmitters, two Rosemount flow transmitters and two Rosemount level transmitters.

The Smart Wireless technology is said to integrate seamlessly with the existing automation equipment.

Flow data is transmitted every 30 seconds and pressure and level data every 300 seconds to a Smart Wireless Gateway positioned on the control room roof.

This is connected using a serial connection to the existing DeltaV digital automation system that controls the plant utilities.

From here, the flow and pressure measurements are sent to a data historian and are available to plant operators for regular monitoring and reporting.

The new data obtained has enabled Glaxosmithkline to clearly identify water usage for different areas of the plant, providing a better understanding of the costs.

The new wireless infrastructure makes it easy and cost effective to add extra measurement devices without the need for new cabling.

Glaxosmithkline is already looking to install a wireless level device that will be added to the existing network.

Martin continued: ‘We regard the installation of wireless very much as a two-stage process.

‘The first step is to establish a wireless network and let it prove itself over a period of time.

‘The next step is to expand the network and use wireless whenever it is more cost effective than a wired alternative,’ he said.

Smart Wireless is an extension of the Plantweb digital architecture that offers solutions for field instrumentation and plant operations.

In addition to the products installed at Glaxosmithkline, other wireless products include Fisher position monitors, Rosemount Analytical devices and machinery health management transmitters and native wireless interfaces to AMS Suite predictive maintenance software and Ovation digital automation systems, as well as Smartstart services.

Emerson Process Management

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