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Products4Automation (P4A) has announced that its systems partner Felten has designed and implemented a manufacturing facility for Lonza Biotec, a supplier of pharmaceutical and healthcare solutions.

The new multi-product manufacturing facility is claimed to increase the Czech Republic-based company’s fermentation capacities by 50 per cent.

The combined production management and weighing system for this facility is controlled by a web-based Pilot manufacturing execution system/weighing and dispensing system (MES/WDS) from Felten.

The German company designed and implemented the entire Lonza system in just six months, using cost-effective Pilot software modules that combine hardware from different suppliers into one homogeneous system.

The system’s numerous interfaces and modular structure mean that it is fully open for future expansion and has the potential for SAP connection in the near future.

Lonza’s investment in the new multi-product manufacturing facility was necessary to meet the increasing demands for microbiological products for pharmaceutical applications as well as for human nutrition supplements.

Key to the success of the overall project was Lonza’s requirement for a combined production management and weighing system.

The company wanted a platform that would provide efficiency, scalability and a wide range of system capabilities.

In addition, Lonza wanted a system that would provide transparent process workflows and optimised processes to deliver a quick return on investment.

Felten was able to satisfy all of Lonza’s requirements with its web-based Pilot MES weighing and dispensing system and was awarded the order for the combined system.

The web-based Felten system can be completely integrated into the existing automation and Felten structure.

In addition, it is claimed to offer quick, simple and safe operability.

The Pilot system delivers strict compliance with FDA and cGMP regulations and provides an integrated solution that connects business order processing from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with automation control systems.

It provides a cost-effective solution that meets all requirements and reveals weak points as well as bottlenecks in production processes.

As the software is implemented as a web portal, any business-relevant data and processes are made available company wide.

The operation is intuitively carried out using a standard web browser with mobile clients (personal digital assistants), which are connected to the Pilot system via a wireless local area network.

The integrated Pilot WDS installed at Lonza consists of three modules – Weighing, Discharging and Washing – and guarantees the production process in the area of recipes.

The WDS and the MES work independently from any special hardware but interface with all available scales and terminals (such as Bizerba, Sartorius or Mettler Toledo).

Weighing can be performed concurrently on as many weighing stations as required.

As all available scales are integrated into the supervisory production management system, the production orders are directly transformed into weighing orders, with simultaneous documentation of all process data.

The use of barcode scanners to identify equipment and products enables easy and quick input.

This consequently reduces input errors.

The weighing system makes decisions and performs them as far as possible.

Thanks to the basic Pilot structures, the weighing system operates with high system availability.

Process-relevant data is stored redundantly and has its own login security system that permits access only to authorised personnel.

To guarantee a smooth production flow, the Pilot MES/WDS performs comprehensive control and documentation tasks at Lonza.

During the emptying, weighing and cleaning process, a permanent control of the respective batch recipe takes place with regard to the raw material used and its correct weight.

Any interventions and alarms are recorded in an audit trail and documented in the weighing protocol.

In integrated mode, the Felten system is connected with the batch system, the distributed control system (DCS) for reports regarding raw-material usage and an Oracle database for central storage and documentation of the weighing process.

The required data and recipes, as well as the respective production steps, can also be handled in standalone mode.

The final batch report is then stored in a special directory serving the DCS.

At Lonza, the DCS, batch automation and weighing are combined in one fully automated system.

The weighing area receives its information via a direct interface from the DCS, which decides on the basis of the batch recipe; here, material has to be weighed, filled and transferred to the fermentation reactor.

Subsequently, the WDS reports the actual quantity of material used back to the DCS.

The weighing server is connected with the Oracle database, in which any data is finally stored and available for long-term archiving.

The user is guided through the production process by a series of dialogues via handheld PCs; these units also communicate with the server online.

Special dialogues ensure the safe combination of individual work steps, such as weighing, loading and cleaning.

To further simplify the operation, the product and equipment identification is supported by barcode readers.

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