Setting Standards in Plant Automation Significant Amount of Cost Advantages Can Be Derived From Standardisation

Author / Editor: Parulekar Pramod, Marcus Mettmann / Marion Henig

The new facility Pfieffewiesen of B. Braun Melsungen AG in Germany is a masterpiece of engineering – from architecture to logistics to the office organisation. The core is the ‘Leading Infusion Factory Europe (LIFE),’ the most modern manufacturing of infusion solutions in Europe. LIFE was automated with excellent valve terminal technology in pre-assembled cabinets from Festo.

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The modular, but standardized cabinets simplify maintenance and diagnostics. (Picture: Festo)
The modular, but standardized cabinets simplify maintenance and diagnostics. (Picture: Festo)

With the investments in modern production plants amounting in total to approximately 3 billion Euros, B. Braun is setting itself up for the future. The pharmaceutical company operates more than 50 facilities worldwide and employs nearly 40.000 people. With LIFE the company will continue to expand its international excellent competitive position. The pharmaceutical manufacturer chose a new way for automation technology. Efficiency has been the guiding principle for the production of the infusion solution in the new and innovative Three-Chamber-Bag of B. Braun. Target was also the standardization of automation for the LIFE-Nutrition-plant. Standardization means, that as many machines and facilities as possible – starting with the batch system, from the filling, the sterilizer and the inspecting machines to the packaging – are provided with the same automation solution. Also new is that for the first time the primary and secondary area of the pharmaceutical production is totally incorporated in the investigation, means that the complete value chain was investigated.

„That´s all a big advantage for us: our plants are less complex for maintenance, we need fewer spare parts, minimizes the training effort for the maintenance staff and we also have only one contact for the pneumatics“, explains Cristina Molina, Project Manager of B. Braun. In addition integrated automation allows us to control and document in entire and paperless the whole production process. The Distributed Control System (DCS) controls the measured values and report them to a superior ERP-System. If you want to be right ahead on the world markets and fulfil the legal standards and the requirements of the US-American FDA, is it essential to validate the processes. A project team from Festo analysed together with the specialists from the pharmaceutical manufacturer B. Braun the already used types of pneumatic components on site, recommended a standard, created a standard component list and coordinated the arrangements with all the companies involved in this project and considered all requirements with respect to connectivity to the DCS. On this basis a customized valve terminal and Remote I/O application was engineered in order to provide the best solution for B. Braun.

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