Proficy HMI / SCADA
GE Healthcare Life Sciences recently boosted its capacity for producing a critical material used to make life-changing therapies. The tenfold annual capacity increase for powdered cell culture media at its Pasching, Austria facility strengthens supply to biopharmaceutical companies in Europe. These companies produce biologics, including vaccines and monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer, now the world’s fastest-growing class of medicines.
The Pasching expansion is part of a $17 million USD investment to create state-of-the art facilities for cell culture media production. In addition to increasing capacity at GE’s Pasching and Logan, Utah sites, the investment fuels updates to modernize and digitize production for continuous improvement. Consistent with these goals, the new Pasching production suite also has a new digital solution that streamlines environmental monitoring.
Digital solutions support continuous improvement
Manufacturing cell culture media, the nutrients for cells that are used to produce biopharmaceuticals, is a complex process. Different formulations enriched with amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids, and lipids have been created to optimize the growth of a wide range of cell types. The production process, including the environment, must be precise to minimize variations that could affect cell growth in the biologic manufacturing process.
With continuous improvement in mind, the Pasching team aimed at boosting visibility of the environmental parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.) in the production area. The team wanted real-time notifications on multiple devices, allowing maintenance or engineering staff to respond even more quickly to changing parameters during the production run. It also wanted to improve the ability to identify trends and analyze data proactively. During the planning phase for the expansion, the team broadened the project scope to also include the implementation of a new monitoring system fitting these requirements.
“At GE Healthcare, we continuously aim at improving the quality of finished goods. As a life science company, we have very strict requirements on each supplier we choose. That’s why only the high-quality technologies can be used in our initiatives,” says Florian Zocher, GE Healthcare Pasching Manufacturing Program Manager. “And then, when we started our production extension, the natural choice was GE Digital, as a reliable software editor and solution provider. It was not the first project with GE Digital and after this huge success it won’t be the last”.
We needed an experienced partner with deep knowledge, who can provide GE-like level of services—therefore we have selected ProKSE.
Luca Galiotto - GE Digital project lead
HMI/SCADA visualization across the plant floor
GE Digital partnered with ProKSE GmbH (Germany) to implement CIMPLICITY to allow Pasching staff to react even more quickly to changing parameters before production was completed.
“CIMPLICITY, a core component of the solution, allows us to fulfill the requirements using maximum standard functionality of the software,” indicated Maria Dudorova, ProKSE GmbH technical lead. “This means reduced TCO for the end customer”.
CIMPLICITY’s situational awareness technology, combined with an advanced notification system (via email and SMS), allows maintenance or shift leaders to receive notifications quickly. These alerts indicate the exact location of the environmental parameter in question and identify the cause. The notifications can also be received on multiple devices, including displays on the shop floor, desktop computers, and mobile devices. So, the right information is delivered to the right people at the right time.
Historian from GE Digital also enabled the quality department to visualize trends and then create the appropriate analysis. To provide greater visibility, plant floor data was collected from PLCs and reliably stored in the Historian server—preventing data loss in case of disconnection.
“The security aspects such as electrical signature, single sign on and audit trail were very important for us because we must follow the industry regulations – 21 CFR, for example,” says Stefan Seyerl, GE Healthcare Pasching Digitalization Specialist. “Since being involved in the project, I am contented not only with how the proposed solution fits our requirements, but with how GE Digital and ProKSE worked for us.”
To provide this high level of visibility, plant floor data was collected from PLCs and stored in Historian. The built-in features of redundant collectors, used for this aim, prevent data loss in case of disconnection between the PLC and the plant Historian server.
Flexible implementation and reduced costs
With GE Digital’s industrial applications, the Pasching facility personnel now have a powerful tool at their fingertips. They can select one parameter on a specific display to see and analyze the data in real time. This not only saves time and cost, but reduces waste and rework as well. The solution also allows Pasching staff to:
- Respond even faster by receiving early notifications
- Continuously improve trend identification and data analysis
- Reduce costs by pinpointing parameters to analyze
In the future, the team at the Pasching facility is planning not only to implement this solution in new areas, but also to update existing environments.
CIMPLICITY and Historian provide the highest flexibility in their implementation as well as cost reduction for us. The system is great to work with, which has encouraged us to expand the system further and to include new machines and areas over time.
Stefan Seyerl - GE Healthcare Pasching Digitalization Specialist