New biopharma plant in Switzerland chooses Emerson automation

Belgium-based UCB has awarded Emerson Process Management a Euro4.7m contract to provide integrated process automation and operations management systems for a new biopharmaceutical production centre in Bulle, Switzerland. Emerson’s technologies and engineering services will be crucial in meeting the very high standards expected by the UCB project team.

UCB is investing Euro175m to construct the first phase of a new plant, its first biopharmaceutical project in Switzerland. The 20,000-square-metre facility, which will be one of the largest in Europe, will be the main production centre for Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

“The state-of-the-art and largely automated facility at Bulle will be a model for the industry when it opens in 2015,” said Michele Antonelli, UCB executive vice president. “To ensure the project meets its tight build-out schedule, we selected Emerson Process Management for its demonstrated ability to engineer and coordinate fast-track automation projects of this type.”

Emerson’s integrated solution includes its Syncade Smart Operations Management Suite, DeltaV digital automation system, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. Emerson will also provide related engineering services, including design, installation, testing and commissioning.

The Syncade Suite software integrates real-time plant floor data with business processes, decisions, and asset management – a key advantage in managing complex operations and extensive documentation required in pharmaceutical production. Syncade Suite manages workflow processes, including electronic work instructions, equipment status and material tracking, recipe-driven operations, automated weigh and dispense operations, and exception reporting.

“Typical biotech manufacturing can involve thousands of pieces of paper that can affect the ability to produce ‘right-first-time’ batches,” said Lorenzo Zampini, automation project manager. “With Emerson’s integrated operations management and control systems, we can automate the reporting process as well as gain tighter process control for increased productivity and smoother regulatory compliance.”

The Syncade software integrates with Emerson’s DeltaV automation system to facilitate operational activities and information flow from the plant floor up to UCB’s SAP system. In the UCB plant, the DeltaV system will control 163 process units including fermentation, purification, filtration, and bottling.  Emerson’s new electronic marshalling technology with CHARMs (characterization modules) will help minimise installation time by eliminating up to two-thirds of the wiring and connections needed with traditional control systems.

Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software that will be supporting HART instrumentation will make it easy for technicians to calibrate critical instruments, check their status, and even detects potential problems before they affect operations.

“Emerson is delighted that UCB has chosen us to automate this ground-breaking facility,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “Our proven ability to provide a single source for both plant automation and operations management systems will help UCB seamlessly manage operations from the plant floor to the head office.  We look forward to working with them as they bring the Bulle facility to life.”

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