Tablet manufacturing in large pharmaceutical plants requires strict hygiene standards. Production takes place in cleanrooms that are subject to the highest hygienic requirements. As a result, production tanks and containers must be cleaned regularly—even minimal chemical residue or contamination can ruin an entire batch. The cleaning process is divided into several steps in which the tanks are rinsed with different solvents such as chloroform,purified water, or water for injection (WFI). A solvent drainage system is in place to dispose of tank cleaning substances safely and easily. The operator chooses between the normal drains that lead to the sewer system or the solvent drainage system. The fluids from the solvent drain are collected in two tanks in an area classified as ATEX Zone 1. When both tanks are full, the fluids are loaded into a truck. Due to the explosion hazard, the operator has to follow certain safety precautions during the loading and emptying process.
The goal of this project was to automate the emptying process in order to make the tanks easier to manage. To do this, a visualization solution was needed to monitor and control the process steps. To run the process, the operator should have to follow step-by-step instructions on the screen. After the operator logs in, the system should automatically check whether the grounding system is connected. If the grounding system is correctly connected, the menu should be activated so the operator can proceed in the process. Otherwise, the menu should be grayed out and the procedure locked. In the next step, the operator should be able to choose which tank to empty. In addition to these requirements, the solution has to be compatible with the company’s existing SCADA system.
The Pepperl+Fuchs solution was a wall-mounted remote monitor from the VisuNet portfolio. All VisuNet Remote Monitors are built and certified for use in hazardous environments. Because of Pepperl+Fuchs’ deep expertise in explosion protection, installation was simple. In combination with the innovative RM Shell 4 firmware, the software integration into the existing SCADA system is no problem. As a result, it is also possible to control other processes in the plant with the remote monitor.
With the VisuNet Remote Monitor and VisuNet RM Shell firmware, installation and every-day use is incredibly easy. Only three steps are necessary to start up the remote monitor, and the menu-driven interface is intuitive and requires no prior knowledge. With the auto-connect function, the remote monitor connects automatically to the existing SCADA system, so there is no need for further manual configuration by the administrator. Even temporarily interrupted connections are reestablished automatically.