Europhartech was advised and supported by Rockwell Automation and by H2M Technologies, a specialist company, which offers a variety of machines for track & trace solutions for pharmaceutical packaging lines, delivering serialisation, aggregation and tamper-evident printing capabilities. In addition to the new production line configuration – now with two horizontal conveyors – new cameras with OCR capabilities have been deployed to greatly reduce or even eliminate rejects.
Rockwell Automation proposed a configurable and pre-validated base solution, which significantly reduces implementation time. The serialisation solution is based on its Rockwell Software® PharmaSuite® MES platform, using a client-server architecture running FactoryTalk® View Site Editon (SE). The Product Management Client (PMC) is designed as a module of the PharmaSuite MES and acts as an operator-interaction screen. Unlike many solutions designed and developed from Tier 1 systems, the Rockwell Automation serialisation solution is designed as a Tier 3 specific module. It therefore benefits from the ability to interface with other ERP and MES suites, as well as line controllers and lower-tier machines.
From an automation perspective, the project employs an Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix® programmable automation controller (PAC). This is powerful processor that is specified due to the large amounts of serialisation data it needs to store. Should the serialisation server fail, the PAC can run autonomously using the pre-downloaded data. Allen-Bradley CompactLogix™ PACs can also be used if a full batch download is not required. Due to the Logix range’s scalability, very little effort is required to change controllers.
Europhartech is ready to meet all the requirements of current and future regulations, giving it a significant competitive and commercial advantage, and improving serialisation information exchange with its partner customers. Serialisation and tamper-proofing will concern 10 to 12 million boxes a year – 70% of Europhartech’s activity – all destined for the European market
Visualisation and operator interaction are provided by an Allen-Bradley VersaView® industrial computer, Although FactoryTalk View does not normally need a computer equipped HMI, in this instance more functionality was required as was the need to run parts of the PharmaSuite client on screen. The PLC and motion solution can also be controlled from this interface.
For product movement and orientation, the serialisation solution deploys several Allen-Bradley Kinetix® servo drives. These are used to control both the upper and lower belt rotation, the vertical position of the upper belt (to cater for varying box sizes) and the two-axis printer head. Servo delivered accuracy is important to synchronise printing and the application of the tamper evidence solution. This accuracy is coupled to the flexibility need to cater for a variety of box sizes, with simple re-programming or recipe selection via the HMI.
The Rockwell Automation solution is also scalable, and can adapt depending on the needs of Europhartech. For example, centralized serial number management and tamper-proofing, which the PMC allows, can be extended to aggregation. The randomized serial numbers, supplied by the company’s ERP system, are sent to the workshop via the MES where the PMC module will process them. The PMC also supports main recipes and packing orders.
Europhartech also chose a predictive maintenance solution from Rockwell Automation, which will be used to reduce or even eliminate faults, a major boost for the group, whose production is performed on a just-in-time basis, operating on a 3 x 8-hour shift basis, sometimes seven days a week.
This new data architecture, delivering more robust internal and external communication, has taken Europhartech into the arena of the Rockwell Automation Connected Enterprise, an approach which converges plant (OT) and enterprise (IT) networks, and securely connects people, processes and technologies. As well as addressing upcoming serialisation regulations, it also covers all primary facets of an Industry 4.0 approach and, in this instance, Pharma 4.0.
True to its approach of quality of service and continuous innovation, expressed by the signature “ONLY SOLUTIONS”, Europhartech will be ready to meet all the requirements of current and future regulations by June 2018, giving it a significant competitive and commercial advantage, and improving serialisation information exchange with its partner customers.