Client Success Story: Controls Separation to Improve Electrical Safety, Process Utilization, and Eliminate Product Scrap

Client Success Story: Controls Separation to Improve Electrical Safety, Process Utilization, and Eliminate Product Scrap

A large nutraceutical company hired Pacific Blue Engineering to separate control systems for the encapsulator dryer line. In nutraceutical pill formulation medicine containing an omega fatty acid is encapsulated in gelatin and the pills are then transferred to a drying process. At the time of the project, both the encapsulating process and the drying process were controlled by the same control system. With this arrangement, closing down of the control panel results in both processes being interrupted. By separating the controls, it is then possible to close one process without interrupting the second process.

There were three advantages to be realized by separating the control system:

(1) The electrical safety is improved, allowing work, such as maintenance requiring LOTO, to be completed on one process while the second process continues to operate.

(2) The amount of product scrap material is significantly reduced. This scrap arises when both processes are shut down simultaneously, and the unfinished pills that remain in the dryer without completing the drying process would be rejected.

(3) The Overall Equipment Effect (OEE) is improved since part of the line can be operational while preventative maintenance activities are undertaken.

The scope of work in separating the control systems included several steps:

  • New dryer control enclosures were designed and constructed to contain a new CompactLogix PLCs, contractor /overload relays, Power Flex 525 drives, a Stratix network switches, safety relays, Panel View HMIs and electrical disconnect.
  • New Dryer PLC and HMI programs were created, and the existing Encapsulator Koyo PLC and HMI programs were modified to prepare for separation of the controls.
  • Installation of a dryer control enclosures on 5 lines were executed without affecting production schedules
  • New breaker installations for five separate 480 VAC branches for new enclosures in the Soft Gel distribution panel were scheduled and installed. 
  • An electrical cutover, installation, and wiring of the dryer control enclosures for 5 lines  were completed.  This also included wiring new VFD cables and new cables to the blower and tumbler motors of the dryer.
  • IO checkout, testing, and commissioning were completed on time and as planned. 

           

A major challenge was to manage the electrical separation between the two control systems, mitigating the risk of miswiring or the cutting of the wrong wire.  The approach required was hands-on technical project management including coaching subcontractors on GMP in addition to the completion of the IO checkout and testing of the electrical separation within a short time frame. 

The two-control systems provided a significant improvement in production, since if it is necessary to shut down on the encapsulation process, product is not lost.  The OEE is also significantly improved when compared to that obtained when closing both processes simultaneously.  Additionally, improved electrical safety in accordance to NEC/NFPA is afforded and working under electrically live conditions on the other part of the process is avoided. 

This project is not regarded as an obsolescence upgrade but rather a control separation, and this is a rare project in the industry.  The client’s executive leadership viewed that the project was justified, and the advantages cited above are all realized.   A future improvement that could be considered by the company is to install a plantwide SCADA system to manage both downstream and upstream processes from a control room. This would allow superior business decisions to be made, particularly regarding loss of raw materials and overall production efficiency.

similar posts

Pacific Blue provides turn-key industrial automation solutions!
Electrical & Controls design, build, installation, commissioning and run-time support.
Share on facebook
The Test and Adjust Phase for a Client’s New Theme Park
Pacific Blue Engineering was hired by a large Parks and Resorts client to assist with the test and adjust phase of a new resort and to provide a Sub-System Controller (SSC) for a separate attraction.  The primary objective of these projects was to provide on-site service to test, debug and edit controller software and wiring...
Share on facebook
Client Success Story: Controls Separation to Improve Electrical Safety, Process Utilization, and Eliminate Product Scrap
A large nutraceutical company hired Pacific Blue Engineering to separate control systems for the encapsulator dryer line. In nutraceutical pill formulation medicine containing an omega fatty acid is encapsulated in gelatin and the pills are then transferred to a drying process. At the time of the project, both the encapsulating process and the drying process...
Share on facebook
Pacific Blue Engineering is celebrating 6 years in business today!
A big thanks to our team members, customers, vendors, distributors, and solution partners. It’s been quite a journey, and we are just getting started!
Share on facebook
Improving OEE/Uptime with a PLC-5 Conversion to ControlLogix
A large cosmetic manufacturer hired Pacific Blue Engineering to migrate a PLC-5 control system to ControlLogix. The PLC-5 system controlled a critically important water batching process and without it, the plant simply could not operate. The main problem with the existing PLC-5 control system was obsolescence and its failure would shut down the plant. In...
Share on facebook
Going up….on a Tuesday!
Share on facebook

Contact Us

Telephone:

(657) 201-8603

Contact us for a free site visit!

support@pacificblueengineering.com

Corporate Office “The Shop”

Pacific Blue Engineering, LLC
2880 Orange Ave
Long Beach, CA 90755

Your message has been sent!