Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation (February 1, 2005)


February 1, 2006

Project Status Summary:
1. Control software development code complete 100%
2. HMI software code complete 100%
3. HMI external application configuration 100%
4. MF beta testing 100%
5. UF beta testing 100%
6. FAT 100%

Factory Acceptance Testing
The factory acceptance test (FAT) was completed on Friday, which marks the end of the project until commissioning at the client site in May. The client team at the FAT consisted of the process engineers, automation engineers, validation personnel and project managers. In the test week, the team performed the following:

  1. 1. I/O testing with approved validation protocols. The testing repeated and spot-checked our point-to-point test that was performed before the client team arrived. This test helped wring out discrepancies between the protocols and the field devices. One major discrepancy was that of the instrument ranges– the protocols referenced the process range rather than the instrument span range (4-20mA). This confusion led to both re-work of the documents and reconfiguring of a few instrument ranges. This was another case where our software methodology and control modules came in handy – changing the range in the software is simply done at the control module faceplate, not directly in the code. In total, the I/O checkout took nearly six days to complete and document – four days before the client arrived and two days with them.

  2. Network and ARS Testing. We performed two tests for network integrity and data acquisition. One test proved that our system could effectively communicate with a 3rd party PLC over the network. This was done to simulate the communication between our system and others that will be in the actual plant, such as the WFI loop and CIP skid. We also tested the logging of batch events to the archiving and reporting system (ARS) using a 3rd party PC. These tests strictly tested the software, but the client deemed the FAT as the best location to perform them.

  3. Alarm, Interlocks and Status Verifications. The hard-wired alarms were tested to verify the safety devices were in proper working order, along with a spot check of software alarms and interlocks. The alarms and interlocks were all tested previously during our development testing on our simulated system. The lead designer of the unit status indicators was on site, so it was deemed appropriate to test the unit status indicators for proper functionality. We were able to execute small test recipes that sequenced through the various states, such as Post Use, Post CIP, or Sanitized, in order to prove proper functionality.

  4. Functional Testing. The process team did run some process functions using the equipment modules. They concentrated on the pressure and flow control for each skid and verified proper control strategies for each. Process recipes were not tested and will have to be further developed on site.

As is the case with most FATs, it is difficult to complete all of the testing desired in the amount of time allotted. Construction constraints usually dictate that the skids must be shipped in a timely manner and therefore, the FAT usually gets cut short. Many of the tests outlined in the FAT protocols will now be performed for the first time at the client site during commissioning. Overall, the FAT was deemed successful. Our software and computers were boxed up at the end of the week and will be shipped with the equipment to the client site. Our few remaining punch list items will be address during commissioning.

What's Next?
After we ship out the turnover package next week, the project is put on hold until commissioning at the client site, which is slated for May and June. Until then, we move on to new projects, yet reserve the time slot for the upcoming field work.

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