Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation, September 13th, 2005


September 13, 2005

There are a few new developments for the project this week. First, we finally received most of the HMI hardware but still await the main server that will function as the iFix SCADA node. This server delivers data to the client HMI displays. We'll wait until we can get the server before developing the HMI applications.

We also received an updated I/O list from the skid vendor. There are a number of inconsistencies between the I/O list and the P&IDs. Maintaining consistency between drawings and I/O lists is frequently a difficult task when managed as separate data sources.There are software products designed to prevent this sort of problem, although they can be a bit pricey and often have a significant learning curve. On larger projects, keeping these two data sources synchronized can be very time consuming. We've developed our own internal tool to populate AutoCAD drawing objects with textual information from an external ODBC database. It does not have the extensive list of functionality found in commercial products, but it meets our needs and saves significant time keeping the two data sources synchronized.

Initial customer review of the MF design specification requires that the CIP drain sequence operation manipulate a couple more discrete valves. The customer has also requested a pre-CIP Pressure Hold Test sequence that will generally be used before cleaning operations. This will require an additional 4 equipment modules for the project and modifications to the design documents. The UF design document scheduled for submittal at the end of last week is rescheduled for early next week, after we update the design to include these modifications.

Meanwhile, equipment module code development continues with additional resources added to the project. We currently have one engineer completing the software design while three engineers are developing code for equipment modules whose design is already finished. One new resource will be coding MF sequences in our Tinley Park, IL office for Safe State, Membrane Drain, and Integrity Test equipment modules. Another resource will fly from Tinley Park to our San Francisco office to work closely with the design engineer to code MF CIP equipment modules. The CIP sequences are likely to be the largest sequences but will be very similar structurally for both the MF and UF skids. The engineer responsible for the design will begin coding equipment modules between duties answering customer questions and modifications to the design based upon customer feedback.

Next week, I'll discuss the plant's operational philosophy and operator access to modules from the HMI.

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