Top Plant 2012: Pfizer Global Supply


By focusing on reliability-based maintenance concepts and workflow processes, equipment downtime is now less than 2%. Because of optimization efforts that started in 2008, PM activities have been reduced by 43% with savings of $3.9 million. Even with reduced PM activities, the plant has seen an increase in equipment uptime and availability. Given this focus, the maintenance department has been able to support greater than 90% equipment utilization within the APl plant and a 25% increase in volume in the DP plant.

Part of the reason the maintenance organization at the Kalamazoo plant has been so efficient can be attributed to cross-training. “A few years ago, we not only added a multiskill technician classification, but also focused on technician cross-training,” said Mark Callahan, senior manager, reliability engineering. “As an example, machine repairmen are trained to lock-out/tag-out the electrical side to disconnect motors in order to do a pump repair or replacement without having to pull in an electrician.

It’s actually working out very well,” Callahan said. “This has made us much more efficient in getting work orders completed in a timely manner and getting production back up and running.”

Automation diversity

The automated cartoner shows is integrated with other pieces of equipment associated with the Pfizer plant. Courtesy: Pfizer Global SupplyDiverse plant operations require diverse automation solutions. Multiple DCSs control the batch processes in the API plant. “We’re trying to reduce our DCS footprint,” said Thomas Andrews, senior manager, process automation. “Our batching system was installed prior to the ISA S88 standards. As we phase in the new DCS platform, we will focus more on an S88 implementation. We’re moving to a more flexible, agile batch solution, smaller phases, and more control at the lower levels.”

The S88 standards establish a consistent set of batch control standards and terminology to define the physical model, procedures, and recipes. The standard is intended to upgrade the controls to incorporate a contemporary batch control philosophy.

DP plant operations typically rely on PLCs with HMI and SCADA interfaces. “We use PLCs in the packaging areas and with robotics,” Andrews said. “We also have a lot of check-weighing systems. There’s a large amount of integration between the various pieces of equipment associated with the DP plant.”

Andrews manages a team of 17 automation engineers. “We’re managing some 95,000 to 100,000 I/O,” said Andrews. “The diversity of engineers required for a site like this is from one end of the spectrum to the other. From understanding instrumentation, process control, the processes, DCSs, HMIs, SCADAs, and the interface issues that are encountered, to the drug product technologies, filling, freeze-dry, inspection, the robotics for handling materials and running extremely fast lines, it really takes a lot of talent. And I’m fortunate to have been involved in assembling this team of engineers and putting that diversity together. We have packaging engineers, chemical engineers, and teams that know electrical, mechanical, and computer systems. It brings such a diversity of solutions to the table, it really is great.”

Improving safety

Pfizer’s Kalamazoo plant takes safety seriously. From 2011 to 2012, the plant cut the number of lost-time accidents in half, from six to three. The number of OSHA recordable incidents was reduced by nearly 30% during the same period.

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