Processing Magazine

Ciba’s pigment manufacturing plant in Scotland gets automation upgrade

November 6, 2006

GE Fanuc Automation, a unit of GE Industrial, recently announced that Ciba Specialty Chemicals chose GE Fanuc’s Proficy™ Plant Applications Batch Execution software, running on a Proficy HMI/SCADA - iFIX® platform, for two main pigment manufacturing processes at its Paisley, Scotland plant. Key factors in the decision were the recipe consistency, the flexibility and the ease-of-use offered by the software, part of the Proficy Production Management solution suite.

The Ciba Specialty Chemicals plant produces pigments that are used for coloring in a wide range of applications, including inks, paints, plastics and textiles. Each of two key manufacturing units has its own central operator area with twin-head displays of their respective Batch Execution and iFIX operations. There are 10 process lines in total, each with its own batch server, and 15 iFIX client displays on the shop floor.

Alan Sanderson, Control Engineering Manager at Ciba Specialty Chemicals, explained: “The legacy recipe system was developed in-house and the control system used commercial software that was no longer supported, so we needed to choose a supplier who we were confident would continue to provide support in the long term. GE Fanuc’s Proficy Batch Execution ensures the vital, repeatable recipe consistency, with a multiple batch server front-end enabling us to control the individual operations all from a central control room. It offered us flexibility and, by working in a graphical environment, ensured ease of development. It also minimized our database as we can interrogate the current readings of any piece of process hardware by clicking on its icon: the software automatically accesses the real-time data via a remote OPC server, without it being captured on the database.”

The critical traits manufacturers are looking for in batch management applications are security, flexibility, and ease of use. Proficy Plant Applications Batch Execution addresses these CTQs as well as cost reduction, increased quality and added profitability. An easy to use graphical interface is combined with powerful monitoring and control functions to address specific FDA regulations such as 21 CFR Part 11.

George Walker, Sales Director at Kerrco Automation, a GE Fanuc Automation Solutions distributor in Scotland and Ireland, added: “The installation is one of the largest Batch Execution sites in Europe. The system is far more flexible than the legacy system it replaced, provides important batch records and reports, and offers excellent capabilities for future development.”