Millipore Opens New Ultrafiltration Membrane Facility
November 15, 2004
This past summer Millipore opened its new state-of-the-art membrane casting manufacturing facility in Jaffrey, NH, which will increase production of its ultrafiltration membranes for worldwide biopharmaceutical markets. Superior Controls automated a part of the $30 million, 44,000 sq. ft. GMP, membrane plant.
The new facility manufactures Millipore membranes through a process called immersion casting in which polymers are dissolved in organic solvents and phase separated in a highly controlled nonsolvent immersion bath. The automated multi-step, and continuous casting, coating, treatment, and drying process is performed with 60+ Eurotherm Drives networked over a fiber optic link for high-speed synchronization. Twelve Ethernet networked Allen-Bradley ControLogix & SLC PLCs are used to control and monitor various production areas. Seven RSView SE based PCs provide full Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) functionality.
Millipore, a world leader in manufacturing ultrafiltration membranes, provides a wide variety of specific products for various biopharmaceutical uses. For each individual product, the operator selects the product recipe stored in a SQL Server database which automatically downloads the appropriate setpoints and settings to each PLC and drive.
All production data, such as casting speeds, temperatures, flow rates, etc. are also stored in the SQL database using Allen-Bradley RSSQL. Customized batch reports were configured using Crystal Reports. Five separate vendor skids were provided for drying, mixing, casting, and hydrolysis functions. Each skid manufacturer pre-wired the field instrumentation to skid mounted I/O modules. Superior Controls wrote the control programs and SCADA interfaces and performed the Factory Acceptance Tests at the skid manufacturer's site. As a result, the operator graphics and control strategy has the same look and feel for all support systems making it easier to operate. In addition, security, alarming, reporting, and data collection are all managed from one location. Sean Hoffman, Superior Controls' Senior Project Manager, was instrumental in all stages of the project. The entire project was completed in less than one year.
Bob Wheeler, Millipore's Project Engineer, said, "Superior Controls was selected in part because of their staff of skilled engineers, IT professionals, and their extensive experience in automating GMP facilities."