ABB Ability System 800xA Smart Client for pharmaceutical company Recordati Ireland

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How international pharmaceutical group uses ABB's 800xA Smart Client solution: production managers instantly view plant metrics and KPIs based on real-time control system data outside the control room and analyze historical data and events from their office PC.

Recordati pharmaceutical group

Recordati is an Italian multi-national pharmaceutical group that specializes in manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and rare disease drugs. The plant built in Cork, Ireland in 2005, was one of the first facilities Recordati opened outside Italy. It was designed for manufacturing Lercanidipine, an anti-hypertensive drug used to treat patients with high blood pressure. To date, over 500 batches have been manufactured in Ireland.

Main facts

    Industry   Pharmaceutical and life sciences
    Customer   Recordati

    Process automation (DCS) System 800xA with

    DCS crucial for safety, quality and traceability

    One of the most important systems in the Recordati plant is ABB’s Distributed Control System 800xA, which was installed as part of the original design of the plant, in 2003. It controls all the plant’s manufacturing equipment. There are approximately 500 instruments in the plant including safety critical, environmental critical and quality critical, all linked to System 800xA.

    For safety, quality and traceability reasons, Recordati needs to be able to document and record as much as possible about the activities at the plant. This has to be done continually and not just during production. As such, the DCS has to continuously monitor the environmental and safety systems as they must remain operational at all times. The aim is to instantly have all necessary data in place, in order to identify the root cause in case of an incident. That is why System 800xA is a crucial part of the plant operations.

    Davide Botta, Production Manager in Recordati Ireland, works closely with the ABB engineers on site.  ”I really appreciate the expertise, the ability and the knowledge of the ABB engineers I deal with is of such a high standard - it gives me confidence and peace of mind and certainly adds value to our DCS.”, he acknowledges.

    Create unparalleled plant operation environment

    ABB ABility System 800xA

    Secure remote access to process data from DCS

    In 2015 Recordati decided that they needed to have a better picture of production activities at the plant, especially at night when there is no technical support staff on site. They reached out to ABB to get a remote link to the DCS in the plant. ABB was able to respond to this request by providing them with 800xA Smart Client.

    Smart Client allows an internet connection to the DCS, so that System 800x's data can be accessed remotely at anytime from anywhere. According to Davide Botta, the installation by the ABB engineers was very straightforward, and the implementation went very smoothly.  Davide describes the current solution with the following words: “We would feel naked without it!”

    One of the basic requirements Recordati specified was security. They had to be sure that any system provided had the highest standard of security. The system needed to be read-only, that is they just wanted to be able to visualize the parameters, thus not allowing any change or modification of any parameter. As 800xA Smart Client is a secure dashboard visualization application that provides a read-only view into System 800xA and allows the user to call up plant graphic displays (done using PG2) with no additional engineering, ABB was able to fulfill both these requirements for Recordati.

    Davide Botta, Production Manager Recordati Ireland
    "More results can be achieved when accessing control system data in the office, since you can concentrate exclusively on the analysis, without being distracted by production operators who need to carry out particular steps. It really makes decision-making more efficient."

    Working smarter with System 800xA Smart Client

    Prior to installing Smart Client, all team meetings had to take place in the plant control room as this was the only place they could access the DCS. The control room can be a very busy environment, where operators need to carry out their daily activities. Now however, thanks to Smart Client, Davide and his team can access the process information outside of the control room. Being able to do this in a quieter environment gives them more time to analyze the process information, which has significantly improved the quality of their investigations. Davide also has a dedicated screen in his office displaying Smart Client so he can personally have continuous access to process information. This is particularly useful on days when the number of operators is down due to sick leave or holidays.

    Before they installed Smart Client, they conducted daily recordings that were transcribed to paper and then input to Excel. Using Smart Client, this is now automated and they can conduct live readings. In the past, if they wanted to carry out any tests, they had to carry out certain modifications and then wait several days to build the data to verify if that particular action was suitable and effective. Using Smart Client live trending, they are able to significantly drop the time for judging if a proposed action is effective or not. This helps to determine the most efficient processes without making a full investment, thus making significant savings.

    One of the major benefits of using Smart Client is being able to access the process information remotely at night. They can now provide backup and technical support to the site operator, assisting them in resolving any issues that may arise without having to be physically at the plant. In many cases, this has proven worthy to Recordati as they can act immediately to resolve any issues. Response time to resolving these issues is now much quicker thanks to the access  provided by Smart Client.

    Spend time analyzing and acting on data rather than searching

    800xA Smart Client


    Recordati Ireland won three Irish awards from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and one Responsible Care award from The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC). The awards reflect how seriously they take improving energy efficiency at their plant and therefore protecting the environment.

    Davide believes ABB has played a very important role in helping them to win these awards – Smart Client has provided them a better way of recording and demonstrating the savings in energy consumption.

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