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Outdated Legacy Control System Not Achieving Compliance

Update and integration of a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) involving reverse engineering of HVAC system for a pharmaceutical firm to deliver a compliant system

Two buildings with separate control systems with different standards

The customer is a subsidiary of a Dublin based pharmaceutical firm and employs around 300 staff at their Dublin facility. It produces some high profile drugs that are supplied to the global markets. The manufacturing facility consisted of two buildings with a separate control system for heating and ventilation. The older building (Building 1) had a legacy control system that was out of date and didn’t have the temperature, humidity control that would meet the regulatory requirements.

On the other hand, the second building ‘Building 2’ had a qualified system under regulatory requirements and was up to date. A specialist building control and automation vendor was engaged to upgrade Building 1 to Building 2 standards. It was also required to integrate control systems’ heating and ventilation of 20 units across Building 1. The project was to be delivered within the live production environment so this required special care. It also required reverse engineering of the existing system as it was not the industrial solution as built.

Update and integration of system on building 1 with building 2

Malone Group was engaged by the customer to design the new control system for HVAC. This necessitated reverse engineering the current system to understand how it was configured. A functional specification was then developed and submitted for approval. One of the key challenges of this project was the scheduling of works to fit the replacement system and avoid interfering with the production process. The management team had planned a plant shutdown for one month for SAP training. The opportunity to retrofit the main systems in key production areas had to be scheduled within that shutdown period. The two stage approach ensured this was completed in the timeslot and the rest of the system which affected non-critical production areas thereafter. This also meant that the ten electrical panels serving the units were brought on stream to support this phasing. The risks were managed in coordination with Operations Director and Production Planning teams with the rest of the installation work completed over the Christmas shutdown.

Integrated systems that meets the regulatory compliance

The regulatory audit for both systems was conducted to ensure there was no deviation in quality that would affect the production process and the corresponding systems calibrated accordingly. The operational qualification was documented and signed off as the results of the audits met the requirements for regulatory compliance.