Hands full? No problem!

Companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries place high demands on FPS containment and micronization systems, because these systems have to guarantee the safe handling of toxic substances and a sterile production environment. Thanks to Siemens Industrial Edge, the Italian company is now one step ahead of its competitors.

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Potential for improving containment solutions

FPS is known to its international customers in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries for its innovative and reliable solutions for handling toxic and sterile powders. FPS saw a tremendous opportunity for improving its systems in the Industrial Edge platform from Siemens.

That can’t be the best solution

The Italian company FPS (Food and Pharma Systems) specializes in developing, manufacturing, and installing micronization and containment solutions for industrial applications. Just 20 years after its founding, FPS now has over 1,400 systems in operation worldwide. With about 100 employees, the company develops solutions for the handling and production of active and sterile pharmaceutical ingredients, with a focus on customers in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and cosmetic industries. The containment systems manufactured by FPS permit the safe and efficient handling of toxic and sterile powders. During phases when the substances are being prepared and processed, various doors and process valves within the system have to be opened and closed repeatedly, which means that operators are constantly removing their gloves and running to the controller. FPS realized that this couldn’t be the best solution.

Freeing up hands

To ensure a smooth and simple workflow, FPS wanted a solution that would allow operators to perform a variety of activities via voice commands. This would mean that they’d no longer have to remove their gloves to issue commands via the HMI (human machine interface).

Trouble-free machine operation guaranteed

The new solution was intended to make workflows and purification processes easier for system operators without slowing down or interrupting machine operation, which would ultimately reduce production time. To achieve these goals, the company chose Siemens as a partner. Together the two companies defined and developed the necessary components and solutions that optimally met FPS’s requirements.

“We’ve relied on Siemens since our earliest days as a company, because we trust the brand and because Siemens technology is superior and fully meets our needs.”
Chiara Colombo, Marketing Manager at FPS

Voice supports hands

The new machine architecture of the micronization isolator is comprised of the Simatic S7-1500, HMI Unified Comfort Panels, and a Siemens Industrial Edge device in the form of an industry PC that enables software integration on the machine level.

The solution

FPS’s micronization isolators were already equipped with Simatic S7-1500 controllers. Now the systems also rely on Siemens Industrial Edge computing platform. Appropriate edge devices, applications, and connectivity in a central application and a device management structure greatly simplify the acquisition, analysis, and processing of system data.

What’s so special about this system is that operators of the micronization isolators can use the Simatic Assistant for Machines (SAM) edge application to easily perform a number of activities without having to remove their gloves by issuing voice commands via the HMI. SAM is an edge application that enables interaction with various machines via a voice assistant that uses artificial intelligence. To identify and understand operators’ voice or text commands, the app uses a neural network to process natural language (natural language processing (NLP)). No connection to the Internet is required: Commands can also be processed locally and offline at the machine.

The benefits

With Industrial Edge, Siemens makes using software on the machine level simpler, more reliable, and more scalable. Depending on requirements, large volumes of data can be acquired locally via corresponding apps and processed in real time. Centralized Industrial Edge Management also makes it possible to manage connected edge devices centrally, regardless of whether they’re on-site or distributed worldwide. It can also roll out edge apps and updates – like security-critical firmware updates – centrally and remotely as over-the-air updates on connected edge devices.

The SAM edge app not only responds by text, it can also display tables, images, user manuals, and other content that make it easier for users to operate the machine. There’s also an option for using the voice assistant on mobile devices as an easy way to control systems remotely. Voice control via SAM enables simple and straightforward workflows and smooth machine operation.

Thanks to voice control via SAM, FPS can now collect data from controllers from various manufacturers using the S7 Connector and can process this data on-site via the Simatic Flow Creator edge app.

“The support and innovative technologies from Siemens have completely met all our needs and requirements. As a partner, Siemens has provided us with targeted and relevant training.”
Chiara Colombo, Marketing Manager at FPS

Improve machine performance with Siemens Industrial Edge

Thanks to Siemens Industrial Edge, FPS now benefits from the optimal utilization of its production data. Industrial Edge allows the company to not only operate its machines via voice commands, it also allows it to utilize and process additional data from the field. These are major factors that help to boost FPS’s competitiveness.

 

Siemens Industrial Edge

  • Local data processing enables real-time data storage and analysis right at the machine
  • Data visualization is also possible for plant personnel with no IT expertise
  • Edge apps for machine-level data processing, analysis, and exchange
  • B2B marketplace for applications and services from Siemens and third-party providers

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