Life sciences industry: Managing regulated environments
As a central, cross-discipline building management platform, Desigo CC meets all requirements for clean rooms, laboratories, pharmaceutical production facilities and critical storage, even in regulated environments, and helps companies to perfect the balancing act between efficiency and safety.
The life science industry presents major challenges for building automation. On the one hand, buildings and facilities must meet the high standards and strict regulatory requirements of the industry. On the other hand, they need to be operated as economically as possible without compromising safety. In clean rooms and laboratories, critical room conditions such as temperature, humidity, pressure and particle concentration have to be monitored and maintained. Even the slightest deviation from the validated values can endanger the safety of employees, the environment or product quality. To largely eliminate this risk building management systems continuously monitor clean rooms and laboratories for compliance with the room conditions, thus protecting a precisely defined space. At the same time, they provide the necessary degree of transparency and document the manufacturing conditions.
Perfectly matched components from the field of Critical Environment Technology (CET) safely and accurately measure, regulate and monitor volume flow and room pressure. Thanks to their seamless integration, they also ensure uninterrupted communication between the individual system components, from the primary systems to the management level, to guarantee safety and comfort in regulated environments. Intelligent monitoring means that up to one hundred compliance-relevant environmental parameters – such as temperature, humidity, air speed, air pressure and air particles – can be continuously monitored, stored and documented without risk of manipulation. The monitoring system relies on specially certified sensors, which have significantly lower measurement tolerances than conventional building automation sensors. Intelligent algorithms ensure early detection of any inherent risks, such as gradual changes in environmental and production conditions that may occur due to wear or failure of components, and they eliminate these risks before any damage can occur.
The GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines stipulate that the vast amounts of data from various life science institutions are properly recorded, without risk of manipulation, on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. The data can then be analyzed and automatically processed on a project-specific basis. This ensures that all prior processes can be traced back in case of an incident. If the lower or upper thresholds of validated environmental parameters are breached, an alarm is triggered immediately. If an employee makes any changes to the system, these are recorded and comprehensively documented.
Protecting sensitive workplaces
As well as creating suitable environmental conditions, building management systems guarantee the safety of the clean rooms. This covers access control, fire safety and danger management and also includes the protection of raw materials, intellectual property and valuable finished products from manipulation as well as industrial espionage and theft. Access to the sensitive areas is only granted to persons who can identify themselves with a name and password that has explicit clearance to enter the relevant area. If required, biometric methods can also be used for granting access. Audit trails provide automatic and seamless logging of all access data. Mandatory comment functions can stipulate that a reason is entered in order to make changes.
Lighting and ventilation can be adjusted to the requirements of different groups of people according to their stored access profiles. For example, the room temperature can be set to a lower value for more physical tasks, such as the work of the cleaning staff, than for chemists, who are completing most of their tasks while sitting down. This increases comfort for the occupants while also helping to reduce the building's energy consumption.
Providing the necessary transparency
To ensure compliance with the GMP guidelines and optimal building operation, all disciplines – from heating, ventilation and air conditioning to fire protection and security solutions for perimeter protection – are monitored, controlled and optimized for energy efficiency via an integrated building management system. Depending on the specific location, smoke, heat and flame detectors with explosion-protection certification monitor areas at heightened risk of fire and explosion. Dedicated fire protection solutions detect the very first signs of an incident within a few seconds and automatically initiate the appropriate extinguishing method.
As an integrated building management platform, Desigo CC displays the status of the various disciplines in real time and processes their data using intelligent algorithms. This helps to identify and evaluate any mutual dependencies and influences more quickly. The platform features an extensive standardized library developed specifically for clean rooms and laboratories, with static and dynamic graphical symbols. There is an option to have error messages emailed directly to the smartphone of the maintenance personnel. Since everything runs through a central server, the systems can also be controlled remotely via an app for smartphones and tablets.
The building management platform is modular and scalable and can easily be adapted to specific tasks and disciplines. Alongside standard building automation disciplines such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and shading, Desigo CC allows for simple integration of fire alarm and gas detection systems, video surveillance, access control and other automated building systems. As a priority, the platform continuously monitors all operating conditions of the laboratory fume cupboards, the alarm conditions, and even the pressure of the extinguishing agent in the event of a fire. Certain emergency procedures can be automated and adapted to the requirements of the specific environment.
Author: Roland Hensel
Picture credits: Siemens AG / iStock.com/BraunS
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