Success Story: Boots

Boots---Success-Story-imageMES – The right pill for Reckitt Benckiser

Reckitt Benckiser plc at Nottingham employs over 8,000 people in the manufacture of a vast range of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. A recent expansion to produce a new product allowed the engineering staff to consider the use of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to totally automate the process and ensure that it was a validated system under FDA and Good Manufacturing Practise guidelines. The resulting system that was based upon technology delivered and supported by Wonderware United Kingdom. The system runs in real-time, uses Reckitt Benckiser’s corporate IT system and Biometric technology for electronic signature and system security.

From the outset the process IT system had to be FDA validated and use the company’s time-proven security and backup strategies. At the same time the engineering team was faced with the dual challenges of a new product and a new process. The £2.9m project was innovative and had to be completed on time. Every piece of equipment in the process had to be procured from new, with adaptations made to meet the particular requirements of the process. The successful project would be the first time that the new product had been scaled up from the laboratory.

The company therefore needed to use technology that was easy to deploy and also technology that would readily integrate to the existing corporate IT scheme. In addition to procurement issues, the company’s engineers also examined the longer term cost-of-ownership issues and practical procedures that would affect MTTR (Mean Time To Repair).

The selection of Wonderware’s InTouch HMI SCADA and Wonderware Historian real-time database provided the core tools for the job. The need to use the existing IT architecture was best achieved by the use of Terminal Services, this decision also adding benefits of high MTBFand very low MTTR. The final structure of theproduction proposal had to be agreed with IBM as it is responsible for all of Reckitt Benckiser’s IT systems.

Tests were done to gauge the effect of Terminal Services upon network traffic, this provedto be easily manageable on the gigabit fibreoptic link. The servers in the system (Terminal Services Server, Tag Server and Wonderware Historian Server) are located in the central IT server area and are integrated with the group Active Directory and therefore have inherited all the group security policies. The Servers are in dual-redundant mode, changeover being automatic. Wonderware Historian’s IDAS module has been used to ensure that any process data that is collected during changeover is stored and then forwarded after changeover, with all data being in the correct chronological order.

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