New Pfizer plant is 40% more energy efficient with Siemens technology

Pfizer has opened a new high-containment manufacturing facility in Freiburg, Germany, using technology and services from Siemens to make it one of the most modern and sustainable of its kind. Potentially producing up to seven billion tablets a year for more than 180 countries, the plant uses an innovative containment concept – monitored and controlled by building services from Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio – which ensures employee safety and results in a 40% reduction in energy use in its environmental control system, compared to a traditional facility.

Desigo CC is the technology backbone of the facility’s smart building infrastructure, acting as a central control centre to integrate multiple systems and devices, and automate processes. This enables systems to communicate and collaborate with each other, collecting and visualising data from both the production process and the building in one place.

“All machines and processes are intelligently networked using information and communication technologies, which enables the Pfizer plant in Freiburg to produce more flexibly, faster and with less resource consumption,” says Gunther Bechmann, Senior Manager Operations Manufacturing, Pfizer Freiburg. “The constructive cooperation on this project has once again confirmed and expanded the existing partnership that the Pfizer plant has maintained with Siemens for years.”

High containment plants are designed to safely manufacture medications with highly active ingredients, which require handling with the greatest of care. At the Pfizer plant, building services from Siemens monitor and control a special containment concept, bringing together multiple disciplines including power distribution, ventilation, air conditioning and heating. As a result of this concept and its technology, Pfizer can manufacture medications with category Occupational Exposure Bands Four (OEB4), with employees only requiring protective clothing to OEB3 level. This creates optimum production conditions, while ensuring maximum safety for employees and increasing efficiency.

“Our work with Pfizer on the new Freiburg plant is an excellent demonstration of how applying an intelligent mix of technology and services can produce exactly the right outcomes, even in a challenging industry like pharmaceuticals, where speed, consistent quality and safety are all non-negotiable,” says Dave Hopping, CEO, Solutions and Services, Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “The result is a faster, more flexible and competitive facility, and a benchmark in ultra-modern, sustainable pharmaceutical production.”

Combining Desigo CC with SIMATIC WinCC – a scalable process visualisation system – enables production-related data to be exchanged between the production systems and the visualisation system. Data relevant to production from the building management platform is transferred to the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, while information from other production systems can be fed into Desigo CC and used for predictive control functions in the building automation systems.

This connection allows building management data to be used in the central management system, and can be accessed at any time from individual production areas. Networking and visualising data in this way enables the production facility to consume around 40% less energy than traditional plants in its environmental control, by intelligently controlling the air flow and temperature requirements in individual zones.

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