The project was to install a BEMS control & monitoring system for a vaccine manufacturing facility in Europe owned by a major global pharmaceutical company during the Pandemic.
The BEMS needed to control and optimise a new AHU to enhance the company’s level of redundancy and support existing plant assets by utilising an effective Duty-Standby arrangement. Without this arrangement, they were at an increased risk of system downtime and the corresponding negative consequences that would go with their assets being out of operation. Supporting and powering their critical plant assets is a Siemens Apogee system designed and installed by SSE Enterprise Energy Solutions.
The demands made upon this pharmaceutical company, and indeed the world, were immense at this time. Operating within the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, these works were to be performed in very challenging times. The works were scheduled to take place within a very tight window that aligned with other works. This gave us only one week in October to commission and set the plant to operate.
Making the situation even harder was the very strict lock-down and travel restrictions correctly imposed by various nations governments in efforts to contain and reduce the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus. The company were therefore looking to maintain maximum availability and uptime, improve utilization of assets, all whilst managing energy usage & costs. They were looking for a BEMS provider that could design, install and maintain their system so that they could continue with their science-led biopharmaceutical business operations.
Our solution was to provide the company with a BEMS system that controlled the Air Handling Units in a Duty/Standby arrangement but, importantly, our engineering and commissioning were all carried out remotely over a secure VPN connection by our engineers communicating directly from our offices in the UK to the site in The Netherlands.
The sequence and methodology below relied on a real-time video/voice link between the site and SSE Enterprise Energy Solutions. The exact applications used were thoroughly tested well in advance of the commissioning phase, hence we were able to embark on the process with a high degree of confidence that the link was resilient and would perform the functions required by us. Added to this, a backup plan had been considered and tested to give both us and the client additional comfort around deploying the solution. Using the link, we were remotely communicating from our SSE UK office location, directly into the new controller before it was connected to any existing active BMS network. This removed the possibility that any live functions would be interrupted and also removed the need for SSE engineers to travel to the site.
It also enabled point-to-point checks directly into the controller database and allowed calibration and signal orientations to be fully checked. Following this, the control and monitoring software was operationally checked using commissioning tools with on-site staff being available locally to trigger mechanical alarms and resets etc.
The use of a remote link from an office into an existing site system is well established and has been used in the past for diagnostic support and minor software changes. At the time it had not been used for the full end to end commissioning of the system due to various practicalities around site interfaces, concurrent working with other trades etc. Having said this, it is more than possible to achieve, provided all parties know and understand their responsibilities and this is what made the difference and allowed us to remotely commission the system which included modifying the server database to incorporate the new controller, loading the new graphics and checking the new controller’s interoperations.
“The value we found in using SSE was the quality focussed delivery which we felt set them apart from their competition. All of our employer requirements were understood right at the outset and SSE offered tailored solutions and technical expertise that both matched and in some instances exceeded our expectations. Given the importance of our operations, we value understanding and we found that SSE utilised smart design techniques, and meticulously planned the delivery of the project so all of our requirements were effectively weaved into a holistic interconnected system. The outcome for us was that we had enhanced the resilience of our critical assets and this gives us the comfort we need to continue with our efforts in advancing science-led biopharmaceutical endeavours.”-