Industry Specific

Case Studies

A man using a VR Headset to display Digital Transformation

Remote Site Commissioning
Biotech Plant, Maryland – USA

This case study underscores the successful application of remote visualization tools for control panel rewiring and commissioning tasks in a biotech plant project. The approach not only adhered to pandemic restrictions but also demonstrated the efficacy of remote collaboration in achieving project goals, reducing costs, and enhancing project outcomes.

What was the challenge?

The challenge was to efficiently complete control panel rewiring and commissioning tasks while adhering to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that limited on-site presence.

What was our strategy?

Remote Collaboration: Given the pandemic’s constraints, the approach involved utilizing remote visualization tools and collaboration software to provide assistance and guidance during both the installation and commissioning phases.

Real-time Verification: The use of remote visualization software allowed for real-time verification of various tasks, ensuring accuracy and adherence to intended plans.

What was the solution?

Installation Assistance: Horizon Controls Group collaborated with the instrument & electrical contractor using remote visualization software to guide the installation of components, terminals, and new sensors. This approach ensured that new control schemes and additions were properly integrated.

Remote Commissioning: The commissioning phase was successfully executed using the same visualization software, eliminating the need for Horizon Controls Group’s physical presence on-site. This strategy involved tasks such as verifying wiring, checking pilot lights, ensuring proper wiring practices, and confirming cleanliness standards.

Collaborative Verification: The ability to view equipment together in real-time enabled collaboration between on-site resources and remote commissioning teams. The use of Microsoft Teams™, Apple Facetime™, or specialty applications, such as Vuforia Chalk™ensured accurate installations, verified process reactions, and facilitated recommendations.

A man using a VR Headset to display Digital Transformation
A DeltaV Virtualization worker in a hi-viz jacket working on computers

DeltaV Virtualisation
East Coast – USA

The challenge of virtualizing existing and new DeltaV® systems across two buildings was met with a comprehensive strategy that focused on migration, redundancy, and thorough testing. The solution involved meticulous planning, seamless integration, and successful failover tests, resulting in a well-implemented virtualized setup that met the client’s requirements for reliability, efficiency, and operational continuity.

What was the challenge?

The challenge faced in this project was to successfully virtualize existing and new DeltaV® systems at a large pharmaceutical/biotech facility while ensuring seamless integration, redundancy, and efficient network communication between buildings. This endeavor required migrating from the existing DeltaV® v11 servers to virtualized DeltaV® servers running newer software versions (v13), as well as the integration of new DeltaV® systems in a completely virtualized setup.

What was our strategy?

Virtualization Implementation: The primary focus was on devising a comprehensive plan to convert existing physical systems into virtual machines (VMs). This required a careful assessment of the existing hardware, software, and network infrastructure to ensure compatibility with the virtualization technology.

Redundancy and Failover: Ensuring uninterrupted operations in the event of hardware failures was crucial. We designed and implemented a redundancy strategy that involved configuring BLADEs to switch between building servers in case of server failures. This approach enabled seamless failover between buildings servers to maintain continuous operations.

Integration of New Systems: For Building 2, which was designed from scratch, the strategy involved creating a fully virtualized system from the outset. This necessitated the installation of new DeltaV® and PCS networks, as well as IO configurations to communicate with various equipment types.

What was the solution?

Migration and Virtualization: The existing DeltaV® v11 servers in Building 1 were decommissioned, and the system was migrated to virtualized DeltaV® servers running newer software versions. This migration involved careful planning and testing to ensure data integrity and compatibility.

Virtualized Building Design: For Building 2, the design and installation were executed in a fully virtualized manner. This allowed for a streamlined setup, leveraging the benefits of virtualization right from the start.

Redundancy Implementation: The physical network infrastructure between the two buildings was upgraded to facilitate redundancy and failover. The BLADEs were configured to automatically switch between servers in the event of a failure, ensuring uninterrupted operations.

Testing and Failover: Rigorous testing of failure scenarios was carried out to validate the effectiveness of the redundancy setup and failover procedures. The successful tests confirmed the system’s capability to handle various failure modes without compromising operations.

A woman typing in Electronic Batch Records to a laptop

Electronic Batch Records

Horizon Controls Group led two simultaneous electronic batch reporting and process data management projects at two different regional sites for a top biopharmaceutical company. The challenges of optimizing legacy systems, integrating diverse data sources, and ensuring compliance were met with a strategic approach that emphasized standardization, modularization, and seamless integration. The solutions provided streamlined reporting processes, reduced the dependency on specialized expertise, and aligned with GMP guidelines for robust documentation and quality assurance in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes.

What was the challenge?

The challenge addressed in this project involved implementing efficient Electronic Batch Reporting (EBR) systems while meeting the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines for thorough documentation. Additionally, the need to optimize legacy reporting technology, integrate data from diverse sources, and ensure compliance with data privacy and security requirements were significant challenges.

What was our strategy?

Optimization and Reproduction: The strategy involved reproducing this technology and making it compatible with the new DeltaV® control system while using the InfoBatch® reporting solution. This required a well-structured approach to maintain data integrity during the migration process.

Standardization and Modularization: To ensure consistency and ease of development, a library of standards, procedures, and code methods was established. This approach facilitated the creation of modular and self-documenting reports. It reduced the time required for report development, changes, and maintenance, while also reducing the need for extensive technical expertise.

Integrating Existing Systems: The strategy for the second project involved integrating existing reporting and control logic with new functionalities. The goal was to create modular reporting data capture that could be modified easily. This integration was aimed at minimizing disruptions to ongoing processes and empowering controls engineers to produce reports for new process areas without specialized expertise.

What was the solution?

Legacy Technology Migration: The first project tackled the migration from Provox® to DeltaV® by utilizing the InfoBatch® reporting solution. The development of a library of standards and modular report structures facilitated a smoother transition. This approach resulted in a more efficient reporting process that aligned with the new control system.

Modular Reporting Data Capture: In the second project, existing reporting and control logic were augmented to incorporate modular and easily modifiable reporting data capture. This solution empowered controls engineers to generate reports for new process areas without being dependent on specialized knowledge of the InfoBatch® platform.

Complex EBR Deployment: In the subsequent project, HCG resources took on the challenge of deploying an Electronic Batch Record Reporting system for a major biopharmaceutical manufacturer. The strategy encompassed producing InfoBatch® reports, reviewing manufacturing processes using Syncade® MES Process Orders, and aggregating data from DeltaV® Process Control System and Syncade® Order Management sources.

A woman typing in Electronic Batch Records to a laptop
Red Alarm Management Systems on a wall

Alarm Management Systems

The project’s successful implementation of the ISA 18.2-based alarm management strategy led to several positive outcomes. The site could run batches with minimal nuisance alarms, resulting in improved operational efficiency. Additionally, clear identification of alarms facilitated the creation of batch report templates for future validation batches. This case study showcases how adherence to recognized industry standards can enhance alarm system performance and overall operational effectiveness.

What was the challenge?

The Vaccines Plant project in Ireland aimed to produce a bulk substance of 20 serotypes of pneumococcus vaccine. Key challenges included installing and commissioning the first DeltaV and AVEVA PI (former OSI PI) Historian system on-site and implementing an effective alarm management strategy compliant with global corporate standards and ISA 18.2 guidelines.

What was our strategy?

Alarm Management Planning: The team followed ISA 18.2 guidelines and global corporate standards for alarm management. The client utilized the I/O list and Control Module Instance Design Specifications to create a device-associated spreadsheet. This list formed the basis for developing an effective alarm management strategy.

Collaborative Approach: A collaborative effort involving process, tech transfer, quality, and operations teams was essential. Based on process descriptions, control strategies, and functional specifications, the Automation team defined an alarm framework in line with ISA 18.2 principles, ensuring meaningful alarms that prompt appropriate actions.

Training and Familiarization: The Automation team underwent training to understand the global standards and the core principles of ISA 18.2. This ensured a comprehensive grasp of the alarm management practices required for the project.

What was the solution?

Efficient Alarm Configuration: Following the strategy, the client expedited the configuration of alarms. The site began running batches with minimal nuisance or invalid alarms, indicating successful implementation. The clarity in alarm identification enabled the design of batch report templates for validation batches, aligned with real-world abnormal conditions.

Application of ISA 18.2: The project’s approach aligned with ISA 18.2 and IEC 62682 standards, recognized as best practices for Alarm Management in the Process Industries. The comprehensive Alarm Management Life Cycle framework was followed, encompassing activities like alarm philosophy, benchmarking, rationalization, auditing, remediation, and maintenance planning.

Performance Enhancement: The alarm system, previously plagued by over 300 alarms per day including nuisance alarms, was significantly improved. Within a month, the system was operating optimally, indicating that the ISA 18.2 standards had been effectively applied.

A person typing on his laptop - image for AVEVA PI Network Security Migration - Horizon Controls Group Case Study

AVEVA PI Network Security Migration

The execution of the AVEVA PI Network Security Migration project involved meticulous planning, innovative solutions, and effective collaboration in achieving the complex migration goals. The project not only enhanced security but also maintained all system functionality while adhering to the enhanced security requirements.

What was the challenge?

The AVEVA PI Network Security Migration project in Andover, MA, USA involved migrating manufacturing and automation systems from a flat network topology to a segregated network design based on building area. The primary challenge was to migrate an existing AVEVA PI System to this new segregated network while maintaining strict security requirements and minimizing downtime.

What was our strategy?

Security Enhancements: The project focused on implementing enhanced security measures such as Group Managed Service Accounts (GMSAs) and Data transfer between Untrusted domains.

Limited Downtime: With the requirement for minimal downtime, the strategy involved meticulous planning and execution to ensure that the migration process was swift and efficient.

What was the solution?

System Migration: Despite the complexity, the AVEVA PI system was successfully migrated to the new segregated network. This encompassed various components such as Data Archive Collective, Asset Framework (SQL High Availability), PI-EDA, PItoPI, and RDBMS Interfaces.

Data Historians Integration: A significant challenge involved integrating NGMP (Non-Good Manufacturing Practice) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Data Collection Site level historians that required communication with the new segregated networks. This required innovative solutions, including the use of GMSAs in Untrusted domains, to ensure secure communication.

Minimal Downtime Execution: One of the most challenging aspects was executing the migration within limited downtime while adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The careful planning, well-coordinated efforts, and efficient execution ensured the project’s success.

Security Enhancements: The project focused on implementing enhanced security measures such as Group Managed Service Accounts (GMSAs) in Untrusted domains. This ensured that the strict security requirements were met, even in a modern domain environment.

A person typing on his laptop - image for AVEVA PI Network Security Migration - Horizon Controls Group Case Study
A man on a laptop holding a lite lightbulb

Specialized Training

The challenge of crafting a specialized training program was met with a strategic approach of thorough engagement and understanding, resulting in a tailor-made solution that aims to empower the client’s team and foster ongoing improvement.

What was the challenge?

Developing a highly specialized training program for a valued client posed challenges of understanding their intricate system, equipment, and unique needs. To provide effective training, a comprehensive grasp of their operations, personnel roles, and challenges was essential.

What was our strategy?

In-Depth Engagement: Our dedicated team visited the client’s facility and conducted extensive discussions with key personnel, encompassing engineers, maintenance staff, quality experts, validation specialists, and management.

Holistic Approach: By meticulously leaving no stone unturned, we aimed to grasp not only the technical aspects but also the operational intricacies and specific needs of the client.

Client-Centric Insights: Through these interactions, we focused on understanding the client’s system, equipment, and most crucially, their unique requirements and challenges.

What was the solution?

Tailored Program Design: The deep understanding gained enabled us to design a training program that precisely aligns with the client’s distinct needs and challenges.

Effective Knowledge Transfer: Our objective is to equip the client’s team with vital skills, knowledge, and best practices, directly enhancing their efficiency, productivity, and safety in day-to-day operations.

Empowerment for Excellence: We are confident that empowering the client’s workforce will lead to remarkable results and a culture of continuous improvement, enhancing overall operational outcomes.

A Doctor touching an icon on a screen with the letters FDA

Digital Process Twin

As part of an FDA Research Study, Horizon Controls Group was approached to delve into the intricacies of Production Planning, specifically aiming to bolster the adaptability of manufacturing operations in the face of significant disruptions, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. To grasp the dynamics of this challenge, a pilot project was initiated in collaboration with a manufacturing enterprise, serving as a crucial endeavor to decipher how manufacturers ought to adapt.

What was the challenge?

The manufacturer participating in this project operated with a diverse range of machine types and overlapping production processes. Scaling up without a clear understanding of interdependencies and bottlenecks would have entailed costly acquisitions and the deployment of additional machinery and production lines. Given the multitude of uncertainties in this scenario, it was improbable that a linear capacity expansion would yield the desired production outcomes.

What was our strategy?

Horizon Controls Group worked with the manufacturer to execute a pilot using a Digital Twin of the manufacturing process at the company to explore how to improve the manufacturing flexibility for the business.

As part of this initiative, HCG collaborated with various functions within the organization to:

  • Gain insights into the current state of Production Processes and the relevant manufacturing data.
  • Work collaboratively with Production Planners to comprehend their process improvement requirements.
  • Assess the end-to-end communication flow between the business and manufacturing teams to pinpoint disparities between planned production and actual delivery capacities.

These inputs formed the foundation for the development of Digital Twin, aimed at investigating how to optimize the Supply and Demand dynamics during periods of rapid change.

What was the solution?

A Digital Twin was meticulously crafted to scrutinize the manufacturing processes, serving as a virtual replica of real-world operations. This Digital Twin rapidly identified bottlenecks stemming from routine operations and explored strategies to respond to abrupt changes triggered by supply chain disruptions impacting supply and demand.

Outcomes of this undertaking encompassed:

  • The ability to forecast machine capacity through the utilization of the Digital Twin.
  • The capability to perform scenario planning, leveraging the Digital Twin to optimize production in response to changes affecting supply or demand.
  • Enhanced data quality to harmonize the application of data within the Digital Twin and daily operations.
  • Integration of communication channels between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) on the Shop Floor, facilitating the assessment of throughput changes across the entire business.
A Doctor touching an icon on a screen with the letters FDA

Before we relied heavily on manual communication from manufacturing, and our planners spent about 50% of their daily job collecting production data in Excel. The digital twin gives us immediate visibility to the production and capacity information, eliminating manual communication with improved accuracy. Previously our planning involved a lot of opinions and guesswork. 

Using this tool, I’ll be able to do a lot of scenario planning, which will have quite an impact on bottlenecks. It will also help me manage R&D products by managing equipment, which we could not do before.

What our clients think

A senior production planner at the pilot manufacturer