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A biotechnology manufacturing process is a highly complex procedure. Commensurate challenges are posed by the engineering phases as well as project realization in this environment. To fulfill the continuously increasing quality demands of our customers and live up to the “First-time-right” project approach of the “One-stop shop”, a new forward-looking tool has been integrated into our engineering process.
Using detailed process sequence simulations, ZETA Engineering is even more detailed, productive and customized. To this end, INOSIM, the software specialized in logistics simulations, is brought into all phases of a project. From the first estimates to the minute-by-minute definition of the manufacturing process, a digital twin of the plant is created to support the project.
In this way, the technical and economic viability are evaluated during the feasibility study and it serves as a tool for customer decision-making.
In concept design, not only are the theoretical process and production capacities determined, but various system designs are also compared. This allows for early identification of bottlenecks and cost-intensive areas of production. A further output is dimensioning of the plant and equipment, which supports subsequent creation of the layout.
In discontinuous processes, conflicts arise due to simultaneous equipment allocation, in addition to limited availability of resources, which become a primary factor negatively influencing production efficiency and process robustness. In the basic and detail design phases, the degree of detail is increased more and more and a clear picture of the practical capacity of the system is generated.
Over the course of a project, the role of the simulation develops from a pure engineering tool to a comprehensive production planning tool. Warehouse capacities, personnel requirements, potential shift plans are then known long before the system is commissioned. Also, not to be underestimated is how running the virtual production makes the challenges for system automation apparent very early on.
The use of this tool is not limited to greenfield projects, however. In close cooperation with Zeta’s data science experts, existing productions are depicted and the technical capability of the system is brought up to the theoretical capability of the process via optimization algorithms.
Even a small number of simple individual components can result in complex system behavior when combined. An intuitive estimate of capabilities, bottlenecks and required capacities of supplies and resources is possible only with a high degree of uncertainty. Process simulation offers the chance to develop in a more targeted way and to identify the system’s later operational challenges already at an early stage.
For upcoming product changes in existing systems, simulations for determining feasibility and production capacities under the existing system limitations are of interest, including for any pending investments. In multi purpose systems, production scenarios (product change, downtime, product sequencing) can be worked out, optimizing system utilization.
At ZETA, this innovative technology has been in use for some time. On one hand, this optimizes the internal engineering sequences and results. On the other hand, our customers benefit from another integrated service, which supports the constructive use of the digital plant twin in daily production activities. Recently, a production simulation was created in the INOSIM simulation environment by ZETA experts in the course of an engineering order that later went on to be used by a German biopharma customer.
This tool will establish itself in the ZETA engineering process in the medium term because, together with INOSIM, we are able to meet the requirements of our customers to the highest level of satisfaction.