To reduce tank handling and transfer operations to a minimum, the Sanofi factory in Tours, France, wanted to redesign the distribution network for the alcohol used as an ingredient in its preparations. These investments also concerned three metering lines for ethanol in the granulation phase in the ATEX area. Two options were available to the team, the first was a proven weight-based metering system already installed on the site and the alternative was to install a Coriolis flowmeter.
Simple, accurate metering using Coriolis flowmeters
On the Tours site, the installation of a weight-based metering system required complex and costly civil engineering work. In addition, the use of scales necessitated long and expensive cleaning procedures. For these reasons, a metering solution using a Coriolis flowmeter was seriously considered. However, the issue of accuracy needed confirmation: the metering solution using a Coriolis meter proposed by Endress+Hauser met the requirements however, there were doubts about the level of accuracy.
Tests validated the calculation of uncertainty
Endress+Hauser tested the necessary uncertainty calculations to guarantee the accuracy required by the customer. In real terms, accuracy depends on the stability of the flow and the pressure upstream of the metering system. In the proposed solution, each metering line is equipped with a pressure controller so the user can see whether the metering conditions are optimal. The actual accuracy of 0,14% was verified at the performance qualification stage.
Following two years of operating experience, the results in terms of accuracy have met the company’s expectations. The new alcohol distribution network connected to the metering system using Coriolis flowmeters has given a real increase in productivity and the simplicity of the solution has been confirmed.
Quality assurance of metering operations
Good manufacturing practice requires all the components in a finished product to be traceable. This important batch data is guaranteed and batch tickets are printed automatically:
• Report and saving: after metering, the batch result is automatically saved in the memory and printed on a ticket. This result contains the batch parameters that correspond to the chosen recipe.
• Automatic printing: after each metering operation, a ticket is printed automatically by the printer connected to the panel. A batch ticket can be reprinted if it is saved in the memory. A single ticket can be reprinted at the same time.
• Security: the development software can be used to manage user’s specific to the application. User authorisation allows access to pages and functions by users or user groups to be managed. The start page is accessible to everyone. To access the other pages, users must log in with the appropriate rights. The default user is a ‘guest’ user who can only browse within views.
After each metering operation, the batch ticket is automatically printed and contains essential information such as the name of the operator, the metered quantity, the batch number and the date/time. This data is also saved to guarantee perfect traceability in accordance with good manufacturing practice. Access to the various views can be managed by access profile. The ‘audit trail’ function integrated in the display software gives access to data critical to the process in order to allow any non-conformity to be investigated. The user can thus view system operating curves in order to carry out preventive maintenance.
A turnkey solution
Endress+Hauser’s comprehensive package enabled targeted performance to be achieved and maintained over time in line with good manufacturing practices:
• Engineering service with development of the metering system PLC integration software.
• Provision of the complete metering system: Coriolis flowmeter, pressure sensor, valve, command control system, human/machine interface and printer.
• Provision of complete documentation (URS, FS, DS, HDS, SDS, protocols and IQ/OQ report).
• Implementation of IQ/OQ qualification (and commitment concerning accuracy during QP).
• Annual maintenance and calibration of pressure sensors and flowmeters. The interval has been estimated based on the process conditions.
• Project management.
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