RB Project: Pilot Plant Network

RB Project: Pilot Plant Network

RB specialises in pharmaceutical manufacture, manufacturing well-known brands such as Lemsip, Gaviscon and Durex. RB is continually developing new products.  When a product is developed, a manufacturing solution is required. This is initially done on a small scale “pilot plant”, which allows the optimisation of the manufacturing process before it is scaled up.

RB have recently developed a new variant of an indigestion remedy, resulting in the need to construct a new pilot plant. They need to develop an automated solution to manufacture the product. The Research and Development Director (R & D) is exploring the use of an automated control system and  robots in the process.

The automated processes being considered include: batch manufacture; continuous extrusion of product; moving product along a conveyer belt; sealing and labelling bottles. Key process parameters include: the speed at which items are filled; the temperature of the manufacturing environment; the bottle containing the correct quantity of remedy (determined by volume).

RDUTC students have been recruited to the RB Project Team.  The R & D Director requires them to produce a report advising the Project Team on:

  • How control theory can be applied to solving relevant parts of the problem – including open and closed loop control;
  • How a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) could be used;
  • How sensors and actuators could be used;
  • How networking, human machine interface (HMI) and expert systems could be used;
  • Strategies they could use to maintain the automated control system;
  • Techniques that can be used to ensure that the key process parameters are consistently met.

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