In the Spotlight March 2009

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-03-02-2009, Volume 33, Issue 3

Editors' Picks of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Innovations

Wireless technology and software solutions support pharmaceutical operations by providing data rapidly to manufacturers and analytical scientists. By fostering process understanding and offering fine control, this month's information technology (IT) products help companies optimize their manufacturing and testing procedures. Emerson's wireless temperature transmitter conveys data to improve the visibility of plant operations. An updated laboratory information management system from Thermo Fisher Scientific ensures that instruments are calibrated and testing complies with regulations. Honeywell's distributed control system enables close supervision and quick adjustment of small-scale batch manufacturing projects.

Software ensures compliant testing

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Philadelphia) introduced version 3.0 of its "Darwin" laboratory information management system (LIMS). The new software includes several enhancements such as a calibration feature that schedules servicing dates for various instruments. Users can establish a grace period for calibration, and the software sends notifications by email or through its internal alerting system to prevent users from running tests on uncalibrated instruments.

Darwin system Thermo Fisher Scientific

Another new feature confirms that employees have been trained in various test methods. Managers can set up notifications for employees to be retrained if methods are revised. In addition, the new version of the LIMS reduces raw-material testing needs by monitoring when users can perform skip-lot testing.

Darwin LIMS now includes a fully validated web interface that provides analysts and laboratory managers with control and access to data. The software was designed for pharmaceutical quality-assurance operations and requires no customization.

Wireless transmitter increases visibility

Emerson Process Management's (St. Louis, MO) "Rosemount 848T Wireless" temperature transmitter is designed for high-density temperature measurement. The unit has conduit entries to accept four measurements from different types of thermocouples. This design reduces installation time, simplifies maintenance, and increases measurements to improve the visibility of plant operations.

Rosemount 848T Wireless transmitter Emerson Process Management

Because the transmitter uses "WirelessHART" technology, it does not need a direct line of sight to a particular access point. The device can relay information to the system through other devices in the network, thus providing path redundancy. The transmitter helps efficiently maintain skid-mounted pharmaceutical processes that are physically moved within a facility.

The product's electronic device description provides configuration information graphically, and its power module can be replaced easily in the field. As an extension of Emerson's "PlantWeb" digital architecture, the transmitter enables monitoring, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance.

System boosts process repeatability

Honeywell's (Morristown, NJ) Process Solutions business has introduced the "Experion LS" distributed control system for pharmaceutical process-manufacturing applications. The system is designed for 3–5 operators to perform pilot-scale and small manufacturing projects. The software is easy to implement for these applications because it does not contain unnecessary large-system infrastructure.

Experion LS software Honeywell Process Solutions

The controller does not require programming skills; it allows users to configure batch sequences through a drag-and-drop process. Users can set up the system according to the parameters of the manufacturing process. Processes and recipes can be changed easily, thus the system allows manufacturers to respond quickly to market changes. The Experion LS software ensures that only qualified people perform changes.