For many manufacturers in the chemical, life sciences, and pharmaceutical spaces, the future is fraught with both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, an increasingly stringent regulatory environment has made production more cost-prohibitive for these companies in the past several years. At the same time, projected increases in global per capita drug spending have ensured continuing strong demand for the industries’ products.
Luckily, digital transformation has provided a multitude of tools capable of cutting costs while also increasing production capacity. While traceability has helped to meet quality and regulatory requirements more easily, the ability to deploy modular assets more flexibly has allowed manufacturers to keep up with ballooning demand by increasing speed-to-market.
Recent activity by Emerson serves to illustrate this trend. The company announced that it will begin integrating Module Type Package (MTP) protocol automation standards into its DeltaV and PACSystems control systems to help manufacturers lower project and operation costs while also reducing changeover times for varied product runs.
Developed by the User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR), MTP provides a vendor-neutral interface specification that can be used to define many common interface categories encountered when integrating complex process control equipment into a plant. The protocol provides standardized definitions of all information assets required to communicate to higher-level systems, increasing interoperability and allowing individual process modules to be added and removed without excessive reconfiguration.
Typically, the time it takes to changeover production assets for a new product run is a major challenge for process industries. However, by using a common, open standard such as MTP, complex integration work that previously took days or months can be replaced with plug-and-play procedures. According to Emerson, by eliminating the need for end-users or system integrators to invest in additional engineering or special integration tools, MTP could save weeks in project time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering costs.
“MTP is a significant step to help the manufacturing industries respond faster to changing markets. With our MTP implementation, Emerson is continuing a tradition of not only supporting but innovating on industry standards,” said Sean Sims, vice president of marketing for the DeltaV platform at Emerson. “Integration between our DeltaV and PACSystems automation systems, as well as third-party automation systems, will help create more modular, flexible manufacturing that improves speed to market for our customers.”
Further Reading about Plug-and-Play Products