Intellution, Inc., a Norwood, MA-based supplier of industrial automation solutions, announced that SmithKline Beecham, a leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and consumer health products, reports strategic business benefits using Intellution Dynamics automation software. Intellution's solution is enabling the company to increase productivity and consistent product quality at SmithKline Beecham's European manufacturing center of excellence for oral health products.
"The Intellution Dynamics solution enables our Maidenhead, U.K. plant to achieve greater product consistency, flexibility, and scalability from pilot batches to full production," said Peter Martin, the facility's electrical systems manager. "As a result of installing Intellution Dynamics, we're able to greatly reduce time to full production. In addition, the Maidenhead plant has increased its new production capacity by approximately 250 percent. With a considerably faster time-to-market, we've gained a significant advantage over our competitors."
Before automating its Maidenhead plant, SmithKline Beecham needed many months to develop and release a new product to market, because necessary plant data was not available in real-time for validation procedures. SmithKline Beecham also faced challenges in consistent product quality across multiple plants, supply chain distribution, and raw material inventories.
To solve these challenges, SmithKline Beecham evaluated three automation software packages and selected Intellution Dynamics because it is a standards-based system that gives them the flexibility to grow their system into a global, enterprise-wide solution. By automating its batch and process visualization operations with Intellution Dynamics iBatch and FIX software components, SmithKline Beecham is now able to generate and distribute the real-time information necessary to make accurate and timely production process decisions across their entire organization and supply chain.
"Experiencing successful implementations with customers like SmithKline Beecham, and witnessing the increased level of performance and business results, is what drives Intellution to provide products, services and support for enterprise-wide integration," said Steve Rubin, president and CEO at Intellution. "We congratulate SmithKline Beecham in its outstanding production performance and are proud to partner with a leading innovative manufacturer."
Implementation of Intellution Dynamics is part of SmithKline Beecham's "Project Rainbow," a multi-million pound project in Maidenhead, U.K. to consolidate European production of toothpaste and mouthwash at the Maidenhead plant, which previously produced a wide variety of consumer products. Project Rainbow encompasses major renovations to Maidenhead buildings; the addition of new plant equipment, including state-of-the-art batch production facilities and a pilot plant; and the installing of Intellution SCADA and batch control systems.
"The new system with Intellution Dynamics will increase output of all oral care product as much as 70% over traditional methods, while delivering improved product quality and reduced production costs," continued Martin. "By using Intellution Dynamics iBatch, SmithKline Beecham not only realized increased business benefits, but also discovered a way to maximize the use of machinery, saving time in equipment usage by 15 to 20%."
Striving to have the most efficient toothpaste manufacturing facility in the world, SmithKline Beecham expects to realize further benefits next year by integrating its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system with its Intellution plant floor systems. SmithKline Beecham anticipates this integration will further reduce time-to-market, and generate benefits from the supply chain management of its raw materials. With the seamless off-the-shelf integration of Intellution and ERP applications, SmithKline Beecham will be able to track raw materials in real-time -- a significant improvement compared with today's one-week process of tracking materials.
"Once the enterprise is fully-integrated, SmithKline Beecham expects to track materials in real-time for plant floor production and reduce packaging inventories, reducing costs of raw materials by acting more as a just-in-time inventory operation. The end result for SmithKline Beecham is a single centralized global manufacturing plant that can adjust to multiple regulations, unique consumer needs and changing market demands," added Martin.
SmithKline Beecham manufactures four brands of toothpaste at the Maidenhead plant (Aquafresh, Macleans, Binaca and Odel Med), requiring many separate recipes. Prior to implementing Intellution's systems, all of these processes were controlled manually.
"For each of the mixers we had an operator who would manually adjust the ingredients control, operating valves and weighing system when the ingredients were added," said Martin. "In addition to being labor intensive, consistency issues arose around raw materials, the length of mixing times and conditions of the actual mixer. Now, with Intellution's solutions, these decisions are based on real-time process information rather than the perceptions of a single operator."
Intellution Dynamics, running on a PC-based network using Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, controls all of the newly automated systems. FIX is used for supervisory control and acquisition of process data, while iBatch is used to configure and manage the entire batch operation.
Intellution Dynamics iBatch gives SmithKline Beecham the ability to generate accurate historical data about the batching operations enabling them to reduce time-to-market for new and reformulated products.
The Maidenhead plant implemented iBatch in its new "global pilot plant" for product research and development. Now, the plant has reached a new level of scalability by producing small batches of new products without having to tie up manufacturing resources for extended periods of time. iBatch allows SmithKline Beecham to scale a recipe up from pilot to production almost immediately.
"With iBatch we're able to run recipes in full production within a couple of hours by just changing a few parameters in the pilot recipe and then moving it over to the manufacturing plant. This flexibility helps makes us extremely competitive compared to the weeks of implementation time previously required," said Martin.