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PCS Global Implements 5-phase Control System Upgrade at Kiara Health

Kiara Health (Pty) Ltd is an African pharmaceutical manufacturing and healthcare solutions company, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. It serves as the local, non-exclusive manufacturing partner for a Global Top 5 pharmaceutical company and as a commercial partner for several global pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.

Due to the limitations of its existing legacy monitoring and control infrastructure as a result of the incorporation of the Kiara Health business into the acquired manufacturing arm, PCS Global was contacted to review the current situation and recommend an upgrade strategy. Specifically, the following problem areas were identified:

• Multiple independent monitoring systems coupled with equipment that could no longer sustain the needs of a rapidly expanding organisation: the multiple vendor applications being utilised for the environmental monitoring and building management systems provided only limited visibility and notification capability. The site also had number of HVAC systems approaching end-of-life, with less efficient older motors running at full capacity leading to increased energy use.

• Compliance: legacy applications were only compatible with operating systems with completed life cycles, which made it difficult to comply with the mandatory GAMP and CFR21 Part 11 requirements.

• Communication architecture required an upgrade: increased demand placed on existing communication architecture created a risk of IT communication instability.

• Limited expansion capability with legacy equipment: the current EMS monitoring system had reached capacity, risking key operational equipment not being monitored, as well as limiting continuous improvement projects since data was not readily available.


PCS Global recommended an upgrade strategy that focussed on three major areas:

• Replacing field hardware that could no longer sustain the rapid developing business of the future.

• Install a reliable control system to provide an integrated field architecture.

• Provide a supervisory control and data acquisition with more than just scada capability.

All proposed new equipment (hardware and software) had to meet the stringent acceptance criteria set out by Kiara Health, with emphasis on ‘keeping an eye on the future’.

The team decided on the following to address the requirements for efficiency, reliability and control:

• Efficiency: new WEG motors and VSDs would replace the aging equipment. Fitted with Profinet modules, the new equipment would transmit power data to the control system.

• Reliability: PCS Global, a Siemens Solutions Partner, would supply a control system based on the S7-1500 range of PLC’s. Field I/O would be wired through a combination of ET200MP/PN and ET200 ECO/PN units, with intelligent field devices connected over a Profinet fieldbus network.

• Scada: for the scada system, the AVEVA Software Portfolio was investigated. Since PCS Global is a certified developer of the products, it could quickly address the immediate need for IT compliance.

Phased implementation

The Kiara Health engineering team showed great enthusiasm for the deployment of this project. Phases 1 and 2 were implemented by PCS Global during a December shutdown, which laid the backbone to support the subsequent extensions achieved during phases 3, 4 and 5.

Phase 1 – installation of AVEVA System Platform.

Phase 2 –exchanging older drives and motors for more energy efficient WEG VSD/motor combinations.

Phase 3 – visualisation of production data on AVEVA OMI.

Phase 4 – visualisation of building management data on AVEVA OMI.

Phase 5 – implementation of the AVEVA Flex Model software architecture capabilities within a cloud environment.

“The PCS Global team comprised of Kyle Pillay, Sarel Janse Van Rensburg and Jived Ramduth, worked tirelessly through COVID-19 lockdown to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud-hosted system,” says PCS Global technical director, Zunaid Khan.

Spearheaded by Kyle Pillay, the team had to perform qualification of the new system with minimal or no downtime. A challenge that was easily met thanks to excellent support from the in-house design and installation team at the PCS Global. “We take immense pride in our ability to deliver on our clients expectations,” adds Khan.

Benefits achieved

• Centralised monitoring system: room, building and production and notification systems all integrated into one centralized AVEVA Operational Management Interface.

• CFR Part 11 GAMP Compliance: strict installation and operational qualifications, passed by the head of Quality Assurance, ensure a compliant system.

• Software lifespan: implementation of the latest AVEVA Flex Model ensures that Kiara Health’s software is always up to date, supported and expandable for the foreseeable future.

• Hardware lifespan: installation of the latest Siemens S7-1500 CPU’s allows a 10-15 Year CPU lifecycle.

• Reduction in data loss: AVEVA System Platforms installation in a cloud environment allows for better disaster recovery capabilities and reduces system downtime previously required during hardware maintenance. Applying AVEVA’s Historian store-forward capabilities in strategic locations has reduced the risk of data loss.

• Expansion: the AVEVA Flex Model has provided unlimited application server and historical tags allowing for mass expansion.

• Data availability: the AVEVA Flex Model allows an unlimited number of supervisory clients. Used with Intouch Access Anywhere and AVEVA Insight, this allows site personnel to evaluate data on any device at any time.

• Drive/motor efficiency: replacement of existing HVAC drives and motors with the energy efficient WEG combinations created operational cost savings in excess of R100 000 per month.

“Digitalisation is a passion at PCS Global, we have the know-how and the technology to enable your strategy,” concludes Khan.

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