The challenge was to renew and modernize the batch plant control system and electronic components with minimal interrupt to the production lines. The solution was found in skillful engineering and extensive experience, mixed up with Nordic know-how, and it was divided into three steps. Read more how we helped Corning Pharmaceutical Glass batch plant in Italy to find the way through complex renewing project.
Corning Incorporated is an American multinational technology company that specializes in specialty glass, ceramics, and related materials and technologies including advanced optics, primarily for industrial and scientific applications. The company originates from 1885 and have since became a global business of almost 62000 employees and the revenue of 14.08 billion USD (2021).
Corning Pharmaceutical Glass is a subsidiary of Corning incorporated. It creates and supplies high-quality pharmaceutical glass tubing and vials to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical packaging industry.
Corning Pharmaceutical Glass plant in Europe is located in Pisa, Italy. The plant itself has decades of history in producing glass for pharmaceutical industry’s needs and it has been owned by Corning since 2015. The plant consists of three furnaces. One of the furnaces is for production of the amber glass and two of them are for clear glass.
Contacting Lahti was an easy decision
The electronic systems of the old plant were in the need of revamping or replacing because their ageing was causing outages of the production and the growing unreliability of the plant was increasing the business risks. When upgrading the plants control system, it is not always easy to come out with modernized solution. Companies find very often safety in old systems, and the new system will therefore be very similar to the old. It brings reliability but won’t develop the plant operations any further. Plant Engineering Manager Stefano Caponi has worked for Corning since 2017 and has the experience from glass industry for over 40 years. He stood by the solutions Lahti Glass Technology were offering, even though it wasn't identical with the previous system. He knew experts of Lahti from his previous works, so he found the needed reliability in their experience, and trusted that they work sincerely to find the best solutions for the plant.
“I’ve known the people from Lahti Glass Technology for a very long time, and I also know that they are good, very professional, and serious partner company. I thought their competence and experience would be a perfect match to see the complete project with all possibilities and possible issues and to bring our batch plant to a new era”, Caponi says.
Caponi have had many opportunities to work in the same projects with Lahti Glass Technology during his career, so he knew about their dedication and how they approach the projects. So eventually it was an easy decision to contact Lahti for this project, and finally, to choose them as a partner.
Batch plant renewing project was divided in three phases to keep up the production
Because the furnaces of the plant were continuously operating, the solution was to split the control system in two PLC’s. One PLC for the amber glass furnace and one PLC for the two clear glass furnaces. The whole renewing project was divided into three main steps. So once the control system and the electronic parts of one furnace were replaced, the others were in operation, and the renewing project could go through with minimum harm caused to the production. Dividing also helped the client to operate within the budget.
“The project went very smoothly because it was well prepared and engineered. there were a strong co-operation and understanding between our engineers and Lahti Glass Technology’s engineers, and Lahti really put themselves into our service. We established engineering review meeting every week, to keep up the to do -list and timing of the project. It was perfect way to lead the project into the right direction and it helped to grow our understanding of each other”, Caponi tells.
Considering the complexity of the project and the tight schedule for each of the three phases, it was a great success that there were basically no delays or other issues during the project. This is the added value that Value Engineering of Lahti Glass Technology’s Solution Clinic brings to the client companies: carefree full-service implementation.
“When we shut down the furnace, everything was ready to be replaced. Lahti Glass Technology’s great ability of planning and engineering the project won us time and reduced the complexity of the project”, Caponi adds.
From one project towards partnership
Gloria Masini works for Corning Pharmaceutical Glass as Batch House Supervisor. One of her most important roles in the renewing project was to keep up the understanding between their own engineers and Lahti Glass Technology engineers. She collected the needs from the field and reported them to Lahti Glass Technology, and vice versa. Masini thinks the project was a great success for both parties.
“Now our control system is reliable, up to date, with all the best components and spare parts available when needed and the project really went on without any issues, so I’m happy. It was really challenging at times. Especially in the last part of the project Lahti Glass Technology needed to think project strictly on daily basis, moving from system to another with ongoing production”, says Masini.
In a batch plant system renewing project, there are extensive number of possible issues and consequences, that must be taken into consideration in the engineering phase before they become problems. According to Masini, Lahti Glass Technology’s high level of competency and experience were in place to make the project such a success. Lahti also offered know-how that isn’t found in most supplier’s repertory. For example, the plants electrical drawings and documents were basically nonexistent, so Lahti’s electrical engineering and field device research played crucial part in the project.
“They listen very intensively and are very flexible in identifying the solutions that can really meet the batch plants business. For example, when identifying what parts of the plant should be replaced and what should be revamped Lahti Glass Technology really put themselves into the place of the client. That’s not very common to this extent, even though it should be the basics for every business”, Masini tells.
The project was Masini’s first project with Lahti Glass Technology, and she has only good experiences of their co-operation during the project. Masini is content that the partnership of the two companies is continuing with assistance for the new system and the next part of the Pisa batch house renewing project.
“Now that the control system is replaced with new and the electronic part of the plant is renewed, we have been working with Lahti Glass Technology to find a best solution to replace, revamp and to improve the mechanical parts of the batch house. We are now growing our understanding together of what would be the best solution using as much as possible what we already have and replace just a minimum, to keep on with the budget. As it was done with the previous project”, Masini says.
You can find an article about this partnership also in Glass International’s issue of December 2022/January 2023 (on the page 25).