With one-lined manufacturing plants, which are common in bioprocess industries, availibility in case of unit faults often is a crucial problem. If only one of a plant´s module fails, at least the neighboured processing units will stand still, if not the whole production line. Applying simulation technology makes such risks calculable and helps to design fault-minimized plants.

In autumn 2009, INOSIM software simulated the production of a natural substance for Wacker Chemie AG in Burghausen, Germany. The overall availability of a planned bioprocessing plant should be determined. Besides, the maximum of possible faults at the same time should be calculated. The plant´s performance reduction due to regular cleaning should be investigated by the simulation as well.

Flow sheets of the plant´s fermentation and downstreaming served as modeling basis, as well as process descriptions for the manufacturing, a batch plan and quantity and time data for the fermentation array. These default values were recorded in detail and implemented in the simulation model. The cleaning process parameters were identified systematically and regarded within the model.

On this basis, five test series were performed, reaching from a fault-free scenario over optimistic and realistic availability assumptions up to the inspection of specific units (with the aim to detect their influence on the overall availability).

Evaluation of single simulation runs produced parameters which enlightened the influence of single machines and process steps on the plant´s performance as a whole. More targeting simulation showed that only one group of units had a potentially crucial influence. This lead to a risk-adapted plant design. Another result of the simulation was an optimized cleaning cycle. In the end, valuable reference data about the plant´s expected productivity per year and a concept for minimizing unit faults were at our customer´s disposal.

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