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MSD (Rathdrum), P5 SCADA Upgrade





Project title: P5 SCADA Upgrade
Description: SCADA upgrade from PCS-OSx to PCS7 with SIMATIC Batch
Client: MSD (Rathdrum), Co Wicklow
Technology: Siemens S7; PCS7 V7; Simatic Batch V7
Timeline: Jan 2010 – Feb 2011
Contact: Eamonn Nally / / +353 (0)1 885 3400

This was a major project for the site and the first after its merger with Merck and therefore important for continued investment that it went well. The project was to adapt the existing facility to manufacture a new product. The project had a very aggressive timescale due to market pressures. If the date was not met then the product would not be manufactured on the site.


  • Plant modifications to accommodate the manufacture of new product range.
  • Legacy system identified as requiring remediation to be compliant with current corporate standards.
  • System was obsolete and difficult / expensive to maintain (spares, know-how).
  • Operational process was too manual and required additional automation.
  • System operation was cumbersome and inflexible by current standards.
  • System was not in line with MSD guidelines for FDA 21CFR Part11 compliance.

Key Challenges & Solutions

  • Commissioning Window
    The key constraint on the project was the narrow window in production for commissioning. This presented a significant challenge to commissioning and revalidation the new SCADA system in the time allowed. CIM in cooperation with Siemens engineered an upgrade path from the existing PCS OSx to PCS7. The TI555 PLC control layer was maintained while a new PCS7 SCADA / Batch layer was imposed over the top. This was a departure from the current site standard (InTouch) but the unique approach allowed the project reuse much of the validated control and significantly reduced the validation effort required. This was key to meeting this critical project requirement.
  • Incompatibility
    While it was possible to connect PCS7 to the TI555 PLC’s, Simatic Batch cannot communicate directly with a TI 555 PLC, therefore a S7 400 PLC was used as a bridge. The signals are sent / received to / from the S7400 PLC via the system bus and in turn to the TI 555 PLC via configured ISO Ethernet connections.


  • 2 OS servers setup as a redundant server pair
  • 2 Batch servers setup as a redundant server pair
  • 9 Clients
  • 1 Engineering Station
  • 2 Siemens S7 400 PLCs
  • Integrate 14 existing TI555 PLCs
  • System Network upgrade


  • All project requirements and technical challenges were addressed.
  • Project delivered to budget and on schedule.
  • Use of redundant IO Servers and redundant batch servers ensures integrity of data.
  • System no longer cumbersome and inflexible.
  • The upgrade now facilitates FDA 21CFR Part 11.
  • All Data automatically backed–up on a daily basis to a site central server.
  • The Simatic Batch software now automates the execution of production sequences and allows for fast changeovers from product to product, resulting in an overall increase in production output.
  • The Simatic Batch software enforces recipe procedures and verifies that operators execute activities in the required sequence, ensuring consistent product quality from batch to batch.
  • When a new recipe must be produced, only the recipe needs to be validated, not the control system.
  • Recipes can be developed by production personnel (not engineering).
  • Additional Equipment units such as Dryers can be easily integrated into overall system using standard PCS7 / SIMATIC Batch toolsets.
  • New system has clear support strategy and upgrade path.

n A photographic library of in-situ automation systems and hardware which reduces the need to enter the production environment, saving time and cost (gowning process).