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Sterling Chemicals
04 September 2015
The Client: Sterling Chemical Malta
 
Sterling Chemicals develop, optimise and manufacture steroidal APIs. In 2009 Sterling Italia decided to establish an R&D and production site in Malta as part of their expansion plans. The Malta plant started operating in 2013.
The Malta plant produces active pharmaceutical ingredients. They are also responsible for the drying, filtration and packaging of the finished product. Due to the nature of this industry, the company needed to set up three ‘Clean rooms’ in order to guarantee the stringent safety and hygiene levels necessary to operate such a plant.
 
Sterling required a system that would monitor and control every plant component, provide operational interlocks, report any faults. The application also had to provide the production operators with a user friendly graphical user interface (GUI) for ease of operation. The company also required a system that would be scalable and allow for future expansion as well as possible integration with other systems.
ESI were engaged on recommendation of the lead contractors appointed for the construction of the new plant.
 
The Solution:
For this pharmaceutical plant, Sterling asked ESI to design and install a system for controlling and monitoring the clean production environment as per the client’s stringent requirements. The system needed to monitor and control the plant equipment, namely air cooled chillers, water circulation pumps, air handling units and variable air volume devices. This is needed to be sure the rooms are air locked when needed, such as when manipulating the materials.
The controlled rooms also needed to be equipped with a number of sensors, switches and transmitters, to be able to constantly monitor the environment. ESI were faced with the challenge of locating these monitors within an ATEX classified area, once again necessary due to the nature of the work.
 
The system installed also monitors and controls access to the clean rooms, from all the ‘anti-rooms’. This allows workers to open doors only when the controlled environment conditions are adequate, as predetermined and set by the system user and company requirements. Visual indicators, in the form of red and green lights, were also installed to indicate the environment stability.
 
Benefits:
The plant’s blue print and the predefined user requirements were a replica of the Sterling plant in Italy. ESI were able to replicate this tried and tested system in its entirety.
The system provided the company with a reliable, business critical solution that is also future proof and would allow the company to grow or flex the system as the business grows or as certain requirements may change slightly over time.
 
“ESI was a good choice and we are happy with the results and the service given.” said Roberto Volpi Process Engineer at Sterling. He went on to add that the company were impressed by ESI and how they were always on time with what was promised or required. “Our specifications were always met to the highest standards” said Mr. Volpi who also commented how ESI had “documented everything extremely well” especially in such a case in which the documentation is critical, and that he is very happy to still be working with ESI on a number of other projects that Sterling Chemical Malta are undertaking.
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