project

“Virtual smoke test”: Dynamic CFD simulation for a modular vaccine production building

Digital field services Life Sciences France

Context and challenges

This client is a world leading group in the pharmaceutical industry, specialising in the production of vaccines.

This industrialist’s major challenge is to guarantee the sterility of the products manufactured. To achieve this, production environments and equipment must be extremely clean and even sterile. To achieve this objective, it is necessary to set up a very sophisticated ventilation / suction / air filtering system.

As part of the design of a new modular production building, several engineering options were under consideration. Static CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations did not make it possible to realise the real risks, because several moving elements (operators and AGVs - Automated Guided Vehicles) had a strong impact on the general aeraulic scheme and could lead to environmental contamination.

This client commissioned Assystem to carry out risk studies using its "Virtual Smoke Test" solution to visualise, measure and study each of the options in a dynamic environment in real time in order to choose the best option and thus be "right the first time".

Project scope

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, produced via the "Virtual Smoke Test" Solution, make it possible to immerse oneself directly inside the virtual environment and examine in real time the aeraulic irregularities, including during the gestures of an operator under laminar flow.

  • Acquisition and modelling of 3D CAD (computer-aided design) files concerning the part and production equipment
  • Gathering of all HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) related information (such as location of devices, speeds, sizes, etc.)
  • Reconstruction involving the area dedicated to production as well as the overall HVAC system via Assystem's Virtual Smoke Tests Solution
  • Conducting around thirty virtual fumigation studies: different points of the room, with operators and an AGV in motion, product releases, etc.
  • Development of additional tests on situations involving identified risks: modification of smoke speeds and volume, HVAC, movement of objects, etc.
  • Support for improvement and quality reflection
  • Provision of the test videos made to keep a history of the studies and hypotheses tested

Client benefits

  • Significant time savings on smoke tests thanks to the immediate production of results without the risk that an item may have been overlooked by the HVAC experts, allowing a large number of simulations and tests to be carried out within a tight timeframe
  • Good anticipation of risks, enabling us to be "right from the start", thanks to simulations and tests carried out very early on the real machine
  • Reliability of this new design engineering decision support methodology, thanks to the numerous studies and assumptions tested
  • Reduced risks about smoke testing (and in this way, overall quality improvement) thanks to the ability to analyse in real time the impact of the air flow on different gestures to keep the least risky one
  • Improvement of the operational performance of equipment through the implementation of a "Quality by Design" approach

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