One of our goals in the Corporate Facilities Services group at Genentech is to attain world-class operation. We particularly focus on continuous improvement of facilities and maintenance systems to reduce operating costs. Driving down these costs enables the company to allocate more funds for developing the product pipeline and achieving its mission of meeting unmet medical needs.
Figure 1. Steam Trap Monitoring:
Wireless data indicated serious
problems with a quarter of the traps.
Figure 2. Crucial Freezer:
Amperage data provided by
monitor enabled detection of
We identified a non-invasive monitoring solution from Cypress Envirosystems (www.CypressEnvirosystems.com), San Jose, Calif., that promised a cost-effective alternative. It uses devices clamped onto existing instrumentation to collect and wirelessly transmit data to a server for trending and alarming. This method eliminates the need for process interruption for installation, minimizes engineering oversight and offers other benefits (Table 1). However, it’s new technology and, thus, posed concerns about data integrity, wireless security and data integration into our existing infrastructure. To demonstrate proof of concept as well as to quantify potential savings, we partnered with Cypress Envirosystems to pilot the technology on some steam traps and freezers. Impressive ResultsWe began installing units in September 2008, putting them in service in our normal operating environment. Wireless Steam Trap Monitors (WSTM) were placed on 56 traps (Figure 1) at a cost of $42,000. The WSTM were intended to provide early indication of steam leakage or blockage, which leads to failure. Data were collected on a “blue box” server for trending analysis.
Table 1: How Monitoring Options Compare
Necessary wiring required
No Process Interruption
Power source needed
Changes exisiting system
No changes to exisiting system
May require new software
Interface available for