Smart Technologies Driving Agile Manufacturing in Pharmaceuticals

Future-oriented manufacturing is about flexible and responsive operations that can promptly address market demands based on data and new insights. With highly regulated manufacturing processes, can pharmaceutical manufacturers embrace agile manufacturing strategies to improve their competitiveness? The short answer is yes – provided they use the right automation solutions.

David Bean, Solutions Group Manager at Mitsubishi Electric, considers the digital transformation of pharmaceutical operations as key to dynamic, agile manufacturing.

Companies in a multitude of sectors are rethinking their approach to manufacturing and adopting strategies driven by ‘smart’ technologies. For example, factories upgraded with innovative, data-driven technologies that communicate with each other to optimise operations. In effect, industrial automation represents a change in thinking, where processes and operating conditions are no longer set in stone.

Instead, businesses can leverage real-time data and automated systems to determine process adjustments to overcome variability and maximise product quality. By intelligently automating their production lines, manufacturers are creating an essential tool that can help them thrive in a competitive marketplace and overcome a wide range of challenges. These include fluctuations in raw materials and their properties, changing market needs and bespoke customer or public health requests.

This new era of manufacturing is also offering significant benefits to pharmaceutical companies, which are traditionally bound by strict and highly regulated process requirements. As such, automation is a key asset for businesses in this sector. Importantly, data-driven solutions can help manufacturers ensure optimal batch efficiency through improved accuracy of control and immediate response to changes in operating conditions of the process to maximise quality of product. In addition, these technologies can support real-time release testing (RTRT) to speed up the time to market for key medicines.

Deploying industrial automation is extremely versatile in various settings within a pharmaceutical enterprise. These can range from R&D to manufacturing, testing, packaging, and equipment maintenance.

New treatments from agile manufacturing

Automated solutions are also necessary for pharmaceutical companies wanting to reach the pinnacle of agile manufacturing, delivering personalised medicine. Also known as precision medicine, these treatments address the needs and genetic makeup of individual patients. Achieving these uses ‘data-hungry’ systems that feed on information to enable the production of customised medicines.

As technology evolves, companies can access more tools to develop innovative strategies to optimise healthcare and wellbeing. By determining the best approach to automating processes and incorporating modern components in production lines, pharmaceutical manufacturers can become more agile. Moreover, this will maximise flexibility, scalability and responsiveness, improving competitiveness.

To learn more about how industrial automation can help pharmaceutical manufacturers create agile production facilities, download Mitsubishi Electric’s latest whitepaper ‘Advancing pharmaceutical manufacturing now – Key automation technologies, applications and real-world benefits’:



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