For more than a decade there have been many changes in how drugs are manufactured. But we are currently witnessing a pharmaceutical industry that is undergoing a paradigm shift in its manufacturing practices with an increased interest and focus on mobile single use technology coupled with a drive towards flexible manufacturing.
In parallel, we are hearing how the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 are becoming increasingly important to the continued success and competitiveness of global manufacturing. But how will Industry 4.0 impact the pharmaceutical sector and specifically how drugs are manufactured?
The “Facility of the Future” concept first caught my attention about three years ago and since then we have been working internally and with customers developing automation solutions to help address the challenges found in such a facility.
Let us discuss how advances such as single-use technology are affecting the primary biopharmaceutical manufacturing process and how automation is evolving to help support the facility of the future.
With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0-capable systems providing the momentum, I am seeing companies demanding more agile and flexible manufacturing practices in order to meet an industry drive towards more personalized medicines.
At the same time, manufacturers are demanding more competitive solutions that meet regulatory and security challenges.
These considerations, coupled with a growing trend of locating smaller more agile facilities closer to customer markets, are pushing manufactures towards facilities that make extensive use of mobile, single-use equipment that can be easily reconfigured to support the manufacture of multiple products.
Additionally, manufacturers are looking for repeatable and scalable solutions that can be developed in one location and then deployed in other locations, minimising capex and reducing time to market. This is what is known as a Facility of the Future.