Pharmaceutical Manufacturing in the New Normal
In this blog, we take a look at some of the technology-enabled solutions that help pharmaceutical companies operate in the new, post-pandemic normal
The pharmaceutical industry has played a key role in helping the nation get through the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry has not only continued to manufacture and supply vital medications and drugs throughout the lockdown, but it is also on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic. Laboratories across the country are playing a pivotal role in treatment and vaccine development, as well as diagnostics, via the hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests being carried out every day across the UK.
The pharmaceutical industry was quick to adapt to the challenges of operating in a pandemic, and this has ensured the steady and continual supply of essential drugs. As more and more labs begin to open up, there are a number of technology-enabled solutions that can help pharmaceutical companies operate efficiently and meet increased demand given the added social distancing and hygiene regulations.
1. Smart sanitising solutions
Developing and implementing an effective sanitising system is vital to enable pharmaceutical manufacturing premises to continue to operate and supply essential drugs whilst ensuring the safety of all workers. Smart sanitising solutions provide an easy way to ensure that a company’s sanitising policies are properly carried out.
NowSignage has developed an advanced LCD Hand Sanitiser Station that ensures hand sanitiser dispensers are never empty. The ‘Dispenser Management’ app monitors sanitiser usage and sends automatic notifications to your account to notify you when your dispenser is running low or requires a refill of sanitiser.
2. Hygienic hardware
Hygiene control is not only important for employees, but also for Panel PCs and touchscreens being used across the manufacturing area. Although person to person is the primary way that the virus is spreading, it’s possible that a person can contract the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In order for hardware to remain safe and sterile, it must be able to withstand increased sterilisation and the use of cleaning chemicals that are effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Distec offers a range of products from our partners that are built to perform in these challenging environments.
Wincomm’s Smart Hygiene Control Solutions feature stainless steel housing that is resistant to bacterial growth, capable of withstanding daily high pressure wash-downs and fully sealed waterproof, dust proof casing for easy cleaning. All Wincomm models in the stainless-steel series are sealed to at least IP65 standards, and the Stainless Steel IP69K Panel PC is sealed to IP69K, offering the best solution for environments with hygienic considerations. The IP69K Stainless Steel Panel PC works well in the pharmaceutical industry.
3. Process automation
Automation within the manufacturing industry has long been promoted for the advantages it can bring including greater speed and accuracy, more flexibility, and more reliability. The use of automation in pharmaceutical manufacturing is particularly important in dispensing, sorting, kit assembly and light machine-tending. In fact, there are already several fully automated production facilities around the world, where production takes place under the supervision of operators but otherwise without any manual operation.
Now that pharmaceutical businesses have a new set of social distancing guidelines to comply with, process automation can help to decrease worker density on the factory floor and minimise the risk of infection spread. Solutions could include the automation of repetitive tasks, such as stock assembly using industrial robotics or the use of robots and autonomous transporters in distribution warehouses.
Red Lion’s industrial automation and networking solutions can also help manufacturers – both large and small – connect, monitor, and control operations. For example, Red Lion’s ProducTVity Station is a ready-to-deploy plant floor visual management system that displays real-time Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data and Andon messages on large televisions to drive efficiency, giving visual tools of how the production line is performing.
Using a built-in library of over 300 industrial protocols, the ProducTVity Station can connect to almost any plant floor equipment to help improve process improvement. Easily configured with Crimson® 3.0 software in just a few minutes, it can deliver unmatched visibility into process and equipment performance in manufacturing environments.
For more details on our partners and smart technology solutions, click here.