The Pharma Challenges – Level of Automation and Automation Value

Pharma_AutomationAutomation has a very good opinion in the eyes of the Operations Manager in the Pharmaceutical Industry. They believe automation contributes positively to achieving key performance goals such as improving safety, improving quality, improving regulatory compliance, and improving production capacity.

This is the motivation to use new technology. Then comes the challenge and reality to implement the solution. And this is not easy!

zenon is a configurable system, making it very efficient on validation effort. The zenon product family touches on all production operations, embracing People-Process-Equipment-Management.

Level of automation and Automation value


Challenge: A big barrier to adding automation in a pharmaceutical production facility is the need for plant shutdown.

Having an environment which aids commissioning would reduce the plant inactivity during shutdown. As a progressive, scalable and modular concept zenon can realize projects stage by stage to massage evolution around retro-fit evolution. zenon hot-reload is efficient when commissioning to keep the project updated with the needs of the process, not waiting until the end of the day to make changes, other software may be inflexible to online commissioning – but not zenon. Repeatable modules promote the concept of ‘design once and reuse’, in the pharmaceutical industry this has the distinct advantage that risk is reduced, and with that validation is reduced. Either use the same project and apply it to different areas, or use the individual modules in unique arrangements. Design once and reuse.

Challenge: Managers are positive about the value automation brings to their plants. They believe that automation contributes to achieving the goals of improving safety, product quality, production capacity, and regulatory compliance. Still, there are lacks in implementing.

zenon is a one stop product providing all functionality within one integrated product family. The education on how to overcome current problems or risk in pharmaceutical automation is well documented on our Pharmaceutical section on our website. This is just the first stage, because zenon is more than just survive and succeed. It allows transformation, and opens the way to put your vision of the future into reality. This reality can be Optimization, Quality, Performance OEE, Operational Excellence, Energy Management & Optimization, including for example the ISO 50001 certification.

Ergonomic automation engineering believes in achieving goals in all areas. Ergonomics – particularly with zenon – is making information transparent. Production affects more than just production personnel. Its figures and progress touch directly on business and management needs, quality has a clear need for actual and historic data, and it goes without saying that Operations management and Engineering departments require direct knowledge of production status. All of this requires the same information, but focused and aligned with the specific needs of the user. Putting the user centric to the processes operating around him or her, bring clear and instant understanding.

Challenge: Top Managers such as Site managers and Vice presidents don’t think that automation contributes to lower manufacturing costs.

Lowering manufacturing costs has many flavors. It requires a combination of exercises to be carried out to realize the full potential. For example, operational excellence looks to i) People, ii) Process, iii) Equipment, iv) Management. In most people’s eyes automation only attacks the third element ‘Equipment’, but this alone is not enough. Ergonomics focuses the automation and brings the four together, with holistic improvement that brings management initiatives into production processes, and forces the marriage between equipment and people. Then results are passed back up the line to management efficiently, where change can be acted upon. Process improvements can be incremental, or as clean as turning a page. zenon has many philosophies that fit here, scalable and modular technology applies solutions to the needs and possibilities of now. We never lose the focus that well managed technology gives positive results in reducing production cost, regulation compliance, product quality and safety.


(Source: Management’s View of Automation – Impressions of Automation Performance)

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