Pharma Manufacturing and IoT
Pharma Manufacturing and IoT
Continuous innovation for a company not only means in its product but also in the digitization of its data and processes across the value chain. The emergence of IoT (Internet of Things) and its applications has started to provide the pharmaceutical industry with a plethora of new opportunities including improved control during drug manufacturing, predictive maintenance of equipment and a smart supply chain. In particular, IoT trackers and sensors can enable optimal conditions for handling sensitive chemicals and biomaterials, ensuring correct machine operation and even better patient access.
Let us see below three use cases of IoT in the pharma manufacturing industry:
1.Facilitating a controlled environment during manufacturing
Incorrect environmental conditions can be fatal for Pharma manufacturing. Pharma IoT comes into place here to ensure transparency by enabling sensors to monitor real-time environmental parameters such as:
- CO2 Level
The sensors then relay the necessary information on a dashboard allowing the lab technicians to take stock of the situation and instantly take measures to rectify if needed. Along with a climate control system, automatic adjustments can be made in response to this data. Another big advantage of using IoT for a controlled environment is that it gives alerts of any toxic substance leakage allowing the staff to ensure safe evacuations.
2.Introducing predictive maintenance for equipment
One of the major failures of Pharma manufacturing is related to its equipment. A number of reasons exist for an equipment’s inability to perform which include mechanical damage, chemical deterioration, unstable environment, heavy voltage and improper maintenance. IoT sensors can connect all the machinery pieces across the facilities and collectively update the status of various components such as:
- Vacuum pumps
- pH probes
- Pressure gauges
- Heat exchangers
The information collected can be used to avoid critical issues, plan repairs and maintenance, ensure the safety of the workplace and lessen downtime. A full overview of equipment utilization can also be drawn serving as a basis for future upgrades to reduce waste and optimize performance.
3.Enabling a smart supply chain management
Once a drug is manufactured, it starts to move down the supply chain, from shipping to transit to delivery in hospitals and pharmacies. During this journey, sudden temperature changes, vehicle accidents and delays can negatively impact both the patient and the company.
Global giants like Pfizer, need their vaccines to be maintained at a certain temperature for them to maintain their integrity and constant monitoring of this temperature is required to have efficient management of the supply to patients.
IoT can help ensure an undisturbed supply chain by providing visibility into all real-time processes, allowing for immediate actions and saving valuable time. While packing, each drug package can be marked with smart labels for location monitoring during transit. In turn, sensors can be embedded in the vehicles and containers to give continuous updates on the temperature, pressure, and humidity so that carriers can be instantly alerted in case of any discrepancies. Thus, a smart supply chain will enable timely measures in order to avoid drug discard due to transportation and storage issues. Sensors can be used even further down the supply chain to check whether the patients are following the treatment by reminding them to take the drug or giving alerts to their caregiver. The possibilities of a smart supply chain are endless.
As pharma manufacturing companies cannot risk equipment malfunctions and drug discard due to suboptimal conditions, they require a 24/7 real-time monitoring system that can be fulfilled by IoT in a number of cost-saving and innovative ways.
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