The Pharmaceutical industry has been setting the trends for the broader packaging industry for many years, due to the strict safety and quality requirements set for pharma and biopharma products. With such a wide variety of products and packaging required it’s no surprise that the best practices of the pharmaceutical industry have often trickled down into packaging standards for food, beverage, and cosmetic products as well.
InduSoft spent some time during our annual Schneider Electric Learning week to speak with packaging industry specialist John Partin, who was willing to share some of the trends and new requirements he’s noticed in pharma and biopharma. Here are some of the top industry-driving trends we took away:
The Pharmaceutical industry uses the most advanced technology in the packaging industry: Robotic automation is more pronounced in the pharmaceutical industry than any other, primarily due to the increased production capabilities and lowered risk of contamination.
Machine flexibility is a standard demand for packaging customers: Pharmaceutical customers expect machine flexibility from a packaging machine controls standpoint. They require the capability to scale from large commercial batches to smaller batches of personalized medications, and they are demanding faster automated changeover of machines.
Track and Trace: Track and trace technology is vital to product safety and purity, and is it also critical for better tracking of controlled substances and pharmaceutical compounds. These standards include the adoption of cloud-based and Internet of Things architectures to store and access reports on critical packaging information that can aid in recalls and audits from the compounding phase, to blister and bottle packaging, to distribution. HMI and SCADA software like InduSoft Web Studio is increasingly vital to collecting and maintaining the integrity of these records.
OEE and intelligent dashboards: OEE is increasingly important as the high-tech world of pharma packaging continues to become optimized. With OEE and intuitive dashboards for analyzing data, operators and maintenance personnel are able to perform preventative and predictive maintenance and reduce machine downtime, as well as ensure a better quality product. Machine builders are often including OEE capabilities as standard features on pharmaceutical packaging machines.
Implementation of PackML: PackML is easier to implement as the standard solidifies. With templates like InduSoft’s upcoming PackML template for packaging machines, machine builders are now able to offer PackML compliant machines to customers without large add-on costs. With machines operating on a standard like PackML, it’s possible to standardize all machines within a facility on a single interface.