Pharmaceutical manufacturing: Consolidation, standardization drive automation decisions

Pharmaceutical companies are placing new emphasis on manufacturing to drive margin and growth; proper use of automation technology is vital, says a report from ARC.


Over-investing has left big pharmaceutical companies with surplus manufacturing capacity at the same time R&D pipelines are drying up, regulatory barriers are delaying new approvals, and many of the blockbuster products are losing patent protection.Biotech Industry Worldwide Outlook.”
According report author and ARC principal analyst for the CPG Industries John Blanchard (, automation expenditures in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry are expected to exceed $3 billion by 2012, and the market for automation products and systems there continues to be moderate to strong.
Blanchard says, “Much of the current automation focuses on projects with immediate return on investments, projects that are the result of consolidation of manufacturing operations, and standardization of applications across the entire enterprise.” Four major areas of focus, he says, are:

- manufacturing productivity, flexibility, and service;
- the new scientific risk-based approach to regulatory compliance;
- reducing the cost and time of technology transfer; and
- ensuring product quality, safety, security, and delivery.

“The industry has also expressed concern over how it is going to support the ever-increasing level of automation with increasingly limited technical resources,” says Blanchard. This study will help users learn what others in the industry are doing and the capabilities of each supplier.”
For example, production management software and analytics software are two of the fastest growing automation technologies being deployed by users,” Blanchard says. “Some suppliers have analytics that help reduce production cycle time and throughput.

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk


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