Pharma Packaging Machinery Buyers Turn to Automation to Deliver Increased Uptime

OEE, for the past several years, had not been a major focus for pharma packagers like it has been for their peers in food and beverage. A study by PMMI Business Intelligence shows the times are changing.

Pharma end users recommend improvements from OEMs
Pharma end users recommend improvements from OEMs

For the past decade pharma got a pass on OEE. Conventional thinking was margins are good, let’s focus on validation and documentation and not expect CPG-type figures in the high 80’s and low 90s. Some pharma line efficiency numbers sink lower than 50%.

OEE has finally come to pharma, and in a big way! Evidence in the report illustrates pharma machinery buyers are looking for improvements that will drive production and packaging line efficiency, and automation holds the answer.

One engineer from a CMO reported, “Data is needed to monitor machine efficiencies. Self -diagnostics is needed…”

A process engineer weighed in, “Less operator involved equipment is needed to improve safety, and reduce interaction between operator and machine to increase uptime.”

The top five operational improvements driving new equipment purchases include:

  • expanded automation and integration

  • increased throughput

  • ability to measure OEE

  • greater versatility in changeover due to increase in SKUs

  • more robotics

Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices 2016: Trends and Opportunities in Packaging Operations.

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