The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is changing, and not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FDA’s improved standards for pharmaceutical manufacturing have increased manufacturer emphasis on oversight, efficiency, and quality control.
Luckily, necessity is the mother of invention—and innovation.
The following technologies are redefining the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry this year, but their impacts will prove to be further-reaching than December 31, 2021.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are revolutionizing pharmaceutical manufacturing at its core. These systems collect data across manufacturing tiers, including reagent storage, production, storage, and transport.
SCADA systems can collect data in remote locations, compile it into daily operational logs, and analyze potential deficiencies. These systems both document a manufacturer’s entire production sequence and point out areas of improvement.
Specialists like Telstar Instruments are leading the charge in SCADA system development, and their expertise has played a pivotal role in the creation and implementation of such systems.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly growing in relevance to every industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing included. AI has the potential for implementation in data analytics, human resources, and nearly every product manufacturing tier.
While some workers may fear that AI will replace their job, it’s important to remember that, for the foreseeable future, any AI-based process will likely still require human oversight and quality control.
Far from fearing the robot takeover, the pharmaceutical industry can enjoy the increased efficiency to come.
Automation has skyrocketed in manufacturing, both within the pharmaceutical industry and outside of it. Manufacturers use automation to increase production output, energy efficiency, and product consistency across all diagnostic rubrics.
For instance, many manufacturers use automation for reagent reordering. As reagent use is recorded, an automated system reorders reagents before inventory drops, ensuring consistent production times and accounting for fluctuations in reagent supply chains.
The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry has used robotics for years as a boon to production efficiency and product consistency. But, the introduction of new robotics materials is revolutionizing both global robotics and manufacturers’ application of robotic technologies.
For instance, a new polymer could allow robotic technologies to store and conserve potential energy, a concept that would improve the humanoid functions of robotic limbs used in manufacturing.
Embedded systems, referring to either one self-contained microprocessor or a series, are making a splash in pharmaceutical manufacturing this year.
Instead of requiring large-scale computer hardware to perform automated, data-driven, or production-related tasks in a manufacturing facility, embedded systems contain all the hardware needed for their necessary function in a single microprocessor.
These systems can work with others to perform multi-step tasks, freeing up valuable floor space for additional manufacturing equipment.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are analyzing and managing more substantial swathes of data than ever before.
Provision of these astronomical quantities of data points (often referred to as big data) has only improved due to the COVID-19 pandemic when pharmaceutical manufacturers have been tasked with meeting new user needs in response to new diagnoses and treatments.
A pharmaceutical manufacturing revolution
The technologies above have had a massive impact on the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
While some, like SCADA systems, are brand-new, others, like automation, are exponentially increasing in use during 2021.
These innovations and other emerging technologies will continue to shape the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing and the healthcare industry at large.