The digitalization of the process industry
The pharmaceutical industry is a good example of where digitalization will lead the process industry in the future. Integrated engineering requires consistent data management and documentation, and results in continuity from the design to operation (digital twin). The increased electronic workflow in production will progressively eliminate the need for paper. But even more profound changes will take place: Digitalization means that process technology systems can be set up faster and more flexibly, making it easier to convert to other products.
An important trend in this context is what is known as personalized medicine, where customized small series medications are perfectly tailored to the individual and his or her needs. This poses great challenges to production and the associated processes and ultimately necessitates an intricate dovetailing of the technical and economic aspects of a company’s structure down to logistics and interaction with each individual. Since this requires the meticulous yet flexible coordination of the individual production processes, topics such as cloud-based applications and scheduling come to the fore. This, in turn, means that the production processes must become significantly more flexible and modular through the automation and digitalization of the systems to enable a rapid changeover of recipes and process sequences.
The trend from batch-oriented to continuous production of drug products in compact units with a high degree of automation can lead to higher productivity. This can increase capacity utilization while reducing the footprint of the facility.
The Living Lab is the ideal environment for us to demonstrate our portfolio with regard to digitalization in the process industry on site in real time on the basis of a real system. In the future, process data can be uploaded to the cloud via MindSphere applications.Martin Ramharter, Head of Vertical Pharma Siemens CEE