Industry Insight: Exceeding innovation excellence

Posted: 2 August 2008 | EPR | No comments yet

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of products, solutions, and services to the Life Sciences sector, ABB is uniquely positioned to meet the current and future business and regulatory needs of the Life Sciences industry including Pharmaceuticals, Biopharma, and Biomedical…

Industry Insight: Exceeding innovation excellence

Every aspect of ABB services have been designed to improve manufacturing competitiveness and enable Operational Excellence through continuous improvement, while minimising total cost of ownership. Michael Heatherman, Centre of Excellence (COE) Life Sciences Manager at ABB, took time out of his hectic schedule to catch up with European Pharmaceutical Review, and discuss the latest in their award winning innovation, strategy and the power of real-time data.

Michael started by telling European Pharmaceutical Review some of the future plans they have in store for the company. “As part of our strategy we have invested considerably in the development of advanced solutions for the industry. These activities coupled with our core automation and power products, provides the market with a constant offering of quality and consistency. We are also putting alot of focus on the value of real-time data in meeting our customers’ needs to use their assets more efficiently through production cycle time reduction and increasing effectiveness of assets by reducing the cost of quality – resulting in increased flexibility to meet the needs of their customers.”

Michael, what gives ABB its edge over its competitors?

“We fully understand the needs and weaknesses of the Life Sciences industry through our long-term partnerships with worldwide pharma and biotechnology companies, hence one of the main reasons we can offer such a tailored offering of products to each region in the world. We have operated in a regulated market for just over 100 years now, so you can be rest assured that you are in the best possible hands.” Michael continues, “Globally we operate a network of approximately 110,000 experts in over 100 countries, we have specialised consultants for every product, solution, and service and of course a group of regulatory guru’s supporting all countries where validation rules can vary and support for other business process consulting expertise. This team consists of over 700 people. A Quality by Design approach using Process Analytical Technology requires more then a collection of analysers and models. It requires people who understand the Pharmaceutical Industry and production processes, the right products that allow data to be captured, processed and stored in a regulatory compliant manner, plus life cycle support to enhance the benefits of the capital invested.”

Michael, can you please tell us about what goes on at ABB’s Centre of Excellence?

“Following the need to offer an integrated approach to PAT, ABB created a COE in 2004. Its mandate is to develop ABB products and services which will enable customers to reap the benefits of PAT. The PAT COE leverages ABB’s global resources, which include experienced research and development personnel, application specialists, chemometricians, process engineers, IT engineers, senior validation consultants and advanced process control specialists. Its mandate covers the entire range of PAT applications from initial integration with manufacturing excellence programs, connectivity with manufacturing and business systems to advanced process control (APC). During 2007, the COE was further expanded to include all automation solutions and services as well in order to bring expertise to regions which may not have the expertise locally. Therefore ABB is well positioned to provide world class support to projects and services to improve operational excellence globally.”

Technology evolution at its best

Michael, can you tell us about your latest product release please?

“As drug and drug delivery systems become more complex, variations in environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and air quality can have a significant impact on drug quality and efficiency. This has led to the need for better monitoring and control of the manufacturing operations which also requires more automated and accurate data collection, storage, and retrieval of both process, and environmental data that will allow rigorous analysis of all parameters and quality.” Michael continues, “ABB provide facilities automation, process automation, safety, and inline analytical instrument-based PAT systems on a single unified platform. A fine example of this is Industrial IT System 800xA , which provides a common operator environment for ABB’s entire portfolio, providing access to the right information at the right time across the enterprise, saving time, energy and profit.”

“Our goal with the System 800xA Batch management is to change the focus from traditional supervisory batch management to production management supporting an integrated production historian and production schedule interface for batch as well as procedural control applications.” Michael states, “It is our flagship product that has also provided the evolution path for ABB’s traditional batch systems.” System 800xA Batch management fulfils five primary functions: product definition management, production execution management, production resource management, production data collection, and product dispatching, the system delivers a simple consolidated organisation of batch details to support a simple of the most demanding batch recording requirements to help improve manufacturing competitiveness and lower the ‘cost of quality’”.

What will ABB strive to do next?

“We will continue to strive to bring specific solutions to a vast and intricate market. Plants need to stay focused, and increase their efforts and learning on how to be more efficient and flexible to adapt to changing demands. I am not just talking about their personnel; I mean every aspect of the business including energy usage as well as production intelligence. Our solutions address all phases of pharmaceutical production; integration of data seamlessly throughout the supply chain, bridging the gaps is the best way forward.”

Michael concludes, “Life sciences companies are and will continue to build manufacturing cultures that foster Operational Excellence (OpX), innovation, and teamwork, while utilising common tools, technologies, and standards that deliver added value and financial benefit to their businesses.”

About the author

Michael T. Heatherman Jr. (Mike), ABB Life Sciences Centre of Excellence (COE) Manager, is based in Ireland. The COE manages ABB’s broad portfolio of products, solutions, and services as delivered for excellence in Process Analytics and Automation to Pharma, BioPharma and Medical Devices companies globally. Prior to the role as Manager of COE Life Sciences, Mike was the Director of Product Management for ABB Process Automation’s North America product development org­anization. He was a member of the global product line management team responsible for System 800xA development strategy as well as other related product lines. He has worked in various positions with focus on industries including specialty chemicals, pharma­ceuticals, biotech, textile, and food processing over the last 19 years providing automation expertise at the project and product development levels.