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Process improvement in the pharmaceutical industry

For the pharmaceutical industry, quality and safety requirements must be stringent to satisfy the health and safety of patients. For the highest level of product quality and protection against counterfeiting, Baumer UK offers reliable and powerful industrial cameras; alongside easy-to-use sensor solutions. These solutions deliver quality and process control for the pharmaceutical industry, from manufacturing through to packaging and logistics.

Baumer UK sensors and industrial cameras satisfy a variety of requirements and applications, with components and accessories that are available in IP65, IP67, and IP69K ratings within a hygienic stainless steel enclosure. The flexibility offered by the Baumer UK solutions enables you to design and deliver a solution that is entirely individual to your application for 100% quality control and product tracking.

What is process control?

Put simply, process control is an engineering mechanism that utilises tools and components for continuous monitoring of an industrial process’ operation and then uses this information to adjust individual variables to reach product output and specification and objectives.

The objective of process control is to keep process-operating parameters within strict criteria to deliver ultimate productivity and performance; minimising wastage and operational downtime. For example, a thermostat sensor can monitor the temperature to ensure that when it drops below a certain point, a switch is closed and a heater is turned on to prevent damage to the medium being processed.

What is process improvement?

Process improvement requires and enables employees to better understand the current state of how a process functions to remove the barriers in the manufacturing process. Each pharmaceutical product or service is as a result of a process, gaining the skills required to remove waste, rework or inefficiency to enable critical growth of an organisation and its production process.

Through continuous process improvement, employees and manufacturing processors can reduce waste and limit production downtime. This can be done through the implementation of a Lean Six Sigma procedure.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma provides a systematic approach to help employees build problem-solving skills to develop a strong problem-solving culture within organisations; delivering benefits throughout the industrial application. This process means that ‘finding a better way’ becomes a daily activity to continually improve processes within the pharmaceutical industry.

What are the benefits of using Lean Six Sigma?

Organisations are facing rising costs and new challenges every single day. By implementing Lean Six Sigma, this provides multiple competitive advantages to a business. These include:

  • Streamlining processes to improve the customer experience
  • Developing more efficient processes to drive improved bottom-line results
  • Switching from defect detection to defect prevention to reduce costs and wastage
  • Standardise processes across the manufacturing department
  • Decrease lead-times to increase capacity and profitability
  • Engage employees to improve morale and accelerate personal development.

Who benefits from Lean Six Sigma?

The business is not the only one to benefit from the implementation of a Lean Six Sigma process. Lean Six Sigma can be implemented for any size of a pharmaceutical organisation. By applying this process businesses can work to increase revenue and reduce costs, whilst freeing up resources to add value to the organisation where it needs them the most. This enables customers to receive consistent, reliable products and services.

Lean Six Sigma not only improves profit margins for a business but also has a positive effect on the employees of an organisation by involving them in the improvement of their processes. As employees are the closest to the work of an organisation, they have an intimate knowledge that makes them the best resource to analyse and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. This enables them to standardise work, root out problems and remove waste in an organisation.

Pharmaceutical applications for process improvement

Quality control of blister packs

The Baumer UK range of high-performance industrial cameras and intuitive vision sensors enable you to keep an eye on the quality of your blister-packed products at all times. With the range of VeriSens vision sensors, you can check the position and completeness of blistered products, and their colour, simultaneously with just one image. VeriSens vision sensors deliver resolutions of up to 2 megapixels, with interchangeable lenses and an illumination controller to give you full control for installation flexibility and cost-effective installation.

The CX series camera offers a broad portfolio of monochrome, colour and polarised cameras. Global shutter cameras with resolutions of up to 12 megapixels and high transfer rates allow precise and speedy control of even large areas. This compact range of cameras can be easily and quickly integrated within a production process.

Inspection of vials, injection and infusion bottles

Baumer UK can support your industrial processes within the production of vials, injection or infusion bottles to meet strict safety requirements. CX cameras enable you to reliably check seals for deformations, defects, correct seating and product mixes such as incorrect shapes and colours - even at high speeds.

The reliable inspection of containers to find particles, dirt accumulation, cracks, deformations or defects on the bottle body requires high image quality and resolution; even at high production speeds. This is made possible with the CX camera and LX camera range from Baumer UK. To detect even very fine details, the LX camera range offers resolutions of up to 48 megapixels. The CX industrial camera range also enables your team to monitor filling levels, with resolutions of up to 20 megapixels to perform the inspections with just one camera to deliver cost savings.

Product tracking with Track & Trace technology

Create complete traceability throughout the entire production and supply chain process to increase the safety of pharmaceutical processes. Baumer UK offers the CX camera and VeriSens vision sensor range to reliably check the label content and print quality of 1D and 2D codes as well as text, even at high cycle rates of up to 40,000 pieces per hour. This solution also enables bulk, or multi, code reading. High-resolution rolling shutter CX cameras with up to 20 megapixels to allow for cost-effective implementation and consistency of production.

Baumer UK has the expertise and product range to assist you with the development of process improvement within the pharmaceutical industry, ranging from cameras and smart sensors for process control in pharmaceutical manufacturing; to devices that implement Lean Six Sigma processes.

Company Profile

Find out how Baumer IO-Link solutions are driving OEE efficiencies

The Baumer Group is leading at international level in the development and production of sensors, shaft encoders, measuring instruments as well as components for automatic image processing.

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