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Using digitalisation to create agile pharmaceutical production

18th January 2023
Future-oriented manufacturing is all about flexible and responsive operations that can promptly address market demands based on data and new insights. With highly regulated manufacturing processes, can pharmaceutical manufacturers embrace agile strategies to improve their competitiveness? The short answer is yes – provided the right automation solutions are used.

David Bean, Solutions Group Manager at Mitsubishi Electric, looks at how the digital transformation of pharmaceutical operations is key to more dynamic, agile manufacturing.

Companies in a multitude of sectors are rethinking their approach to manufacturing and adopting strategies driven by ‘smart’ technologies. Factories, for example, are being upgraded with innovative, data-driven technologies that communicate with each other to optimise operations. In effect, industrial automation represents a paradigm shift, where processes and operating conditions are no longer set in stone.

Instead, businesses can leverage real-time data and automated systems to determine process adjustments to overcome variability and maximise end product quality. By intelligently automating their production lines, manufacturers are creating an essential tool that can help them thrive in a competitive marketplace and overcome a wide range of challenges. These include fluctuations in raw materials and their properties, changing market needs and bespoke customer or public health requests.

This new era of manufacturing is also offering significant benefits to pharmaceutical companies, which are traditionally bound by strict and highly regulated process requirements. As such, automation is a key asset for businesses in this sector. Most importantly, data-driven solutions can help manufacturers ensure optimum batch efficiency through improved accuracy of control and immediate response to changes in operating conditions of the process to maximise quality of product. In addition, these technologies can support real-time release testing (RTRT) to speed up the time to market for key medicaments.

Opening new doors for patient treatments

Ultimately, industrial automation is extremely versatile and can be deployed in various settings within a pharmaceutical enterprise. These can range from R&D to manufacturing, testing, packaging and equipment maintenance.

Automated solutions are also a must for pharmaceutical companies wanting to reach the pinnacle of agile manufacturing, delivering personalised medicine. Also known as precision medicine, these treatments are designed to address the needs and genetic makeup of individual patients. This is achieved using ‘data-hungry’ systems that feed on information to enable the production of customised medicines.

As technology evolves, companies are able to access more and more tools to develop innovative strategies to optimise healthcare and wellbeing. By determining the best approach to automating processes and incorporating modern components in production lines, pharmaceutical manufacturers can become more agile. This, in turn, will maximise flexibility, scalability and responsiveness, ultimately improving competitiveness.

To learn more about how industrial automation can help pharmaceutical manufacturers create agile production facilities, download Mitsubishi Electric’s latest whitepaper ‘Advancing pharmaceutical manufacturing now – Key automation technologies, applications and real-world benefits’:


Image 1: Automated solutions are also a must for pharmaceutical companies wanting to reach the pinnacle of agile manufacturing [Source: Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.]

About Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is a recognized world leader in the manufacture, marketing and sale of electrical and electronic equipment used in industries such as information processing through satellite communications up to industrial technology, energy and mobility.

The company recorded consolidated group sales of 36.7 billion US Dollars* in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022.

Our sales offices, research & development centres and manufacturing plants are in over 30 countries.

The Factory Automation Business Unit EMEA is a part of Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., which has been represented in Germany since 1978 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan.

*U.S. dollar amounts are translated from yen at the rate of ¥221=U.S.$1, the approximate rate on the Tokyo Foreign Exchange Market on March 31, 2022. 

Editorial Contact: Kiki Anderson

Tel: +44 (0)1905 917477



Address: Progress House, Midland Road, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR5 1AQ, United Kingdom

Reader Contact:

Mitsubishi Electric UK: Melanie Bright

Tel: +44 (0) 1707 288769


Address: Hatfield Headquarters, Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., Automation Systems Divisions, Travellers Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 8XB