When you’re in the process of setting up a pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant, there’s no way around making many, many decisions – big and small – about many different things. Decision fatigue is sure to set in, especially when you begin to think about every tiny detail of every single pharmaceutical machine that you need to purchase. And trust us, you’ll have to invest in very many.
But that’s where we come in. As not only pharmaceutical machine manufacturers but also dedicated partners to all our clients, we pride ourselves on the fact that we can lighten your load and provide support every step of the way. In this article, we’ve tried to make your journey of investing in pharmaceutical machines smooth and simple. Let us tell you how.
When equipping your pharma or biopharma plant, you need to invest in storage vessels, compounding vessels, heat exchangers, purified water generation systems, process piping, CIPand SIP systems, bio-kill systems and more. Surely you can’t make a separate checklist for each piece of equipment, at least not in the initial stages. What helps is to have a more general list of your production plant and pharmaceutical machine requirements. Following these fundamental principles will help you ensure that you make a worthy investment, be it in a heat exchanger, a pure steam generation set up, or anything else.
Easier said than done, right? It’s natural to be unsure of how to operationalize these principles. So let’s take a more detailed look at the key factors for consideration which should be on your mind. As you buy pharmaceutical machines for production of vaccines, oral solid dosages, or other pharma products, this list will likely become your most indispensable decision-making tool.
Scale. If you’re in pharmaceutical research, naturally, your needs will be very different from those of commercial pharmaceutical producers. The pharmaceutical machines for production of drugs will vary if you want the drugs produced for laboratory use, for larger clinical trials, for local sale, or for global distribution. Make sure you keep in mind the scale of your operations so that you can communicate effectively with your pharmaceutical machine manufacturers and get the pharmaceutical machines that you actually need.
Application. An important initial question to ask every time you consider a new machine: what do you need this particular machine for? You don’t need to invest in every quality piece of pharmaceutical machines out there. Consider the use you will put it to. If you’re only in the pharmaceutical packaging business, maybe you don’t need a high-end heat exchanger. If you make solely oral solid dosages, you probably won’t need that bioreactor. So the first step is always to know your process and purpose well beforehand. It will help you assess if you reallyneed that pharmaceutical machine, it will help you to eliminate redundancies, and it will give you a clear picture of where every piece of equipment belongs.
Equipment Quality. So you now have clarity about the scale of your operations and you know exactly which machines you need. Next, you have to consider that quality of the pharmaceutical equipment. This includes assessing the material of construction of the pharmaceutical machine, its design, the durability of its components (especially wear and tear parts), and its resilience in the face of the high temperatures and pressures it may have to withstand. Also make sure the material the pharmaceutical machine is made of is suitable to the climate in which your plant is located. Stainless steel is almost always a good bet. Further, you can identify research-backed design and intelligent engineering with the help of validity testing.
Throughput Capacity of Machines. Throughput generally refers to the speed of production of a machine, or the rate at which it processes raw materials to produce your desired finished product. The output capacity of your plant is determined by the speed of your machines and the number of hours you can keep your machines running, both of which you should enquire about from your pharmaceutical machine manufacturers beforehand.
What’s more, you should ensure that all your pharmaceutical machines have similar throughput rates. This will prevent bottlenecks from slowing down your production lines or compromising the integrity of your drug product. A smooth, well-controlled passage for your products – from step one till the final step – will help with efficiency, productivity, and troubleshooting when necessary.
Automation and Digital Capabilities. In the 21st century, automation is the mainstay of pharma and biopharma production. It reduces your dependence on human labour and the inconsistencies and inadvertent errors that occur with manual interventions. It also frees people from having to engage in tedious repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus their energies on more complex and creative tasks. Process automation offers many benefits, ranging from speed to efficiency. But even if you can’t invest in sophisticated automated systems, some basic digital capabilities like touch screens, all-access control, and data monitoring can help you manage your pharmaceutical production line much better.
Ease of use. Process automation can make things a lot less tedious for you, but your systems will still require at least some minimal human intervention. Make sure that the process automation systems you invest in are not so technical that operating them is an unnecessarily complex undertaking for your staff.
Ease of cleaning. Ease of use also encompasses ease of cleaning. Ideally, your pharmaceutical machine, be it a process vessel, a heat exchanger, or a bio-kill system, should come with CIP and SIP integrations. But in cases where that is not a possibility, make sure your pharmaceutical machine at least has disconnection ease instead. Of course, cleaning is an essential part of maintaining drug quality, but it shouldn’t take so much time and effort as to significantly reduce operating time. So either CIP/SIP or easy-disconnect features are a must.
Cost. The cost of a pharmaceutical machine naturally plays an important role in your decision to buy it. But there’s a reason we didn’t include it higher up in our list. Cost may influence your decision to make a purchase, but buying solely based on price is never a good idea. Always choose your pharmaceutical machines based on the factors mentioned above, and in situations where all else is equal in terms of quality and suitability for you, you can use price as the decision making factor.
Life cycle support. Does the machine come with maintenance support, warranties, or troubleshooting assistance? Pharmaceutical machine manufacturers who offer annual maintenance contracts are the only pharmaceutical machine manufacturers you should trust.
Reputation matters. When all is said and done, the reputation of your pharmaceutical machine manufacturers matters. Make sure you do your research – speak to the manufacturer’s other clients, seek out case studies and testimonials of their work, and gauge the industry’s sentiments towards them before you invest in their equipment. Because once you purchase from them, you will begin a relationship with them that will last as long the machinery; you will likely have to seek out support for maintenance, troubleshooting, and other allied equipment. So make sure that the equipment manufacturer you choose is one you don’t mind working with long term.
So there you have it. A list of guiding principles which will help you ensure that every piece of machinery you invest in serves the larger purposes of your business. A list that will help you ensure that every tiny detail makes sense within the larger picture.