Manufacturers of pharmaceutical products rely on automated robotic systems for efficient and controlled material handling during the pharmaceutical manufacturing process.
The high initial costs of robotic devices and lack of expertise have limited the application of robots in pharmaceutical industries. However, current computer and peripheral systems have enhanced the flexibility and capabilities of robotic technology.
The most common applications of industrial robots in pharmaceutical industries is manufacturing and packaging.
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Robots
The following are some of the commercially available robots used in pharmaceutical manufacturing process:
- High Throughput Screening Cylindrical Robot - ST Robotics developed a new 4-axis cylindrical robot for drug discovery and toxicology applications. It serves as a simple 2-axis plate mover mounted on a track. Based on the protocol designed by a user, the robot moves the samples from one instrument to another by creating swift and smooth motion.
- C3-V Robots – Developed by EPSON Robots, C3-V Robots were created to increase throughput of aseptic manufacturing and assembly at reduced costs. These robots are used in barrier isolator systems employed in pharmaceutical industries. They are designed to prevent contamination of pharmaceutical products and protect human operators from exposure to harmful toxic drugs.
- M-430iA Robot Arms – FANUC’s M-430i A robot arms features a pair of multi-axis robot arms and a visual tracking system. The robot arms have been designed to successfully lift 120 items per minute whilst moving along the conveyor belt during the manufacturing process. M-430i A robot arms reduce the manufacturing cost of the pharmaceutical product and improve the quality of the product.
Benefits of Automation in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Listed below are the key benefits of using robots in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process:
- High speed and efficiency
- Better manufacturing flexibility
- High cost reductions
- Consistent product quality.
Future of Robots in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Like other industries, the pharmaceutical industry is also trying to improve sustainability of its operations using robots. In the past, robots were only used in mass production processes in food and automotive industries. However, as robotic systems have become more accessible in terms of cost and size in the recent years, they are now widely employed in small production processes such as pharmaceutical manufacturing and drug discovery.
Despite the challenge that pharmaceutical manufacturing industries are intensely regulated and do not allow introduction of new technologies, several companies have implemented robotic systems owing to the wide range of capacity and speed of these systems. Researchers hope that significant progress will be made in pharmaceutical robotic technology through continuous improvements, which will further help to increase production speeds and reduce costs.
With increasing competition in the pharmaceutical industry, drug manufacturers are seeking ways to increase their manufacturing efficiency and their ability to make high-quality products at low costs. Robots help pharmaceutical companies achieve these goals by providing enhanced flexibility, repeatability, speed and precision. Manufacturers believe that robots can be extremely powerful in improving discovery, pilot production and small-scale production of pharmaceutical products in the future.