The fusion of information technology with production technology is catapulting the way we work at Sanofi into a whole new dimension. It’s called Industry 4.0. And through the "Usine Extraordinaire", or Extraordinary Factories, exhibition, in Paris in November, we shared this new reality of tomorrow through an interactive experience for visitors.
Stepping inside this new world, the exhibition, of which Sanofi was a co-founder, reveals our collaborative robots, or cobots, which support the operator with daily tasks and augmented reality1 to improve the handling, use and maintenance of equipment by operators. A virtual simulation model of the manufacturing process will enable a 360° perspective in the future. This digital twin will allow the processes to be simulated, to know from the start what will be the end result, to alert the teams about potential incidents and to gradually optimize manufacturing processes.
Through artificial intelligence and the analysis of thousands of data points collected along the production lines, the digital control tower will manage complex drug manufacturing operations. And at the end of the production process, it will also optimize the logistics and distribution throughout the supply chain, which will ensure that there is enough stock to meet demand.
The use of data in a digitally connected factory can also lead to energy optimization: the best scenarios for reducing CO2 emissions can be defined from the data collected on all activities in the plant.
Within our industrial network, six pilot plants will integrate digital technologies in 2019: Framingham in the United States, the plant in Toronto, Canada, the Waterford site in Ireland, Sisteron in France, as well as plants in Brazil and in China.
We are planning to adapt our global industrial network to new digital solutions by the end of 2021, investing €60m over this period.
Going further through digital transformation
Transforming factories and investing in new digitized facilities is the answer to the growing importance of biologic drugs, which account for 70% of the products we are developing and whose manufacturing processes are longer and more complex than those based on chemistry.
Using these new technologies for supply management also means being able to respond in real time to requests, allow us to anticipate specific events, or to put in place measures to overcome a production problem.
This digital transformation is carried out in close collaboration with our employees across our industrial sites as well as with our industrial, technological, academic and institutional partners and start-ups.
Our future plants, born from this transformation, are major but necessary breakthrough to address advances in medical research and to provide healthcare professionals and patients with the innovative solutions they need, anywhere in the world.
- Augmented reality refers to all of the interactions between a real situation and virtual elements such as 3D, 2D images or geolocation.