Imagine a plant bristling with sensors that act as a central nervous system, recording big data that is analyzed almost instantly for continuous monitoring of manufacturing and real-time decision making. At Sanofi, this vision of the future is tomorrow’s reality.
Transforming factories and investing in new digital facilities responds to the research advances and growing role of biologic drugs with lengthier manufacturing times and more complex processes than chemistry-based drugs. For the past five years, Sanofi has been preparing for this profound transformation to ensure that its factories - using state-of-the-art technologies - manufacture innovative medicines of the highest quality and that are economically accessible.
“The ambition for Sanofi is to create a fully-fledged and disruptive biotechnology sector, answering the demand for customized and high quality products. A patient-oriented, digital and sustainable ecosystem, this is Sanofi’s vision for its factory of the future!” says Jakob Harttung, Head of Factory 4.0 Manufacturing Excellence.
The factory of the future will include connected and intelligent equipment, with sensors capable of measuring several thousand information throughout the production process and generating billions of data used to monitor, deeply analyze and control the manufacturing of our drugs. All manufacturing stages will be controlled through state-of-the-art analytical techniques that forecast and avoid variations to improve performance and ensure the quality of biologic medicines.
Digitization will also play a key role in optimizing the management of stocks and logistics, enabling paperless electronic production. Each plant will also have its digital twin, a digital copy in 3-D, available to carry out simulations of manufacturing processes changes as well as to train employees and operators even before the plant’s construction. The factory of the future is a major breakthrough, one that is driven by increasing advances in medical research and the needs of patients’ worldwide waiting for innovative solutions.