Yvonne Duckworth - industry 4.0

Duckworth featured in BioProcess International

Jul 14, 2022

BioProcess International is a consistent source of up-to-date, peer-reviewed information for the global biotherapeutics and biodiagnostics industry, with a strong focus on manufacturing and development. For a pulse on the digitalization landscape of pharma and biotech, they turned to CRB’s Yvonne Duckworth, Director of Digital Technology, for the article, “Elevating Your Pharmaceutical Facility to the Next Digital Plant Maturity Level.”

The biopharmaceutical industry currently lags behind other industries when it comes to implementing digital technologies due to perceived risk and strict regulatory requirements. Though, the industry has a lot to gain from Industry 4.0.

“Adopting Pharma 4.0 tools and concepts benefits manufacturers by harmonizing the flow of R&D VR data through manufacturing and distribution, strengthening cybersecurity, and improving quality while maintaining regulatory compliance. Technologies that help pharmaceutical manufacturers find new, innovative avenues to realize higher levels of connectivity and automation include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and digital twins.” - Duckworth

Duckworth explains the five levels of plant digital maturity: a Level 1 plant is at a predigital stage, and a Level 5 plant is fully automated and self-optimized. Citing the 2021 Horizons: Life Sciences report, she shares that nearly half of the survey respondents identified their facilities in the middle of the digital maturity spectrum at Level 3.

The industry is hesitant to advance as there are perceived risks and concerns from cost, security, to skill set. However, there are substantial benefits to a well-executed Industry 4.0 strategy. AR remote manufacturing tools allow for remote factory acceptance testing (FAT) and collaborative training sessions, saving on travel and time. Integration of digital twins allows process changes to be tested in a virtual environment before changes go live to mitigate risk and uncertainty. The list of benefits to be realized goes on, and as Duckworth says, “AI, AR, VR, and digital twins — just scratch the surface of diverse and complex Pharma 4.0 technologies.”

“In the end, the rewards gained from achieving a fully automated and adaptive DPMM Level 5 plant will make the journey worth it.”