With the recent inclusion of a suite of fully automated, highly efficient production equipment to manufacture tablets and capsules, Pfizer’s plant in Freiburg, Germany, has been transformed into what the company calls a “Smart Factory.”

As part of the conversion process, working with both academics and specialist suppliers to the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer optimized each process step – from raw material handling to distribution – using value stream analysis to implement a fundamental change from batch-based to continuous manufacturing.

At the very heart of the new plant – and ensuring the cost-effective production of top quality oral solid dosage forms – is GEA’s continuous blending technology. More than simply providing machinery, though, and in line with its policy of making science work, GEA played a key role during the implementation and project managed the integration of existing material handling equipment such as big bag filling solutions from third-party suppliers.

By coordinating activities with organizations such as Siemens, CCI and HECHT, GEA was able to expedite the qualification and validation process and oversee the installation of fully automated weighing, powder mixing and encapsulation plant.

Introducing this new and innovative technology, and embracing continuous manufacturing, offers both optimized validation and shorter times to market and ensures Pfizer’s place among the world’s market leaders.

- Michael Becker, Director, Global Engineering, Pfizer