The Use Of Robotics In The Pharmaceutical Industry

September 11, 2023

Manufacturers in the pharmaceutical sector are being squeezed. Global demand is growing, but at the same time there’s also pressure on prices, especially in the United States. Fortunately, pharmaceutical robots can answer both challenges.

Pharma companies are investing in robotics to improve efficiency and increase capacity. However, many businesses, especially those that are smaller, see cost as a major barrier to pharma robotics. That needn’t be the case. Robot solutions scale easily, so it’s practical to start small and add robots as experience and savings grow. What’s more, robots can quickly pay for themselves by relieving a bottleneck or addressing a specific labor shortage.

Ways Robots Support Pharmaceutical Production

There are five main benefits of robotics in pharmaceutical industry applications:

Being software-controlled, robots are easily customized for an application, then reconfigured if the application changes. If the movement path needs modifying, it takes an engineer seconds to update the code.

Grippers may be tailored to the package or product being picked and placed, but adjusting or swapping these out is much faster than changing over a mechanical or pneumatic system.

Robots don’t take breaks or need vacations, and they are extremely repeatable. That first point means they increase capacity compared to human workers, and the second means they don’t make mistakes. Unlike humans, a robot won’t drop a package, and systems like our robotic tray loader won’t put the wrong number of items in the pack.

Cost Savings
Despite looking expensive, over their lifetime pharmaceutical robots generate significant cost savings. Their customizable nature means they can be reused as pack formats and products change, in addition to reducing production costs through a combination of lower waste, increased capacity, and higher speed.

Packaging pharmaceutical products involves a class of applications at which robots excel. 6-axis robots work quickly on many types of packaging machinery, including horizontal cartoners. For sheer speed though, nothing compares with a delta robot. Typically suspended above a conveyor, sometimes as part of a vertical cartoner, these spider-like machines pick and place at unbeatable rates, and without errors.

Because robots move through space, it’s not always obvious where the gripper is going. This makes them potentially dangerous, which is why they are always guarded. When properly installed, robots, especially pharma robots, contribute greatly to safety.

They protect workers from repetitive strain and musculoskeletal injuries and, in the case of pharma products, they keep workers away from potentially harmful or hazardous chemicals, bio-agents, and sharp objects.

Pharma robots also improve end-customer safety. They don’t make mistakes, so cartons and other packages are always filled correctly, and they prevent contamination by human line workers.

Pharmaceutical Robots for Your Packaging Needs

Packaging automation, and robotic systems in particular, increase productivity and expand capacity. They’re proven to address price and cost pressures while at the same time meeting rising demand.

PMI KYOTO Packaging Systems is a leader in robotic packaging machinery for industries where the product needs gentle handling. That includes confectionery, dairy products, and of course pharmaceuticals. We offer turnkey systems, customized to meet the specific needs of the customer.

Contact us to have your questions about our systems, solutions, and capabilities answered.