PharmaBlock Sciences (Nanjing), Inc. (Stock code: 300725.SZSE), a global, fully integrated CRDMO company, focusing on innovative chemistry and low-carbon manufacturing, recently announced that its automated Workshop 502 at PharmaBlock Zhejiang manufacturing site was awarded the title of "2022 Shaoxing Digital Workshop" by the local authority.
The evaluation criteria for the Digital Workshop are very stringent, requiring applicant companies to achieve full automation in production management, warehousing and logistics, energy and environmental management, and safety management. The workshop's automation rate of key equipment must be above 80%, demonstrating significant cost reduction, efficiency improvement, and energy-saving results.
Combining continuous flow technology with automated control systems for greener and safer production
PharmaBlock has successfully applied continuous flow chemistry on the manufacturing scale. Various continuous flow reaction production units have been designed and implemented in Workshop 502. Compared to traditional batch reactors, continuous flow chemistry reactors offer more flexibility and convenience, facilitating the connection and control of automation systems, thereby providing equipment foundation for the digital construction of the workshop.
Workshop 502 adopts a high-end DCS control system, and the automation control rate of equipment facilities reaches 95%, with over 4000 self-control instrument points. A visualization operation platform is established with remote control and real-time monitoring function, ensuring accurate and real-time recording and traceability of process data, with data regularly and automatically backed up for added security.
Furthermore, Workshop 502 has established a solvent distribution station. By connecting with the DCS control system and inputting the production parameters into the system, the solvent distribution station enables the delivery of solvents to various reaction units and continuous flow equipment through pipelines. It ensures the precise, timed, and targeted transfers, and mitigates potential safety risks associated with solvent package and transfer.
Lean management for energy saving, efficiency enhancement, and cost reduction
PharmaBlock integrates sustainability into daily operations, optimizing process control and end treatment with tech-driven and lean management to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and save energy.
In Workshop 502, the production team conducted energy consumption analysis at various production stages, continuously seeking cost reduction opportunities. For instance, by regularly analyzing the energy usage curves of lighting and HAVC systems and sharing energy-saving experiences among production teams, significant progress has been made in energy conservation, resulting in monthly electricity savings of nearly 20,000 kWh for lighting and HVAC systems.
Another remarkable example is the optimization of using vacuum equipment. The production team replaced the traditional negative-pressure inert oxygen displacement method with a positive-pressure inertization program. With the existing DCS automation system and the programming of the positive-pressure inertization procedure, the team achieved one-click automatic inertization, reducing manual operations and energy consumption without additional hardware investment. The positive pressure inertization also prevents air from entering the equipment and tail gas, thus enhancing safety by reducing the oxygen content in the process tail gases.
As one of PharmaBlock's key manufacturing sites, PharmaBlock Zhejiang will continue introducing advanced digital information systems to enhance automation in various production and operation, and optimize the full lifecycle management of APIs, intermediates, and raw materials. Continuous efforts will be made to improve efficient production management, and build an industry-leading intelligent and environmentally friendly factory.