Topping-out ceremony for the world's first AI-enhanced drug production facility

25-May-2022

Glatt is system integrator for a Bayer investment of around 275 million euros

On May 13, 2022, Bayer AG celebrated the topping-out ceremony for a new pharmaceutical plant in Leverkusen/Germany in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, German Health Minister Professor Dr Karl Lauterbach and other guests from politics and industry.

The new Solida 1 production facility will be one of the most modern pharmaceutical production plants in the world. The aim is to translate the results of scientific research into products as quickly as possible, thereby making a lasting improvement to patients' lives. Among other things, drugs for the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular diseases are manufactured here.

As a system integrator, Glatt was already involved in the concept phase of the process, the process logistics, the process automation and its integration into higher-level systems, and has helped to update the planning for this throughout the various subsequent project phases.

The process expert, plant manufacturer and engineering service provider is not only responsible for the supply, installation and commissioning of Glatt process technology, but also for the equipment of third-party suppliers.

An essential part of the system integration for this project is an extensive highly innovative automation solution. This involves the use of intelligent robot technology, which is being applied in this way for the first time. Thus, all process equipment is integrated into a unified system that communicates with each other.

The modular design of Solida 1 — and thus, for example, the possibility to expand — creates the greatest possible flexibility with regard to future developments in the pharmaceutical sector.

"For this exciting task, practically all of Glatt's expertise in pharmaceutical solids production comes to bear, as probably only the Glatt Group can offer. We will certainly still have to face some challenges here during project implementation. However, we are convinced that we as the entire Glatt Group are up to the challenge," said Dr-Ing. e.h. Reinhard Böber, Managing Director of Glatt Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, commenting during the panel discussion held on the occasion of the topping-out ceremony.

The new modern facility will be the core of the new global competence center for the production of solid pharmaceuticals at the Leverkusen site. It will not only set standards for efficiency, quality, delivery reliability and sustainability, but will also exploit the benefits of digitization with a so-called "learning factory." This means that datastreams are analyzed with the help of artificial intelligence and recommendations for action are derived from them.

According to Bayer, however, the plant also sets standards in sustainability: its energy needs are largely covered by a modern geothermal system that reduces CO2 emissions by 70 percent compared with conventional operations.

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The single-story facility with a gross floor area of around 15,000 square meters is scheduled to be ready for operation in 2024. Around 100 employees will start work in the building. The company's total investment will amount to around 275 million euros.

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