Vifor Pharma Wins Award for Augmented Reality System

Augmented Reality system improves safety and efficiency for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Pharma 4.0 Awards was created to recognise outstanding innovation and implementation of manufacturing systems in the pharmaceutical industry. This year’s award has gone to Vifor Pharma Group and its partner Goodly Innovations for the creation of a team-based augmented reality (AR) system.

The AR system was created in order to improve efficiency in the pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging process. These processes are known to be complex, and the operators need to run through many detailed checklists to ensure no errors occur. The implementation of AR means that operators have detailed instructions for each step in the process.

By using AR, workflows can be adapted to real-life operations and operators can tick off each task as it is completed, and by using AR smart-glasses, operators hands can be free to complete other tasks.

“Applying augmented reality in our operations allowed us to improve the changeover process and increase productivity by up to 50% at our packaging plant,” said Dr. Benno Bischof, Head of Product Group, Technical Operations, in St. Gallen. “We have clearly demonstrated the potential of augmented reality by using it to create a dynamic teamwork system, unprecedented in our industry. This is the kind of innovative technology that we strive to use to improve our operations.”

“We set out to reduce the format change time by 30%, which at the time of our first prototype seemed like a bold objective. Now that we have real-life data from multiple installations, we are blown away by the results. Improving overall equipment effectiveness by 15 percentage points exceeded our expectations. It was also amazing to see error rates drop to virtually zero or on-boarding times become vastly accelerated,” said Robert Hoffmeister, CEO of Goodly Innovations. “We are very grateful for the trust and constructive feedback we got from the supportive teams at Vifor Pharma during this important early phase. Now we are just as excited to see the interest in OptiworX grow so rapidly in the industry.”

For future coverage of new and innovative uses of AR technology, keep checking back with VRFocus.

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