Project Overview:

Deployment of automated live data collection systems for production shop floor assets across 19 production lines.

Project resource:

1 change expert, delivered within 10 months.


Project description:

As part of AstraZeneca’s strive to embrace the latest technology and include industry 4.0 principles into their production techniques, the management team knew that the data and information being received from the shop floor was lacking and needed to be more accurate, delivered in real time, and above all, easy to collate and represent.


Having mainly automated production lines, the information being collected, which was used to determine KPIs such as, OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), FTY (first time yield), Downtime and Output were being recorded using manual SIC (short interval control) sheets.


Inherently manual recording of production shop floor information is very often incorrect, mis-interpreted, lacking key information or sometimes just wrong, and compounded with the number of individuals entering that information, across 19 production lines, it was very clear that AstraZeneca was in line to make huge cost and efficiency savings by investing into an automated live data collection system.


The first stage was to identify a system that could meet all of the key requirements needed for this particular pharmaceutical environment, and key considerations such as GMP (good manufacturing practices), scalability, ease of use, reliability, and interactivity with other key systems played a large role in supplier selection.


One system stood out in particular, which met all of the key requirements and was installed on a non “high profile” production line over a period of 3 days. Training of operators and line managers immediately followed and live data was being then being collected and fed back to operating teams and line managers. Immediately an increase of efficiency of around 15-17% was observed on this line due to the ability to immediately spot faults, identify production volumes and make quicker decisions based on immediate accurate data.


The success of this ‘trial line’ proved so successful, the roll out of another 18 production lines immediately followed over the next 9 months.


Due to the introduction of production data being immediately available to the production teams, overall efficiency across all lines has increased between 8-19% (depending on the product mix).


The new system is now a standard for all production lines and has been sanctioned as a key consideration for integration for any new equipment entering the factory.


AstraZeneca are well on their way to embracing Industry4.0 technologies and adopting a change culture by seeing the benefits this type of technology can do to improve their operations.


“We are now fully prepared to embrace industry4.0, after being shown the enormous benefits live accurate data can make to our shop floor, the increase in output it has given us, along with the ability to make faster, more accurate management decisions has allowed us to maximise efficiency, and free up extra capacity to take on more challenging projects” – Nicola Owens, First Line Production Manager, and project sponsor.