Few industries are as heavily regulated as the pharmaceutical industry, as poor quality or otherwise defective pharmaceutical products can potentially have fatal results for end users. In particular, governments across the world are focused on preventing the spread of counterfeit drugs and have developed requirements for serialization of individual pharmaceutical packaging as a result. It is also expected that demand for pharmaceuticals will continue to experience dramatic growth, courtesy of increased life-expectancy across the population.
This requires the installation of new equipment and software which adds complexity to the production process. At the same time, part living longer is a greater reliance on regular use of pharmaceuticals. Keeping pace with this increasing demand and complying with various government and industry standards for quality, traceability and safety is the new state of affairs for the modern pharmaceutical manufacturer.
These conditions mean that manufacturers must perform a careful balancing act: weighing pressure to improve production speeds against the need to ensure compliance with government regulations. Measuring the effect that a change to the production process has on the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process becomes a crucial component of making improvements or other alterations to the production line. This measurement is one of the uses of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), a method of obtaining a complete view of the efficiency of a production process. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview of the various components that go into measuring OEE, and then to discuss the ways in which product inspection equipment can affect OEE in the pharmaceutical industry.