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COVID-19: How emerging technologies will transform manufacturing in pharma companies

Rockwell Automation has created a common virtual platform to help pharma and other companies to truly experience digital transformation in the times of COVID-19 crisis

May 12, 2020 / 12:34 PM IST

We are living in extraordinary times. The COVID-19 situation has impacted the world, adversely affecting the economies and the businesses due to complete lockdown. As the total shutdown has halted daily operations, many organizations across several sectors are charting out different ways to minimize the shocks of the pandemic on the businesses.

One of many ways that companies especially in critical sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, can operate and meet the demands of the customers and partners is through Digital Transformation. Since pharma companies have to respond, recover and thrive in these unprecedented times, it is crucial for them to take the digital route.

Hence, to help pharma and other companies to truly experience digital transformation in the times of crisis, leading global leader in industrial automation and information, Rockwell Automation has created a common virtual platform where industry stalwarts from different domains, media, etc., can share in-depth overview of operationalizing digital transformation, share anecdotes, tactics and strategies to inspire customers and help their business take advantage of the digitalization of manufacturing.

In this backdrop, Rockwell Automation recently held an insightful virtual event on ‘De-risking Pharma manufacturing during Black Swan crisis’ where industry heads spoke at length about the future of manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry and how black swan events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have brought an urgency to shift to technology in conducting daily business operations.

Noted experts Dilip Sawhney, MD, Rockwell Automation India; SG Belapure, senior technical advisor, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance; Arup Ghosh, Head-Information Business Solutions, India & South-East Asia, Rockwell Automation; and Sabyasachi Goswami, Connected Services Commercial Leader-Asia Pacific, Rockwell Automation, during the webinar, deliberated on future of pharma manufacturing, use of emerging technologies such as automation, Augmented Reality ,data analytics, etc., to meet demands, solving supply chain issues, managing machine downturns while working remotely, maintaining social distancing, handling regulatory compliance and keeping an eye on cyber-security by creating a robust and secure network infrastructure.


The experts unanimously voiced that technology will bridge the confidence gap and automation will play a big role in the times to come.

“Role of new technologies that we’ve been witnessing in last 4-5 years that really comes to the fore. Also, we have to imagine those scenarios which create remote collaboration through the virtual space. We’ve seen excellent use cases where Augmented Reality is allowing people to collaborate together and conduct operations in a safe manner,” said Sawhney. He said technology such as remote assistance tools will also help in real-time decision making.

Besides automation and analytics, Augmented Reality (AR) will also play a pivotal role in remote collaboration and meeting customer demand. For instance, through AR, an expert sitting in any corner of the world will be able to guide a technician present on the ground on an array of issues related to machinery.

This kind of technology will enhance collaboration and resource allocation.

“Supply chain will definitely change. The government is also insisting on the backward integration related to the API supplies. Also, the Indian industry is gearing up to take this challenge. Next six months, you can see lot of changes in the API industry. Automation will require some kinds of investments and these investments will come, bigger companies will be able to do it earlier followed by the smaller ones as this will be need of the hour,” said Belapure.

Meanwhile, Arup Ghosh, Head-Information Solutions Business, India & South-East Asia, Rockwell Automation gave a detailed presentation on ‘Digital Rises to the Challenges of Pandemic’ and spoke at length how pharma companies can meet increased demand in the times of crisis.

“You can meet the increased demand by addressing two key issues- increased productivity of assets and machines i.e. preventing downtime and second is you are producing right. These two issues can be addressed through advanced technologies related to analytics, machine learning, etc. So, we leverage data from the operations and assets and build predictive models and use machine learning and algorithms to comes up with predictive analysis,” said Ghosh.

Rockwell Automation is offering a free Remote Assistance with Augmented Reality from its factory talk innovation suite-powered by PTC to help manufacturers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the modern technologies can help organisation thrive in case of black swan events, they can also cause certain cyber security issues. To address them, Sabyasachi Goswami, Connected Services Commercial Leader-Asia Pacific, Rockwell Automation, gave inroads into Managing Cybersecurity in the Times of Crisis.

“A cyber security approach doesn’t mean that we just hire a hardware or a software and it is end of the journey. It is a continuous process. You have to look at the whole ‘attack continuum’ and identify & protect asset inventory services, detect real-time threat detection services, and respond and recover,” said Goswami.

Meanwhile, experts also took questions during the webinar, which was attended by over 250 people. Speakers at the event included some well-known names such as Nilesh Amrutkar, Head Project Management, Jubilant Life Sciences, M. Sriramamurthy, VP – IT, Mylan Laboratories Ltd and moderated by Vikas Dandekar, ET Prime. The Q&A session was also held to test the knowledge of the audience members.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. We connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what is humanly possible, making the world more productive and more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs approximately 23,000 problem solvers dedicated to our customers in more than 100 countries. To learn more about how we are bringing The Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit
first published: May 12, 2020 12:34 pm

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