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The Benefits of EMS Systems in Pharmaceutical Labs and Office Spaces

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Jon Schoenfeld

A pharmaceutical facility is a sensitive environment where you, as a manager or contractor, can simply not afford to let things go wrong. That’s why a comprehensive monitoring solution that spans everything from temperature and equipment functioning to security is critical for success.

While a conventional building management system (BMS) plays an important role in control of basic BMS equipment and devices, an environmental monitoring system (EMS) is critical for monitoring a pharmaceutical lab or medical facility’s environment. Maintaining an effective EMS system in pharma is necessary for protecting and streamlining laboratory operations, maintaining temperature levels, and meeting compliance regulations from governing bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO). 

For example, successful manufacturing of today’s advanced vaccines relies on accurate and stable temperatures in both laboratory and storage environments. If equipment is overheating or a refrigeration station fails, you must be able to take swift corrective action to preserve the integrity of the products. With little room for error, continuous monitoring, prioritized alerts, and proactive maintenance are invaluable in these sensitive environments. 

The Key Benefits of an EMS System in Pharma

A well-integrated EMS can help you address many of the environmental concerns related to maintaining a laboratory and manufacturing operation in a way that is not only highly efficient but works in compliance with industry regulations. Advanced analytics should lie at the heart of this system. 

An advanced analytics platform allows for deep visibility into your facilities’ complex networks of equipment, sensors, and devices. Via a centralized dashboard, these platforms can provide meaningful, real-time insights, open up opportunities for greater automation, and support more intelligent system management. In the pharmaceutical industry, some of the most important benefits include:

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental conditions play a role in the efficacy of countless pharmaceuticals and the functionality of sensitive equipment. Monitoring temperature, humidity, and other environmental concerns is therefore key to ensuring product safety. With intelligent analysis of data drawn from centrally-connected sensors, your critical production areas will be protected.

  • Temperature. From manufacturing to administration, many pharmaceutical products require specific thermal environments and must be guarded against any shifts in ideal temperature range. Microprocessor-based temperature controls can be implemented with digital temperature sensors to prevent compromising these products. 

Temperature sensors connected to your digital network can monitor for: 

    • Excessively high or low temperatures 
    • Rising temperatures approaching an alarming or dangerous range
    • Exterior temperatures that could compromise to your indoor operations
    • Current status and historical logs for equipment such as:
      • Refrigerators
      • Chillers
      • Freezers
      • Incubators

Temperature monitoring and controls are a key component of an EMS system in pharma and can go a long way in supporting your efforts to meet stringent regulations.

  • Humidity. Humidity is important to monitor on both ends of the spectrum. Low humidity, or not enough moisture in the air, can result in high static electricity. On the flip side, high humidity or too much moisture can result in bacteria growth which is especially dangerous in a lab setting. Generally, humidity should be somewhere between 30 to 50 percent.
  • Pressurization. Differential air pressure sensors installed and monitored properly can assist in maintaining proper airflow for isolation and quarantine zones.
  • Filtration and Sterilization. Pharmaceutical manufacturing environments must be kept free from contaminants via filtration and sterilization. Particulate monitoring for clean rooms, TVOC monitoring for all laboratories, and proper sterilization ensure cleanliness, safety, and sterile production batches. 

Through advanced analytics, you can identify problems early—often before they compromise production—and identify necessary controls for equipment, materials, and operational procedures. Identifying and addressing zone setpoints for each of your critical areas and laboratory elements will help you protect your resources.

The Right Analytics Platform for Pharmaceutical Laboratories

Now more than ever, medical and pharmaceutical resources need to be protected. Whether you’re a major pharmaceutical manufacturer or a small compounding pharmacy, you need to monitor and protect every aspect of your operation. Optimizing EMS in pharma requires integrating an intelligent analytics platform, like onPoint. 

onPoint offers a centralized solution that enables you to get beyond siloed operations and provides a consolidated approach to more easily achieve regulatory compliance. This innovative platform gives you deep, actionable insight into all major aspects of your operation, allowing you to improve maintenance and troubleshooting processes and transform your facilities management approach. Not only will your facilities be protected, but you can ensure more seamless integration of your assets with automated, controlled responses aligned with your operational requirements.

By working closely with your team, Buildings IOT can implement standards-based intelligent analytics, monitoring, and controls that enhance your pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, laboratory spaces and your total operations, now and in the long term. 

Buildings IOT offers innovative technologies and services to create the comprehensive EMSs needed in modern pharmaceutical manufacturing. Contact our team of experts today.

 

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