Mettler-Toledo has been investing significantly in Industry 4.0

Sanjoy Mallik, General Manager, Mettler-Toledo India, interacts with Express Pharma about the company's products, services, operations, challenges faced and future plans, amidst more

What, according to you, are the major issues, faced by the people in the pharma industry for which you provide your products and services?

Brand protection and avoiding product recalls through physically-contaminated products/ incorrect packaging/missing supply chain transparency are some of the major challenges faced by today’s pharma industry.

Some of our latest solutions to address these issues include the X34C X-ray inspection system, which is designed specifically for the detection of contaminants in pharma blister packs and sachets at high-speed. The X34C provides multiple benefits. It is compact, operates at high speed (120 metres per minute) plus the 0.4mm diode detector and 100W Optimum Power Generator maximises the probability of detecting small contaminants and helps to reduce the False Reject Rate. As it can inspect and reject single products straight after they exit the flow wrapper or sealer, this not only reduces waste, because single items, rather than multi-packs, can be rejected, but it also allows the manufacturer to maintain high levels of productivity at this critical point of the production line. In addition, the X34C can be connected to our ProdX data management software, which supports supply chain digitalisation, compliance with 21CFR Part 11 and traceability.

Other innovation to help address quality assurance checks such as check-weighing at high throughputs is the Mettler-Toledo C-Series check-weighing systems. These are now equipped with addition of new load cell technology that allows them to achieve industry-leading throughputs. The FlashCell load cells weigh products at speeds of up to 800ppm, with pharma regulation compliant precision.

To help support transparency, all our product inspection systems monitor and record all inspection activities in real-time. In addition, ProdX provides additional security features, digital track and trace, automatic performance testing and real-time logging of test and compliance data.

How can Mettler-Toledo meet the high throughput demands from the growing pharma industry in India?

With increasing export and domestic demand, Indian pharma companies require faster, efficient high-speed packing and inspection equipment. Mettler-Toledo can address this demand through its high-speed checkweighing and X-ray inspection portfolio with a throughput of more than 500 packs/min. Our combination product inspection solution, checkweighing and X-ray inspection within one machine, not only accommodates manufacturing space constraints, but also meets the needs of high-speed checkweighing and foreign body contamination detection requirements.

How far has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Mettler Toledo’s business? What is the current growth status of the company?

We successfully navigated challenges in the global supply chain to meet customer demands. Our culture of agility and execution further reinforced our brand while our strong results allowed us to make important investments for future growth. We also furthered our great track record on environment, social and governance initiatives by committing to establish science-based targets to drive greater reductions in our impact on the environment. Challenges remain in the global supply chain and we remain cautious aboutCOVID-19 and its ultimate impact on the global economy. Post-pandemic, we have also noticed a boost in opportunities linked directly to an increase in need for medicines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. This has also resulted in an improved presence of Mettler-Toledo brand across all channels (online and offline).

We are confident in our strategic growth and margin initiatives and our ability to gain market share. We believe we are well-positioned to deliver strong results in 2022 and beyond.

Tell us about some of the trends that are being observed in the industry. How long could these last?

We see a trend in the growth of liquid pharma medication. The liquid pharma market has been growing due to the importance of biologics and cancer drugs that are produced more effectively in liquid form. Historically, drugs were produced in solid form, which takes years of development to ensure shelf-life stable solid doses. As demand has pushed for faster-to-market drugs, manufacturers must keep pace with production methods to make that happen. The market has changed, and the production of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a catalyst for change in producing more liquid pharmaceuticals directly into bottles, vials and ampules as standard packaging formats. This trend is there to continue to meet the demands of the growing lifestyle diseases. Automation is one of the key trends which is in demand, which will lead to an increase in production, improvement in efficiency, and reduce wastage/overfill. This will call for more online, high-speed, reliable and reproducible product inspection and checkweighing equipment.

As far as pharma products are concerned, what is Mettler-Toledo’s domain knowledge? Give us a brief about the company’s operations in India.

We continue to work closely with our customers to help them comply with their quality management programmes. We invest a lot of effort in educating the industry to not only be more compliant, but also to keep improving productivity and efficiency. This is backed by our significant investments in our people, both in terms of their own competence and their availability to share their knowledge with our customers.

With the increasing demand for digitalisation, Mettler-Toledo has been investing significantly in Industry 4.0. Most of our equipment is Industry 4.0- ready and can be integrated with any of the MES systems.

Further, since we are in the business of “End of Line Inspection Equipment,” we are sensitive to the need for prompt customer support. We have two state-of-the-art competence centres in Mumbai for customer training, product testing, and in-house competence enhancement of our sales and service teams. We have a network of well-trained service engineers who are located near most of the industrial clusters. The engineers are backed by an in-house technical support team. All customer service requests are managed centrally through a modern call management system. We also invest a significant effort in training our customers so that they can deploy our equipment optimally.

Tell us about your expansion plans, and products in the pipeline.

Mettler-Toledo will continue to focus on Combined Product Inspection solutions; for example, a checkweigher with either a metal detection system or X-ray inspection. These technology solutions help customers to ensure that their pharma products are at the correct weight, are free from physical contaminants, at the right fill level and contain all components within the pack e.g. information leaflet.

Following the launch of our next-generation Electromagnetic Force Restoration (EMFR) FlashCellTM load cell technology, we will also continue to help manufacturers incorporate this technology into their processing lines. FlashCellTM load cells weigh products at high speeds of up to 800ppm, with pharma regulation-compliant precision. This technology is included with our C-Series checkweighing systems, which can match the speed of industry leading cartoners to carry out completeness checks for lightweight blister packs. This quality assurance measure ensures that manufacturers can detect if even one extremely lightweight component such as a drug leaflet or vaccine shot is missing. As quality assurance checks are carried out at high throughputs, manufacturers can rest assured that productivity levels are fully optimised.

We also continue to design flexible product inspection solutions that can be adapted to different production lines. One such innovation is the X34C X-ray inspection system designed specifically for the detection of contaminants in pharma blister packs and sachets at high-speed. It is based on three design principles:

Compact Footprint: It has a footprint of just 700mm in length, which includes an integrated reject. This means that the X34C can be installed into production lines where space is at a premium.
High-Speed Capabilities: The X34C can operate at 120 metres per minute.
Precise Performance: The optimised focal distance of the 0.4mm diode detector and 100W Optimum Power Generator maximises the probability of detecting small contaminants and helps to reduce the False Reject Rate.

Industry 4.0METTLER TOLEDOSanjoy Mallik
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  • soundos

    I love your great blog, thanks a lot and keep up the good work.