Pfizer to Deploy VR, Robots, & Sterile Tech at its New $450M Injectables Plant
Pfizer Injectables Plant

Pfizer to Deploy VR, Robots, & Sterile Tech at its New $450M Injectables Plant

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Pfizer’s upcoming sterile injectables plant will acquaint new workers with the equipment and procedures without a need for them to set foot in the plant.

A virtual reality rendering of the facility will be used along with a headset such as Oculus or Google Glasses to familiarize the trainees with the plant’s environment. The experience will be “similar to a surgeon practicing for a complex surgical procedure,” said Pfizer’s Kalamazoo site lead, David Breen.

The pharma company’s Modular Aseptic Processing (MAP) facility in Portage, Michigan, will sport this technology along with a bunch of other innovations. The facility is dubbed as one of the most “technically advanced” sterile injectables plants in the world.

The new Portage factory will deploy advanced tech such as VR training, robotics, and the latest in isolator-based tech, which promises to keep products safe from contamination, Breen said.

The isolator-based high-speed filling tech will help keep things running smoothly and cleanly by guarding products against microbial or particulate contamination. It will also feature high-shear and low-shear mixing, closed manufacturing tanks, disposable single-use technology, direct load and unload lyophilizers, automated stopper processing, and robotic glass loading.

The painkiller, Dynastat, will be the first product to be manufactured at the plant, with more products and manufacturing capabilities to be added according to demand.

The VR training, the MAP facility, and all its major equipment are being designed using 3D software, which would then be rendered into 3D models for enhancement.

“Trainers can observe how the trainees are executing their tasks in the virtual environment and provide feedback on their performance,” Breen said. “They’ll have to show they’re proficient in the virtual plant before moving on to actual manufacturing runs.”

Pfizer is investing $450 million into the MAP facility in Portage, first announced back in 2018. The investment is a part of the company’s $5 billion earmarked for US-based capital projects.

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