New Equipment: Deciding on Custom vs. Default Automation

You’re specifying new bioreactor equipment. Time to consider automation options: Should you buy the off the shelf automation package or customize it to match your process? Are those your only two options?

Speed and cost make the off the shelf option very attractive. Everything needed to get going is in the box (mostly). Your automation team just needs to hook up the system to your existing data infrastructure to collect equipment process data, alarms, and events. However, the main obstacle to overcome is non-obvious and needs to be resolved way back at the initial equipment quoting stage. You must have a savvy automation expert to ensure the interface, licensing, and data capabilities are included when comparing vendor quotes.

But immediate costs are short-sighted when equipment life cycles are measured in decades. This new skid is going to be with you a very long time. You’ll need flexibility to changing product lines and eventually scaling up with the growth. This company future vision doesn’t appear on budget sheet.

A custom automation solution give you exactly what you want now and provides future flexibility. Avoid vendor lock-in, build your system on standard industry automation platforms to ensure easy access to internal, first-party, and third-party support. Documentation and acceptance testing can be leveraged by QA and help support future upgrades. The added benefit of the end result is tighter integration into your existing systems or be a great first of kind to build out the rest of the cell manufacturing line.

The benefits of a custom solution also extend to your data infrastructure, electronic batch reports, and released by exception for QA. Key process points will be invade available and formatted for easy integration into existing systems.

Plus you’re operators will love you. And a happy operator is a productive operator!

Lucid automation as the end to end experience to make your project successful. From equipment quoting to validating the new skid, we are here to represent you.

Marie Fiala, Jacob Brunner, or Bill Mueller are highly experienced with representing our Life Science partners. Let’s see what we can do for you and your team.