The Next Level
of Pharmaceutical

The Solids Launch Factory, a highly automated smart factory, is the latest addition to the production network of Boehringer Ingelheim. It will help bring innovative medicines to market faster than before.

Anyone standing in front of the Solids Launch Factory (SOL) at the Ingelheim site in Germany quickly understands that this building is different: The futuristic production facility with the large window front on the ground floor and the minimalist white and grey surfaces on the upper floor makes a fresh and clean impression. However, the impressive technology is only revealed once you enter the new building.

The SOL consists of three floors: In the basement, there are technical and storage rooms as well as changing rooms. Additional technical, office, and common rooms can be found on the top floor. The ground floor is where the heart of the new factory is located: the production facilities. Here, everything is equipped with the latest technologies to produce tablets (solids) for the market. A total of around 75 employees work here.

“Within our company’s global production network, we in Ingelheim are responsible for the market launch of all new products,” said Dr. Anja Preißmann, Head of Human Pharma Supply Launch & Innovation. “Thanks to the flexible and innovative design of the SOL and the close links with the Development teams, we can bring our new products to market faster than before. This is not only a competitive advantage for our company, but also of benefit to patients worldwide.”

The special thing about the SOL is its design as a smart factory: All machinery and equipment are fully connected through digital networks and nearly all processes control themselves. Accordingly, the new factory can react independently to changing conditions, based on production data, quality parameters, and environmental conditions. “This is an enormous opportunity for us,” explained Holger Holakovsky, Head of SOL. “We under­stand more quickly what is happening in the factory and can thus react immediately. Another improvement is that we can predict how processes will develop under different conditions.”

What is a smart factory?

A smart factory is an automated factory, where the machinery and equipment are fully connected through digital networks. Due to these digital connections and the software implemented, the smart factory can improve processes through automation and self-optimization.