GSK picks Siemens as preferred supplier of automation tech

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has hitched its automation plans to Siemens. The deal makes Siemens the preferred automation supplier for production and R&D sites at GSK, positioning the conglomerate to shape how its partner incorporates advances in data integration into its operations.

Siemens pitches its automation offering as a suite of hardware and software tools manufacturers can use to make their sites more efficient and productive. Systems for collecting, analyzing and acting on data are central to the endeavor. In the case of GSK, Siemens is to apply its automation toolbox to process control, equipment control and building management systems, areas in which the partners think automation can improve operations. Automation at all of GSK's manufacturing and R&D pilot plants could be affected by the deal.

The shift toward the use of automated systems has been underway at sites for years. What the Siemens deal does is focus a larger proportion of GSK's automation projects on a single supplier, cutting the risk of developing a complex patchwork of systems. "One of our objectives is to simplify and standardize the automation space by identifying a small number of systems and suppliers and this is the first step on our journey to achieving this," Dave Tudor, leader of the global automation steering team at GSK, said in a statement.

Siemens is the first company GSK has added publicly to this small number of suppliers. Coming on board at this stage has allowed Siemens to hive off a clutch of areas in which it will work closely with GSK. Siemens listed modular manufacturing, batch sterile facility blueprint, machine and production line optimization and manufacturing blueprint for different dosage forms as the four areas in which it will work with GSK most intensively.

- read the release (PDF)