Siemens: New Pfizer plant in Freiburg is 40% more energy efficient thanks to Siemens technology

June 13, 2023. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has opened a new high-containment production facility in Freiburg, Germany, which is one of the most modern and sustainable of its kind with technology and services from Siemens. The facility, which can produce up to seven billion tablets annually for more than 180 countries, uses an innovative containment concept that is monitored and controlled by Building Services from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio. This ensures personnel safety and results in a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption for environmental control compared to a conventional plant.

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Pfizer's new high-containment production facility in Freiburg, Germany. (Photo: Pfizer)

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The Desigo CC building management platform is the technological backbone of the plant’s intelligent building infrastructure and acts as a central control center for integrating different systems and devices as well as for process automation. In this way, systems can communicate and cooperate with each other. Data from the production process as well as from the building is collected and visualized in one place.

“All machines and processes are intelligently networked through information and communication technologies, enabling the Pfizer plant in Freiburg to produce more flexibly, faster and with less resource consumption,” said Gunther Bechmann, Senior Manager Operations Manufacturing, Pfizer Freiburg. “The constructive cooperation on this project has once again confirmed and expanded the long-standing partnership between Pfizer and Siemens.”

High-containment plants are designed for the safe production of drugs with highly potent ingredients that must be handled with the utmost care. At the Pfizer plant, Building Services from Siemens monitor and control a special containment concept that brings together several trades such as power distribution, ventilation, air conditioning and heating. Thanks to this concept and the technology used, Pfizer can manufacture drugs in the OEB4 category (Occupational Exposure Bands Four), with employees only needing protective clothing in the OEB3 level. This creates optimal production conditions while ensuring maximum safety for personnel and increasing efficiency.

“Our work with Pfizer on the new facility in Freiburg clearly shows how an intelligent mix of technology and services can lead to exactly the right results. And that’s even in a demanding industry like pharmaceuticals, where speed, consistent quality and safety are essential,” said Dave Hopping, CEO, Solutions and Services, Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “The result is a faster, more flexible and more competitive plant that sets new standards for state-of-the-art, sustainable pharmaceutical production.”

The combination of Desigo CC with SIMATIC WinCC, a scalable process visualization system, enables the exchange of production-related data between the production systems and the visualization system. Production-related data from the building management platform is transferred to the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, while information from other production systems can be fed into Desigo CC and used for predictive control functions in the building automation systems.

Through this connection, building management data can be used in the central management system and can be retrieved from the individual production areas at any time. Thanks to networking and visualization of the data, the production facility consumes around 40 percent less energy than conventional systems when it comes to climate control, as the air flows and temperature requirements in individual zones are intelligently controlled.

As part of Siemens Xcelerator, Building Services is a portfolio of on-site and remote services that improve building operations and maintenance through data-driven, results-oriented service programs. Siemens Xcelerator is an open digital business platform to accelerate digital transformation. It includes a curated portfolio, partner ecosystem and marketplace to accelerate value creation in industry, buildings, networks and mobility.

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Photo: Pfizer


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