The EASE center, with a shop floor of 46,000 square feet, including 21,500 square feet of white rooms, was designed as a real industrial site and has been open for training since September 2017. Located on the Illkirch campus, south of Strasbourg, France, it reproduces the constraints of white rooms—the sterile and classified zones in which drugs and health care products are manufactured.
The factory school maintains three drug production lines: oral solid doses (tablets and capsules), injectable sterile liquids, and biologics. In addition to production lines, the site will offer a quality control lab and all the utilities and production systems that enable real-condition simulations. The site is used to train operators from the industry as well as students in several fields, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fine chemistry, and agri-food processing.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is partnering with EASE (European Aseptic and Sterile Environment) to provide its expertise on performance improvement, lean management, and Industry 4.0–related tools. “In keeping with the six Innovation Centers for Operations [ICOs] operating in different countries—including the first pilot factory opened in Saclay, France, in 2016—this partnership enables EASE and BCG to promote technologies that improve the performance of industrial operations. This new site will notably address the challenges faced by players in the pharmaceutical industry by providing them with innovative solutions, enabling quantum leaps in performance in terms of quality, traceability, flexibility, ergonomics, and productivity,” said Moundir Rachidi, a director at BCG who heads up the firm’s Operations practice in France.
Implementing and integrating the Industry 4.0 technologies—most notably, advanced robotics, data analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, industrial internet, and simulation platforms—can increase industrial sites’ productivity by 15% to 20% while improving quality and flexibility.
“A successful shift toward Industry 4.0 depends on quality field training at all levels, from operators to plant managers. Strasbourg University provides all those players its educational expertise and research,” said Constance Perrot, EASE director.
The project benefits from the support of the State via the Investments for the Future program, as well as local and regional authorities, the European Regional Development Fund, and private partners. Located at the heart of a trinational region, the school factory benefits from the excellence of Strasbourg University, with its four active Nobel Prize–winning scientists: Jean-Pierre Sauvage (2016), Martin Karplus (2013), Jules A. Hoffmann (2011), and Jean-Marie Lehn (1987. “Combining academic excellence with consulting excellence should enable industrial companies to fully understand the integration of various solutions into the challenging environment of clean rooms,” said Moundir Rachidi.
This new ICO will help biopharma and regulated process industries address changes that affect their sites and operation strategies. On-site visits and training sessions will help these professionals to plan technology implementation and investments and to define their digitization roadmap.