Monday, 17 March 2014

Food & Pharma symposium!

More than 70 automation and control professionals gathered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA last week at the inaugural ISA Food and Pharmaceuticals Industries Division (FPID) Symposium to learn how to address emerging serialization requirements and supply chain processes that are driving major changes in global food and pharmaceuticals distribution.

A view of ISA's impressive HQ at RTP
Research Triangle Park, a globally acclaimed epicenter of high-tech research and development, served as the ideal setting for the symposium given that it is home to many prominent, industry-leading pharmaceutical companies as well as to ISA headquarters. In addition to featuring 23 expert speaker and technical presentations with panel discussions, a well-represented vendor exhibit, and two ISA training courses, the event included tours of local companies so attendees could view first hand many of the recommended automation processes and techniques discussed.

During the two-day symposium, noted experts and guest speakers explained the importance of automation to reduce errors and implement enhanced serialization controls to improve tracking and tracing throughout distribution channels. Specific technologies and methodologies were discussed along with examples of their use. Many of the most effective approaches involve highly coordinated strategies that incorporate automation, supply chain management, and information analysis and security.
Delegates during a break in the main entrance area of ISA HQ
Two highly popular ISA training courses were conducted during the two-day event: Implementing Enterprise/Control Integration Using ANSI/ISA95 Standards (IC55C) and Introduction to Applying the Batch Control Standard ANSI/ISA88.01 (IC40C).

“Our team really enjoyed the conference,” says Eric V. Mayer of Avid Solutions, a developer of automation and information solutions. “The quality of the presentations was outstanding and right on point with the theme and focus of the conference. We were impressed with the experience and expertise of the attendees, many of whom were high-level engineers and technologies with substantial experience in the automation and MES industry.”
John Hamel of Parsec Automation Corp., a developer of real-time operations and performance management software, echoed these comments, saying the meeting was “well organized with great presentations. We look forward to attending future ISA FPID events.”

Assisting ISA headquarters in conducting this year’s symposium were the Tar Heel Section of ISA, which provided numerous volunteers, and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), which contributed valuable technical content and served as an event sponsor and exhibitor.

In addition to the technical sessions and training opportunities, attendees were treated to:

Tours of two area companies, Biogen Idec and Lonerider Brewery
Attendees received a first-hand look the US Manufacturing and Patient Services Operations of Biogen Idec’s RTP-based facility. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the world’s oldest independent biotechnology company. The company discovers therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hemophilia and autoimmune disorders. Patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis therapies.

Attendees also made a tour of the Lonerider Brewery beer-making operations in Raleigh, NC. The conference visitors witnessed all stages of the beer-brewing and bottling processes.

An award ceremony
At a conference award ceremony, Andre Michel was named 2013 ISA FPID Member of the Year for his contributions as division webmaster and editor of ISA’s FPID newsletter.

Two networking luncheons and an exhibitors’ reception
Two networking luncheons were held, providing attendees the opportunity to mingle and interact personally with colleagues as well as conference presenters.

In addition, an exhibitors’ reception enabled leading vendors to demonstrate their newest products and services in a casual, social setting. Participating exhibitors included Avanceon, ESP, Laetus, Parsec Automation, Mangan, Rockwell Automation, Brilling Systems, Inc., Avid Solutions, Prime Technologies, the ISPE Carolina-South Atlantic Chapter and the Tar Heel Section of ISA.

Next year!
ISA is pleased to announce that next year’s ISA FPID Symposium will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in early March. Symposium and division leaders are already recruiting volunteers, participants and speakers for the event. Updates and more information will be posted on the ISA website.

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