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Jennifer Markarian is manufacturing editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Cloudleaf's Digital Visibility Platform can track which track location and additional environmental information, such as temperature, vibration, and shock, of sensors placed on raw material containers.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) uses sensors to send digital information directly to machines to automate processes. Intelligent sensors are designed to analyze the data before sending it to the cloud, explains Mahesh Veerina, CEO of Cloudleaf, which uses intelligent sensor networks, artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning, and advanced analytics to provide supply chain visibility. The company, which has been focusing on industrial and pharmaceutical manufacturing, announced in August 2019 that it had secured $26 million in funding to expand its Digital Visibility Platform (DVP) to provide continuous, real-time visibility for the supply chain (1).
“Currently visibility in the supply chain industry is at best only about 20%. DVP can take this to 100% visibility,” claims Veerina.
In bio/pharmaceutical manufacturing, the sensors can be attached to raw material containers, which track their location as well as additional environmental information, such as temperature, vibration, and shock. At one facility for processing blood plasma, for example, the company’s system is being used to track the plasma, which is the raw material for the finished drug product, as it moves through the plant during processing. The material is kept at cold temperatures and can only be exposed to ambient temperature for a limited time period. Each material bin has a sensor that sends data to the cloud, where an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm determines and predicts if action needs to be taken to prevent an excursion. The goal is to reduce infractions in material handling and minimize material loss, says Veerina.
The platform can be useful for any sensitive pharmaceutical product that requires a cold chain, including vaccines or cell and gene therapies, he adds. Besides tracking and noting condition excursions, data can be used to identify inefficiencies and improve the manufacturing and transit process. “Once you have baseline data, AI can identify anomalies and continue to learn,” explains Veerina.
1. Cloudleaf, “Cloudleaf Announces $26 Million Series B Funding – Intel Capital and WRVI Capital Lead Investment to Drive Market Expansion of Cloudleaf Supply Chain Digital Visibility Platform,” Press Release, Aug. 7, 2019.