Building Automation for Greenfield Manufacturing Site Pharma

ICT Group opts for a phased approach and fulfils a supporting role as a sparring partner

  • 27 March 2024
  • 7 min

ICT Group is collaborating with a pharmaceutical company to establish an entirely new production facility. 

This partnership focuses on developing an advanced automation system that leverages the latest Industry 4.0 technologies, with the additional goal of minimizing operational costs.


ICT Group Industry started the project with an informative and exploratory phase to define the automation landscape and to draw up the general user requirements specifications (URS) for the automation. Because it was a greenfield operation, a broad orientation on the market was the starting point. Industry 4.0 innovations and state-of-the-art automation software offer many opportunities to develop a highly advanced factory. Therefore, ICT Group gathered business priorities and technical needs and wishes for the new factory in order to get a good idea of the appropriate solution. This resulted in the definition of the required automation functionality and how to meet it within individual applications and automation systems.

4 Critical Systems

In the second phase, ICT Group worked out the user requirements in detail for 4 crucial systems: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Laboratory Information and Management System (LIMS), Alarm Notification System and Line Monitoring System (LMS). The LMS is a “smarter” alternative to an MES, where the system does not require the full range of execution capabilities of a traditional MES. Based on the results, ICT Group has described a roadmap and an architecture in a 'big picture' for this complex project.

Selection and decision-making

In the third phase, ICT Group conducts extensive market research and assists with system selection. The engineers first made longlists of suppliers for the desired system. After a screening based on the URS, they compiled a shortlist and organised meetings and product demonstrations to choose the most suitable system and suppliers. During the same period, ICT Group assisted the client in the decision-making process and meetings with pharma process equipment suppliers like Thermofischer, Syntegon and Pall. Central to this was the guarantee that the automation modules (PLC and SCADA) in their equipment meet the customer's needs in terms of interoperability, maintenance and security.

Sparring partner

In addition to technical support, ICT Group acts as the sparring partner that helps the customer with all questions and problems that arise during this complex project. By opting for a phased approach in close cooperation with the client, ICT Group was able to roll out a controlled process from exploration to selection. ICT Group's in-depth domain expertise in the field of automation and pharmaceuticals combined with the customer's market knowledge are the prerequisites for a successful greenfield operation.

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