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Interview with Giovanni Polosa from Mectron about Robotics and IoT

Giovanni Polosa is Chief Operations Officer at Mectron S.p.A. The interview was conducted in preparation of Pharma TechOps USA, taking place on March 7-8, 2019 in San Diego. 

Giovanni talks about his aims as an Operations Manager at Mectron: to deliver good products with the shortest time-to-make and to reduce loss by effectively applying a lean production method.

we.CONECT: What is your role in your company? Do you work in a defined team and how does it relate with other departments in the company?

Polosa: I’m the Operation Manager: the role involves different departments, such as Production, Supply Chain, Maintenance, Quality and After Sales. For this reason my role is deeply connected to all departments in my company.

we.CONECT: Your World Café at Pharma TechOps USA discusses the development of a maintenance strategy for a fully automated and robotics supported manufacturing line. To what extent has Mectron implemented robotics in the production process? Where do you see the company in 5 years on this road to robotization?

Polosa: For Mectron, the main reason for automatization is not to decrease cost or to increase production, but it is to reduce the time-to-make. In our field, it’s very important to be the first to develop a product. Our time to develop 1 product from the idea to the prototype was too long. We started the automatization process in order to reduce the time from prototype to mass production. In the past it took us 2 months to get the prototype, today the delivery time has become 24hours. In the near future we can customize our products more and more because the delivery time has become so short. The customer can give us his idea and we can make it real.

we.CONECT: Which technologies should medical devices manufacturers best invest in? Is there any priority between AI, robotics, or machine learning?

Polosa: In my opinion the company has to try to choose the core of the product and to verticalize production, machine learning and robotics in such a way to reduce the cost and improve quality – but above all it’s important to improve the knowledge on the product itself.

we.CONECT: Most large manufacturing companies are running Industry 4.0 pilot projects but many of these projects fail to be implemented successfully. Only a few are actually rolled out on a large scale. What do you think are the reasons for such a low success rate? Is this also applicable to the pharmaceutical industry, which is known for its thorough evaluations?

Polosa: In my opinion, the way to achieve an improvement is to follow a path based on mentality and knowledge; if these 2 components are missing, there’s no way to implement Industry 4.0 successfully. In the medical field, the lean mentality is still lagging behind compared to the automotive.

we.CONECT: Has your company successfully implemented pilot projects which make use of IoT architecture? Do you have recommendations how to prevent ‘pilot purgatory’?

Polosa: We are now running Industry 4.0, we started implementing new technologies and all machines are connected with MRP and with IOT. We started to apply IOT in production and on the final products. I am convinced that knowledge is the best recommendation to prevent such “purgatory”. It’s also important to buy good machines from good partners and these machines have to drove with supply.

we.CONECT: Does your company have a Predictive Maintenance strategy in place? What were the prerequisites to adopt this strategy? Are there any simple methods for gathering and analyzing data efficiently?

Polosa: We started with the machine legend. I’ll give a wide introduction on this method in my World Café Session on March 8, at Pharma TechOps USA.

February 18, 2019.