The Benefits of Waterproof and Sanitizable Devices for Manufacturing Industries that Require More Compliance

Ryan Spurr

Some manufacturing industries require more capabilities than the typical end-user device can offer when it comes to modern manufacturing processes. This couldn’t be truer than in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. While many industries require end-user products that meet specific durability, reliability, and useability requirements, these industries go even further with particular prerequisites that comply with safety, health, and regulatory requirements.

Devices for the Pharmaceutical Industry

In biopharmaceuticals, manufacturers are faced with similar challenges as they digitize operations and comply with standards such as the current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). In these cases, the sanitization agents required in the research and manufacturing processes vary depending on what is being handled but generally require an aseptic and sterile process. For example, cleaning spores, viruses, bacteria, or fungi might require sporicidal disinfectants. In any sterilization procedure, careful consideration is placed into the types of devices purchased, how easy those devices are to clean, and how the devices will hold up to repeated sanitization with damaging chemicals that can quickly destroy traditional end-user devices.

Devices for the Food and Beverage Industry

In food and beverage, manufacturers are deploying new enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution system (MES) platforms to more efficiently address food traceability and safety requirements associated with the US Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) or Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) standards. Many of these organizations are replacing manual or paper-based processes with new electronic methods or possibly deploying end-user digital solutions into factories for the first time. Depending on the type of food and beverage manufacturer, you may have requirements to wash down your facilities, manufacturing line, and associated equipment. Traditional devices are not designed for liquids, high pressure, and sanitization chemicals necessary to ensure the facilities are safe and meet food quality standards.

Evolving Employee Needs and Expectations

Meeting compliance and safety requirements is always essential. Still, another consideration has been brewing for years: delivering an outstanding employee experience that aids in process and job productivity, while also acting as a tool in workforce acquisition and retainment. Next-generation and top talent want to leverage the best processes and toolsets available. Hiring an outstanding worker only to outfit them with paper, outdated methods, and lackluster technology is increasingly considered unacceptable in a competitive market.

In addition to the “latest and greatest,” this may also imply tailoring the end-user device experience to the job role and its everyday duties. For example, providing a traditional fixed computer to a maintenance or process engineer whose sole purpose is to travel the facility to identify and solve problems may not be ideal. Instead, consider a range of devices that meet the employee in the way they work best regarding their job duties, culture, mobility, and personal expectations.

Job Roles We Should Consider Optimizing

Don’t forget about the many support roles necessary for keeping facilities operational and optimized. In addition to the traditional operator role, consider how we make higher paid roles more efficient every day by using technologies designed to comply and perform in these same environments.

  • Management, Supervisory, and Process Engineers
  • Maintenance and Controls Engineers
  • Environmental Safety and Health Managers
  • Quality and Continuous Improvement

Headless Devices Matter Too

It’s also essential to take into consideration headless devices in these spaces. With a rise in smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, and increasing objectives to connect, integrate, and orchestrate data across operations, manufacturers in these industries require a different breed of edge compute devices that withstand environmental conditions.

Survive and Thrive: Devices to Meet Manufacturing Compliance

Fortunately, manufacturers no longer need to decide between end-user experience and compliance. Today’s devices come in a wide range of form factors from traditional fixed terminals, touchscreens, input devices like smart scanners, edge compute devices, and tablets designed to comply with the harsh rigors of these environments, adhere to or exceed compliance, and tailor the experience to the specific job role.

These devices also support a wide range of operating conditions, sanitization procedures, harsh environments and are waterproof to meet even the most stringent sterilization scenarios associated with food, beverage, and pharmaceutical. If your business is looking for next-generation devices that also meet industry compliance for safety and sanitization, engage Connection’s Manufacturing Practice to learn more about this technology, available services, and the many use cases that may benefit your organization.

Ryan Spurr is the Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Connection with 20+ years of experience in manufacturing, information technology, and portfolio leadership. He leads the Connection Manufacturing Practice, go-to-market strategy, client engagement, and advisory services focusing on operational technology (OT) and information technology that make manufacturers more digitally excellent.