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Science Made Me… have robots and colleagues cooperate
People are at their best when they can work creatively, make decisions and solve problems. And while we all have our much-loved routines that make our day, performing the same repetitive tasks at work is usually not among them. So what if smart automation could free up people's time and enable them to make more valuable contributions?
Can't a robot do this?
For Sarthak, it is clear that these repetitive tasks should be reserved for robots. "We are able to ensure the safety of our operators, which in turn also ensures the reliability of our processes, the robustness of our production lines, and in the end ensures that we can consistently keep sending out safe products to our patients outside in the market." At Grünenthal, it is his job to design, build and implement those robots. He is driving digital transformation and automation to gear our manufacturing processes up for the future. "Digitalization is a part of the world that we live in now. (…) We are embracing digitalization in various areas within the organization, and we need to continue doing it because that's what's going to help us continue growing and also be relevant in this market today." Why should a colleague in our production site lift boxes of up to 20KG each if a "collaborative robot", a CoBot, can do it instead? Implementing these tireless helpers in one of our production facilities and training colleagues to work with them was one of Sarthak's latest projects. "It's easy to use. It works along the people without a big safety fence and really made sure that we can actually do something more reliably, something safer without affecting the line's performance." Now, he and his colleagues are back on the production floor looking for tasks and processes that unnecessarily tie up time.
Born into a passion for engineering
"I grew up in India and had a chance to also live in Hong Kong and Singapore as I was growing up, so it really gave me a good perspective of the world that is out there today." He has been in Germany for over five years, working at Grünenthal since 2020. When he left university he worked on building solutions and products for manufacturing companies in India, many of which remain in place in large companies today. Sarthak found his passion in working with clients and delivering innovative technology to help them overcome their challenges. From an early age, Sarthak was drawn to technology, robots and engineering. This was largely influenced by his father, a successful engineer and sales leader. He passed his passion on to his son, telling him bedtime stories about automation, robots and controllers.
And now that the CoBots are in place, what are the colleagues' new jobs?
Grünenthal has embarked on a transformational journey over the last few years. As part of its M&A strategy, the company has acquired several established brands – partly including their manufacturing and packaging. In addition, our Contract Manufacturing Business is growing steadily, with more and more partners putting their trust in our Global Operation team to produce medicines for patients around the world. As a result, the volumes at Grünenthal's manufacturing sites are growing significantly. Robots and automated processes are not replacing colleagues, they free up their time, so they can complete more sophisticated tasks that require a human to make decisions.