US$365 million has been poured into a new smart factory that is going to be constructed in New Albany, Ohio. The 270,000 square foot facility will begin construction later this year and received funding from Big Pharma Amgen. The company has hopes of employing 400 people at the facility which is set to be Amgen’s “most advanced” assembly and final product packaging capabilities and will tackle the last manufacturing steps for U.S.-bound injectables. The plant will be employing a new technician, engineer, quality assurance, and quality control hire, plus administrators and managers who will all be on the planned US$40 million payroll the company announced would be expected annually.
The company has already started recruiting certain full-time staffers, with plans to boost hiring efforts in 2022 as construction nears completion according to the senior vice president of manufacturing at Amgen, Arleen Paulino. She also announced that the plant is expected to go online in early 2024. “The goal is to make the assembly and packaging site Amgen’s most digitally advanced facility,” she added. The “smart facility,” as the senior Vice President put it, will rely on some of the latest technology, including artificial intelligence and automation, across three areas: advanced industrial automation using robotics and equipment automation; digital quality for automated inspection, testing, and real-time release of manufactured batches; and data availability to monitor and manage the process and operational performance.
The site will employ “highly automated” storage and retrieval systems, automated guided vehicles to ferry materials, and collaborative robots as just a few examples, Arleen Paulino said. The collaborative robots work alongside human employees, as opposed to industrial robots, which do work in place of those employees. It will also support Amgen’s role as a founding member of OneTen, a multi-industry coalition of major companies that aims to hire 1 million Black Americans into well-paying jobs over the next decade. OneTen specifically focuses on those without a four-year college degree, Amgen said.