Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Roy Sleator


Pharmaceutical companies are under increasing financial pressure to optimise production costs, due to a growing number of products coming off patent, research and development costs increasing exponentially and the difficulty of bringing genuinely innovative products to market. Generic drug manufacturers are not exempt from these pressures; costs must be driven down by all drug manufacturers due to the increasingly competitive healthcare market.

The operating costs of a modern Pharmaceutical Plant run to several Million Euros per annum. Complex process’s involving the consumption of large amounts of energy, and hence costs, are a necessity. Any increase in the efficiency of a manufacturing plant will be reflected in profit margins. An added benefit to this cost reduction is the associated decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

In this study I review the current financial threats to the Pharmaceutical industry, examine the response of the industry to these threats and explain in detail some of the equipment involved in manufacturing these drug products.

Furthermore I analyse and break down the energy consumption of the Research and Development Pilot Plant at GlaxoSmithKline, Cork into its constituent parts, identify inefficiencies and implement a project using software to reduce the costs associated with this energy wastage.

The project specifically targets the largest contributor to the Pilot Plant’s energy costs- Steam, and software development to reduce the buildings consumption of this service.

The algorithm preselects parameters on the building Distributed Control System (DCS) which must be met to ensure Steam is only used for the heating and cooling of vessels via DowthermTM J when the reactor vessels are in use and require temperature control. Detailed analysis is provided regarding the project process and the impact this project has on reducing the running costs of the Pilot Plant.

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