ROHTO Pharmaceutical's Mother Plant, Ueno Techno Center, Commences Operations of New Facility - A "People and Environment-Friendly Smart Factory" Utilizing IoT, AI, and Geothermal Energy -

ROHTO Pharmaceutical's Mother Plant, Ueno Techno Center, Commences Operations of New Facility A "People and Environment-Friendly Smart Factory" Utilizing IoT, AI, and Geothermal Energy

Sep 27, 2022

ROHTO Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Osaka City, President: Masashi Sugimoto) is pleased to announce that it has completed the construction of a new facility at Ueno Techno Center, ROHTO Pharmaceutical's mother plant located in Iga City, Mie Prefecture. The new facility, which aims to increase production capacity and comply with international pharmaceutical manufacturing standards in anticipation of growing demand for high-quality over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and advanced cosmetics, has commenced operations in September 2022. With this expansion, Ueno Techno Center's production capacity has increased by 1.5 times compared to its previous capacity (expected by fiscal year 2024).
The new facility adopts the concept of a "people and environment-friendly smart factory" and enhances productivity by implementing a Cyber-Physical System (CPS)※1 utilizing IoT, AI, and advanced technologies. It strives for a work environment where "people thrive" in the manufacturing process. Additionally, the facility focuses on reducing environmental impact through the utilization of geothermal energy and state-of-the-art energy-saving equipment.

※1: Cyber-Physical System (CPS)
A system that visualizes people, equipment, and processes using IoT and sensor technology, stores the data in virtual space, and optimizes actual processes through AI, deep learning, and other techniques.

Key Features of the Smart Factory

"People-Friendly" Factory

The integration of technology allows for more flexible work, enabling individuals to shift towards a "well-being" way of working, with humans and technology working together effectively.

Ensuring the Safety and Efficiency of Workers through Collaboration between Robots and Humans

By utilizing IoT devices such as omnidirectional cameras and sensors, the facility can detect abnormal behavior, hazardous tasks, unauthorized access to restricted areas, and proximity to manufacturing equipment. This data is then relayed in real-time to both the workers and management through a centralized monitoring system, thus taking precautionary measures to prevent workplace accidents. Moreover, the introduction of collaborative robots enables the creation of production lines that leverage the strengths of both humans and robots, leading to streamlined work processes and increased efficiency.

Implementing a Cyber-Physical System (CPS) with IoT and AI for Enhanced Productivity

To produce high-quality products efficiently and consistently, the facility incorporates CPS into the manufacturing process. This involves the integration of data obtained through IoT sensors and cameras with production plans, resulting in optimized workflows, automation, and a reduction in physical strain on workers. The system also optimizes inventory management in the automated warehouse and reduces lead times. The CPS will be further expanded to contribute to added value for customers.

"Environmentally-Friendly" Factory

Targeting a 20% reduction in energy consumption (compared to existing factories), the facility actively harnesses renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy※2 and solar power, while incorporating energy-efficient equipment.

※2: Geothermal energy utilization takes advantage of the temperature differential between the ground (which remains at a stable temperature lower than outside air temperature in the summer and higher in the winter) to enable efficient air conditioning (heating and cooling).

Quality-assurance system compliant with global GMP as a manufacturing base for overseas

As a production base serving both domestic and international markets, the facility has established a quality assurance system compliant with the international PIC/S※3 GMP standards.

※3: Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme

Installation of an Informative Tour Route for Learning about Manufacturing with Fun

Primarily for local elementary school students and their families, an informative tour route has been established, allowing visitors to learn about the fascinating world of manufacturing while observing the production process. To ensure a comfortable experience for families, the facility has provided amenities such as a kids' restroom and a diaper-changing corner. In the future, the facility plans to offer experiential workshops led by ROHTO employees, providing an enjoyable opportunity for both adults and children to explore the field of health sciences.

Outline of of the New Facility

Name Ueno Techno Center Building C
Location 7-4-1 Yumegaoka, Iga City, Mie Prefecture
(within the Ueno Techno Center premises)
Building Specifications Site Area: 27,498.27m², Total Floor Area: 19,600m²
Floors 4
Production Items Hada Labo, Skin Aqua, Mentholatum AD, and other skin care products
(skin care medicine / Quasi-drugs)
Investment 8.5 billion yen
Commencement of Construction November 2020
Commencement of Operations September 2022

About Ueno Techno Center

Ueno Techno Center, in operation since 1999 and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, serves as the mother plant for ROHTO Pharmaceutical. It produces a range of products, including V ROHTO Premium eye drops, one of ROHTO Pharmaceutical's flagship products, as well as skincare products like Hada Labo Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. It functions as a hub for quality control and logistics.