Navigating the Equipment and Machinery Market - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Navigating the Equipment and Machinery Market
Pharmaceutical Technology's annual survey on equipment and machinery reveals the spending levels and type of spending made in 2011 and planned for 2012.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 4, pp. 50-60

Impact factors

2011 results. Overall economic conditions influenced purchasing decisions. Eighty percent of respondents said that overall economic conditions had either a high impact (39.2%) or medium impact (40.8%) on their purchasing of equipment and machinery in 2011. The survey showed various responses:

  • 45.5% postponed purchasing equipment and machinery
  • 8.9% did not buy new equipment or machinery at all
  • 15.4% had difficulty securing financing for capital investments
  • 12.2% faced reduced production due to customers' financial difficulties
  • 17.9% increased the level of outsourcing to reduce capital costs.

Other companies, however, were not as affected by economic conditions. The survey showed that 16.3% felt that their business conditions improved and increased capital investments, and 9.8% of respondents felt that they were not affected and left their capital investments unchanged. Although economic conditions affect purchasing, GMP compliance is the leading factor influencing spending. Eighty percent said GMP compliance had a high impact (55.6%) or medium impact (24.2%) on the types of machinery equipment purchased and the size of their purchases.

2012 levels . The macroeconomic environment is again playing a significant role in planned expenditures for 2012. The survey showed that 86.7% of respondents say that economic conditions are affecting their purchasing decisions in 2012, slightly higher than the 80% in 2011, with 58.9% saying overall economic conditions are a high-impact factor and 27.8% saying they are a medium-impact factor. Slighter fewer companies plan to delay purchasing equipment in 2012 compared with 2011, but slightly more are planning not to buy equipment. For 2012, the survey showed:
  • 38.2% plan to delay purchasing equipment and machinery
  • 11.2% will not buy new equipment or machinery
  • 14.6% are having difficulty securing financing for capital investments
  • 4.5% are facing reduced production because of customers' financial difficulties (12.2% did in 2011)
  • 9.0 plan to increased outsourcing to reduce capital costs (17.9% in 2011).

Other companies, however, were not as influenced by the macroeconomic environment. The survey results showed that 16.9% of respondents felt that they have improved business conditions and will raise capital investments in 2012, and 14.6% feel that they are not affected by a change in business conditions and plan to leave capital investments unchanged.


Survey respondents were fairly evenly divided about the importance of innovation in influencing their purchasing decisions for equipment and machinery. More than half (54.5%) said that innovation was "extremely important" or "very important" in their purchasing decisions and 45.6% said it was "somewhat important."

Figure 7: Industry’s level of product innovation in various equipment types during the last two years (2010 and 2011). (SCOTT HEINER/INGRAM PUBLISHING/GREGOR SCHUSTER/GETTY IMAGES)
Respondents felt that innovation was highest in equipment for biologic-based API manufacturing, QA/QC, and parenteral/sterile manufacturing (see Figure 7). Innovation was considered the lowest in equipment for small-molecule or chemical API manufacturing (see Figure 7).

The survey also showed that purchasing equipment to support newer technologies, such as process analytical technology (PAT), is expected to increase in 2012 although the adoption of PAT is somewhat lagging. More than 60% of respondents said that their company does not incorporate PAT into its operations. For those companies that do incorporate PAT, about half (51.4%) increased expenditures for PAT-related equipment in 2011, and another half (48.6%) did not. In 2012, slightly more plan to increase spending on PAT-related equipment, with 60% projecting to raise expenditures in this area.

Respondents’ profiles
The adoption of continuous manufacturing also is proceeding slower. Approximately two-third of respondents do not use continuous manufacturing in finished product manufacturing, and 81.9% do not use continuous manufacturing in API manufacture. For the one-third of respondents that do use continuous manufacturing for finished drug products, 31.6% of respondents plan to increase spending for equipment in this area in 2012, and 68.4% will not increase spending. For the roughly 20% of respondents that use continuous manufacturing in API manufacture, only 20.4% plan to increase spending for equipment in that area in 2012, and 79.6% will not increase spending in 2012.

About 60% of respondents use disposables in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, with about half (48.1%) planning to increase spending in 2012. For future purchases of bioprocessing equipment, respondents are fairly evenly divided on their approach: 30.6% plan to use stainless-steel equipment; 30.6% plan to use single-use or disposable equipment; and 38.8% plan to use a hybrid of disposables and stainless-steel equipment.


1. P. Van Arnum, Pharm. Technol. 35 (3), 50–62 (2011).


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