Tomi Pitkäniemi and Nikolas Kusto Discuss How Effective Automation Boosts Medicinal Quality and Orion’s Competitive Edge

When a patient chooses a medication crafted by Orion, they can trust they’re receiving precisely the indicated dosage of active ingredients,” highlights Tomi Pitkäniemi, Automation Manager, underlining the critical role of his team’s efforts.

Pitkäniemi heads the Design and Development unit, tasked with overseeing the automation systems for Orion’s machinery and equipment, ensuring their consistent and accurate performance. This reliability enables Orion’s production operators, laboratory chemists, pharmacists, and research assistants to concentrate on their tasks, relying on the validated systems and the data they generate.

“The effectiveness and modernization of our automation systems are pivotal in bolstering the quality and competitiveness of our endeavors and products,” emphasizes Pitkäniemi.

Tomi Pitkäniemi: “Automation systems demand dedicated effort.” Spread across Espoo, Kuopio, Turku, and Salo, the automation department employs about thirty professionals. Pitkäniemi and his team of six are charged with innovating and refining Orion’s automation practices for efficiency and sustainability.

“We conceptualize new automation frameworks, streamline the lifecycle management of existing systems, and oversee projects within our domain. Our responsibilities extend to designing bespoke equipment for Orion and supporting its operations,” explains Pitkäniemi.

As creators of novel systems, the Design and Development team oscillates between visionary, forward-thinking ideators and technically adept engineers adept at troubleshooting and offering continuous support to production.

“Automation systems streamline processes in pharmaceutical companies, but their seamless operation requires meticulous effort. We balance developing new systems with maintaining existing ones, ensuring alignment with Orion’s overarching strategy,” adds Pitkäniemi.

Niklas Kuusio: “A project manager orchestrates the symphony.” The automation department juggles a multitude of projects, often involving collaboration with diverse stakeholders. Typical endeavors range from system enhancements and upgrades to equipment procurement. As Project Manager within the Design and Development team, Kuusio ensures projects proceed on schedule with the right stakeholders engaged.

“My role involves empowering automation and production engineers while overseeing project progress and anticipating future needs. Effective coordination, a comprehensive understanding of Orion’s operations, and a strong network are crucial in pulling the right strings,” Kuusio remarks.

With nearly four years at Orion, including two in Pitkäniemi’s team, Kuusio leverages his experience, particularly from large-scale projects like implementing a new digital manufacturing execution system, to excel in his current role.

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