Sanofi-aventis Press Release SANOFI-AVENTIS’ INNOVATIVE “MET BUSTER” EARNS QUEBEC SAFETY PRIZE Laval, Quebec - April 28, 2011 – Sanofi-aventis Canada has earned the prestigious Laval regional Prix d’Innovation from Quebec’s Commission de la santé et de la securité du travail. The provincial government’s occupational health and safety organization is recognizing the company for Met Buster, a unique, innovative, custom-made pneumatic crushing machine – designed and developed in-house at sanofi-aventis’ Laval facility. The Met Buster crusher is used in the manufacture of Glucophage® (metformin hydrochloride). The team was honoured at a gala in Laval on April 27.
“This award is a great source of pride for the people involved in Met Buster’s development, and for every sanofi-aventis employee,” says Alan Miller, Senior Director, Industrial Affairs, sanofi-aventis Canada. “Our Met Buster was chosen from a field of 15 innovative entries in the Laval region.”
Like many great innovations, the Met Buster is the product of necessity. The company’s raw metformin powder shipments arrive from overseas as rock-hard cakes – creating a challenge for the sanofi-aventis Canada Manufacturing team to use it in its manufacturing processes.
Manual pulverization attempts using hammers and ice picks had proved labour-intensive and strenuous. Seeing an opportunity for improvement, sanofi-aventis Canada Manufacturing employees took their concerns to company management, its Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) group, and its Health and Safety committee.
Management considered various crushing machines available on the market, but none met their specifications for this crucial phase in the Glucophage® manufacturing process. The Engineering department, in conjunction with company mechanics, designed its own pneumatic crushing machine – built by a local manufacturer and christened Met Buster by the shop-floor people who were instrumental in the concept development.
The in-house, made-in-Laval innovation is paying off on many fronts. The team can now handle twice the volume of raw material in the same amount of time; a barrel-breakage problem has been eliminated; and risk of employee arm and back injury has been significantly reduced.
“Met Buster is a great example of our employees’ capabilities,” adds Miller. “We are always looking for ways to work smarter to prevent injuries and reduce costs. The job is never complete when it comes to safety.”
Sanofi-aventis Canada Inc. 2150 St. Elzear Blvd. West, Laval, Quebec H7L 4A8
Tel.: 1-877-904-2667 www.sanofi-aventis.ca
Prix d’Innovation winners are chosen based on five criteria: creativity and originality, risk reduction, proactive problem solving, development of prevention-oriented solutions, and adaptability to other companies and industries. Met Buster met all criteria. The technology is ideally suited for other companies who use solid and semi-solid chemical products in their manufacturing processes.
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.
Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada’s biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.
Contact: Joanne Kennedy Sanofi-aventis Canada Inc. 514 -235-4380 [email protected]
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