Astellas Ireland

Gloved hand holds Red bag with hazardous waste symbol. Red sharps box sits behind

Hazardous waste ‘track and trace’ using Internet of Things technology

Researcher in white lab coat and hair net works with samples in lab

Hazardous waste

Astellas Ireland is a multinational based in Killorgin, Co. Kerry since 1990 and currently employing 309 people.  This plant manufactures and supplies globally a range of treatments, including the immunosuppressant Prograf® and Protopic® (tacrolimus ointment). There is also a plant in Dublin, employing over 70 people. The main activity of this facility is the manufacture of three bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients which are supplied to the global market, namely: famotidine, solifenacin and tamsulosin.

Track and trace

The IMaR Gateway and Astellas collaborated on an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership feasibility study to use IoT technologies – such as RFID scanning and web-services integration – to address the problem of track and trace of pharmaceutical waste from source to industrial disposal overseas. Advanced hazardous waste track and trace management systems are becoming increasingly important across many industrial sectors, using a complex combination of identification labels to track waste containers at point of origin – enabling accurate departmental and cost centre analysis and a traceable product. Few systems, however are fully automated and therefore are prone to error. Continual traceability of the waste produced is one of the optimal goals of an automated waste tracking system.

Two engineers working on prototype




month Innovation Partnership


of energy needs from renewables

“When Astellas contacted IMaR with the issue of tracking hazardous onsite waste, we found their approach to the issue very analytical and we are very satisfied with the high professional standard and valuable support provided during the project. We feel that the reliability, dedication, and partnership that IMaR personnel have shown during this project is a credit to the institute.”

Eamonn Foley
OES, Astellas

The Astellas Ireland & IMaR partnership

The IMaR Gateway developed an onsite electronic RFID-based waste tracking system. A number of methods for hazardous waste track and trace were investigated, through a combination of a detailed literature review and thorough investigation of commercially available systems. The different systems and approaches were analysed for the best fit for the company’s individual requirements and a system was proposed which aims to meet the hazardous waste track and trace criteria set by the company. 

This investigation has demonstrated the potential for the integration of an advanced Internet of Things based waste tracking system. It has de-risked a number of key concerns in relation to this system and has helped significantly in preparing a business case for full-system development. IMaR and Astellas have commenced a full Innovation Partnership to develop this concept further.

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