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New technology for greater pharma vision inspection

Pharmaceutical vision inspection applications require specifically engineered solutions. Mettler-Toledo’s Pharmacontrol Electronic (PCE) business unit has been designing such customised solutions for more than 20 years.

The many different pharmaceutical packaging types such as tablet, blister fillings, round bottles, vials, bags, syringes have to be inspected for correct product and package quality as well as for codes.

"The pharmaceutical industry is subject to worldwide regulation by increasingly stringent serialisation and documentation requirements, also for non-carton packed products", says Marcus Pabsch, Head of Marketing and Product Management at PCE.

"Our engineering teams thrive on the many challenges to find an optimised vision inspection solution for almost every product ". More than 20 years of experience in the pharma vision inspection business ensures the highest quality of each individual solution. 

PCE introduces the Tablet Inspections stations as intelligent image processing systems in a comprehensive product portfolio to effectively tackle the areas of reliable product mix-up controls and blister inspection.

While the “Tablet Inspection Kit” covers the product mix-up sector, the “Blister Inspection Kit” finds its application in the identification of colour-averaged values of tablets (e.g. for tablets with different drug concentrations). 

The Tablet Inspection Kit registers and evaluates the products while being conveyed. A physical segmentation of products is not required. Control of the most varied forms of product is possible, e.g. tablets, capsules, hard gelatine capsules or soft gelatine capsules (each single or multi coloured).

By using a unique image processing technique, fully automated optical monitoring is carried out on contamination caused by foreign material and breakage of any tablets or capsules in the line. The Tablet Inspection Kit can simultaneously monitor 6 to 12 stainless steel lines of a vibrating sorter with a total width of 40 cm.

All products are identified not only by their colour-averaged values but also standard values for shape while a wide range of parameters is available for classifying products.

Bottle label vision verification and tracking in the pharmaceutical packaging process. PCE’s 360° Inspection Station is a modular all-in-one solution for quality management of cylindrical objects in the pharmaceutical industry.

The main quality relevant characteristics can be verified: Verification of imprints – such as product-, batch- or serial-number as plain text and/or 2D code to prevent mix-ups within the production process. Optional control of aluminium caps, presence of sealing plugs and seals ensure integrity and non-contamination of the primary packaging.

The serialised tracking of single bottles complies with the latest requirements of international Track & Trace guidelines for primary packaging by collecting serialised information directly on the primary package or on the label.

In order to achieve this, the complete surface of the un-oriented bottle will be scanned by a multi-camera-system on the fly during the production process. 

"These three examples of special pharma applications give an impression of PCE’s capabilities to meet the individual requirements and fulfil the very demanding pharmaceutical specifications," emphasizes Marcus Pabsch.

"As a system integrator with many years of industry experience, we help our customers to define the relevant processes, and provide them with turnkey solutions that integrate seamlessly into existing lines."

Mettler Toledo pharma inspection system

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