Visual control system for effervescent tablet production and packaging

12 Mar 2024

Home 9 Non categorizzato 9 Visual control system for effervescent tablet production and packaging

In this case study, we present a “Strip Line” for the production and packaging of effervescent tablets, in which Retinae Visual control system for tablet production and packaging’s control systems have been flawlessly integrated, providing 100% effective and precise control. The line achieves an output of over 2500 tablets per minute.

On this occasion, we had the pleasure of collaborating with Universal Pack and Lamp San Prospero.

Universal Pack showcased its expertise in designing complete packaging lines by creating a tailor-made solution for Lamp San Prospero, which included a strip machine and a horizontal cartoner.

Sistema di controllo visivo retinae

Specifically, the line boasts:

Product control during the loading phase of the effervescent tablet into the strip machine, enhancing the machine’s performance and the final product quality by avoiding packaging of non-conforming products.

Control of variable data printing on the strip, executed by laser systems fully integrated into the vision system.

An integrated carton serialization system within the cartoner to minimize the line’s footprint.

At Retinae, our focus is on monitoring an entire production line, including both primary and secondary packaging . In this case, the primary packaging involves the insertion of 20 mm diameter effervescent tablets, two at a time, into sachets that form the strips. These strips are then packaged into cartons.

The first vision inspection system is positioned at the primary packaging level, before loading the product into the sachets. It’s important to note that this line handles a particularly delicate product, maintaining optimal conditions to avoid issues such as moisture which could make the product sticky or trigger effervescence prematurely. The speed of the process is crucial, hence the machine compressing the product into tablets does not have intermediate storage.

Our position at this stage of the line serves two purposes: ensuring the product’s conformity and integrity and guaranteeing the continuity of the packaging process. Optical detection of product fractures is key to preventing loader jams, a complex issue to resolve. Our solutions can also be integrated with systems that immediately discard defective products, avoiding machine downtime.

Advanced solution for grading

In the line presented, we have also implemented an advanced solution for grading, i.e., quality control of the print. All printed information on the sachets, such as batch numbers and expiration dates, are meticulously checked. For example, some solutions on the market do not check all prints but perform sample checks, trusting that if one strip is printed, the others are too. However, this is not always a reliable occurrence. In this line, Retinae has developed an encapsulated system, well-integrated into the machine, that checks 100% of the prints.

As we typically do when providing a control system for printing, we have also installed a laser printing system, ensuring superior, long-lasting quality compared to ink-jet prints and avoiding typical issues like unreadable text due to nozzle clogging or ink smearing.

Each strip is then checked by a second vision system that grades the print quality. Following the line, we reach the secondary packaging stage where the strips are inserted into cartons. Here, we have integrated serialization within the cartoner matrix. This is an improvement over more commonly adopted solutions that place a track and trace machine at the end of the cartoner for serial printing. The machine for serial control occupies space, and within various pharmaceutical lab boxes, space is costly as it must be a controlled environment, incurring significant costs for the drug manufacturer. Instead, we have integrated serialization into the cartoner, along with the typical anti-mix-up check.

At this point in the process, checks with Retinae’s solutions are complete, and the carton proceeds directly to the case packer. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning the possibility for Retinae to implement an aggregation system on the case packer, also for the manual management of small batches.

Which of our solutions have we adopted for this visual control system?

Isoblister

ISOBLISTER is the colour system for inspecting blistered products. A self-learning procedure developed by Ratinae, facilitates the creation of new formats. The system checks the conformity of the product within the cavities, stray particles or other discrepancies. The ISOBLISTER color analyser allows the selection of double color capsules and multicolor tablets in the same blister that can be in aluminium, white opaque PP/PVC, transparent or colored PP/PVC, without affecting the analysis of the product.

The software was developed focusing on ease of use and reliability. The interface is specifically designed for the use on touch screens and for remote control. Supported languages, in addition to English and Italian, include those based on non-Latin alphabets. A diagnostic program checks automatically the camera’s position, focus and sensitivity.

Argolabel

ARGOLABEL is the code verification system for the continuous control of pharmaceutical packaging, a system that is a guarantee of safety thanks to its ability to exclude errors. Thanks to the different reading heads, it can combine the code control with personalized controls, such as the verification of the variable data. ARGOLABEL’s standard configuration includes a central unit, incorporated with the touch screen monitor, capable of governing up to 3 reading heads.

The system has been developed with the aim of speed of use and reliability. The interface is specifically designed for the use on touch screen and to be controlled remotely via a monitor sharing system, and it is as well managed the localisation of non-Latin alphabets and the disaster recovery procedure. ARGOLABEL is configured to connect perfectly to the control unit of each machine with advancement in continuous or step-by-step. A soft plc realtime system allows you to manage the entire logic of management rejection with shift register.

PVS – Control system with artificial vision

PVS by Retinae is a system specifically designed for mechanical manufacturers seeking to develop a serialisation machine without needing to invest energy and resources in order to develop the vision and serialisation data management part. This system is also normally used on new or second- hand cartoning machines. In fact, many cartoning machines have a dedicated space to house a PVS system, before the waste station, to serialise directly from the cartoning machine itself.

PVS by Retinae implements Level 2 serialisation and, by using open communication interfaces, can be integrated with third-party Level 3 or our Level 3, called FSM. PVS is FDA 21 CFR part 11 and EudraLex Vol. 4 Annex 11 compliant and can integrate the functionality required for compliance with Industry 4.0 protocols.

The integration of our visual control solutions into the machine designed by the manufacturer is a highly appreciated strength, a distinctive modus operandi of Retinae. This significantly differentiates us from competitors who add their structures to the line, resulting in a less practical outcome and, as we have seen, potentially costly in terms of space requirements. Instead, we start from the manufacturer’s designs to find a high-performing solution that fits within the machine, utilizing the available space within the line’s footprint for perfect and efficient integration.

 

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