Automated inspection for pharmaceutical supply chain process

July 19, 2013
Using a Vision HAWK smart camera and AutoVISION machine vision software from Microscan, system integrator Elchema – Palinginis Bros. created an inspection system for Boehringer Ingelheim, which ensures traceability for its pharmaceutical products.

When pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim sought to implement an inspection system to ensure traceability for its pharmaceutical products, it contacted system integrator Elchema – Palinginis Bros.

In order to avoid counterfeit drugs from entering the supply chain, each box and container needs to be marked with production data as well as a unique serial number during Boehringer Ingelheim’s process. This data is used to track the drug through the supply chain from production and from there, to the consumer. Elchema’s machine vision solution, the printHawk, prints 3D data matrix codes as well as production data in text format. From there, the data and print quality are inspected by the Vision HAWK smart camera from Microscan.

The Vision HAWK camera features an industrial IP65/67 housing, Ethernet connectivity, and liquid lens technology, which can help to reduce downtime by eliminating the need to manually adjust the camera during line changeovers. It is designed specifically for users to have a scalable, fully integrated vision solution for inspection, verification, or auto ID applications.

Connected to the Vision HAWK camera is Microscan’s AutoVISION machine vision software, which enabled Elchema’s system to ensure the data matrix code presence and validate the OCR readability in the pharmaceutical product’s packaging. In the case of an error or rejection, the faulty boxes or containers are removed from the conveyor system and the rejection is confirmed.

Since Elchema integrated the system for Boehringer, the products and packaging from the production process are in full compliance with European Union directives for pharmaceutical packaging, the medicines can be traced throughout the supply chain, and patient and consumer safety is ensured.

View the Microscan case study.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Former VSD Editor James Carroll joined the team 2013.  Carroll covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles, Carroll managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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