Are You Getting the Most from Machine Vision?
Machine vision systems aren't just the last stop at the end of the line. They can alert you to potential problems within the line as well.
Many manufacturers use machine vision to ensure the quality of a product at the final stages of the packaging line. While this goes a long way toward eliminating defective product, machine vision systems can do far more. A manufacturer or packager who uses machine vision to its fullest potential has the opportunity to catch problems before they affect product quality.
In order for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and packagers to obtain the most for their money, they need to use machine vision systems to generate information about the performance of processing equipment. An efficiently used machine vision system can supply that information early enough in the process to allow line operators to correct and eliminate potential problems.
A completely integrated inspection system that takes full advantage of machine vision has several benefits, including:
- Improved yield by more effective inspection of parts earlier in the production process.
- Zero-defect processing as a result of machine vision's ability to control all of the components on the line and to provide real-time data so that line operators can make adjustments to equipment that falls out of tolerance.
- Automatic setup of the packaging and finishing processes, which minimizes labor requirements and eliminates the risks of human error.
- Improved data collection and real-time database access.
- Integration of the packaging and finishing operations and performance information with those of the rest of the enterprise.
- Contributions to the control of the supply chain and the establishment of true supply chain management.
- Minimization of changeover times through automated setup of the packaging line.
As we all know, the manufacturing environment is rapidly becoming a global community. Technology, communication, and transportation have linked facilities all over the world, and access to customers (and therefore competition) is no longer divided by distance. The ability to be flexible and make quick transitions is essential, and product quality precision and customer service attentiveness is imperative—not just a differentiator—in a market that demands continuous improvements.
Pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to take advantage of machine vision's full capabilities to provide the edge that will set them apart from competitors. Machine vision allows them to better manage the increasingly complex supply chain and manufacturing environments. By using all of the capabilities that machine vision offers, companies can minimize liabilities, attain zero-defect production, enable faster and easier implementation, maintain customer satisfaction, and increase profitability.
Robert DeJean is a board member of the Automated Imaging Association (AIA; Ann Arbor, MI), which is hosting The Vision Show this October in San Jose. DeJean is also CEO of Systech, a NJ-based company that provides automated inspection and line performance optimization technology.