Thermo Fisher Scientific (www.thermoscientific.com ) is offering a solution that combines checkweighing with package marking in a single station. In the solution, Thermo Fisher engineers work with third-party suppliers to integrate marking and verification functions for track and trace with Thermo Scientific Versa Rx Pharma and Versa GP Pharma checkweighers.
In wedding the two functions, the solution supports a streamlined assembly line process and cost savings, says Volkert-Jan Hage, product manager, checkweighers, Thermo Fisher Scientific.
“Companies implementing track and trace have to put in a separate station for printing and verification and possibly also a reject station. This requires reconfiguring the line, which is some cases is not always possible,” says Hage.
The solution is integrated in a cabinet installed directly after the cartoner where the checkweigher is typically located. Printing and vision inspection functions are integrated at the checkweigher in-feed.
“A two-station system (required when a separate station is used for marking) often creates line splitting, costs money, and takes up space. With these functions combined, companies avoid having to break open and revalidate their lines,” Hage says.
The checkweighers are developed with the option to add the marking and verification with systems dictated by the customer. The solution includes a mechanical in-feed system, camera, and reject function. Marking, vision, and checkweighing is controlled via a “one touch” HMI where weigh results are correlated with the printed tag.
The system is capable of printing a 600-dpi DataMatrix code at rates of 400 packs per minute. A camera then reads the printed code and verifies the information to a data base.
“The trigger [to develop the solution] came from our customer base in Europe [where customers are facing coding mandates from countries including France and Turkey] and the use of sophisticated trace and trace technology is increasing,” Hage says.
“As pharmaceutical products move through the production line, manufacturers are able to trace their codes at the bundler, case packer, and palletizer. Once data is obtained, the information is fed into a SQL database, allowing the manufacturer to produce the reports needed for regulatory compliance,” Thermo Fisher described in announcing the solution.