Wilco boosts throughput of vial tester

Switzerland's Wilco AG has developed a new version of its award
winning headspace testing system for pharmaceutical vials that
boosts its throughput by 50 per cent.

Vials containing freeze-dried drugs must be maintained in a vacuum, or moisture can get in and wreak havoc with the activity and shelf life of the medicine.

Until recently freeze-dried vials were checked for vacuum using a spark test that would make the glass glow if a vacuum is present.

The time taken to energise the vial was a significant rate-limiting step using this method, particularly if amber vials were being used.

Wilco - along with other companies such as Italy's Bonfiglioli - has developed a laser based headspace gas analysis system that takes away this rate-limiting step and boosts testing to a level capable of handling production line speeds.

Wilco's product uses a wavelength calibrated low energy laser beam, which changes energy when increased levels of gas molecules inside a container are detected.

The first generation of Wilco's technology - which measures oxygen levels and absolute pressure inside glass vials - could handle up to 300 vials per test head per minute.

Now, the second generation version takes this up to 450, although versions designed for lower-throughput laboratory use are also available.

Other features of the new system include a modular and compact machine design, stationary test heads and the ability to allow product to move continuously through the equipment, facilitating in-line applications.

Because the testing systems can be run side by side, the tester can match even highest production capacities, according to Wilco.

Lyophilised, liquid and powder filled products can be tested, and the reading is unaffected by glass quality (tube and moulded), glass colour or dimensions.

In June, Wilco won its first US customer for the first-generation system, having already installed a number of units in European companies.

Last year, the system won a Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) New, Innovative Technology award.

External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Wilco AG

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