Checking caps from all angles

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Good automated manufacturing practice

An inspection system for sealing caps developed by Germany’s Vitronic could make the need for rotating pharmaceutical bottles and ampoules on the production line a thing of the past.

The Vinspec system uses an image processing system that covers the bottle cap like a hood and simultaneously inspects and reads sealing caps on all sides – in other words the top and the circumference – in one go.

Using conventional imaging-based inspection systems the bottle needs to be rotated mechanically on the conveyor belt in order to scan the entire lateral circumference of the cap and ensure that there is a good seal.

According to Vitronic, that means each cap inspection is more costly and time-consuming. The system can handle around 10 bottles or ampoules per second, a rate that would require the use of more than one camera using a conventional optical system

Currently full 360-degree inspection requires the use of one camera to scan the top of the cap and another scanning the sides as the bottle is rotated on the belt. A computer system is then used to calculate and eliminate any overlapping images, which can introduce a degree of unreliability into the procedure, according to Vitronic.

Vinspec is able to check cap colours, control the flanging with respect to colour and quality, check that the seal is seated correctly and even verify lettering and codes on the outer surface.

The system can be qualified based on GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practice), a set of standards drawn up in 1991 by the pharmaceutical industry designed to meet the requirements of regulatory agencies in Europe. That means that documented assurance can be obtained which indicates that the system is appropriate for the intended use before it goes live.

Related topics: Drug Delivery, QA/QC, Processing equipment

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