An important multinational pharmaceutical company has presented us their need: to control, through the weight, the conformity of cans for spray inhalers produced in their laboratories. The laboratory produces small batches, which require the control of every single product. Currently such control is entrusted to technicians who use static tools, with a significant time management.
The key points of the project are well defined: the employment of an instrument that guarantees the reading accuracy of +/- 100 mg (deviations from the predetermined weight cause non-compliance with the pharmacopoeia standards), compliance with GMP regulations, processing and transmission of data acquired of individual batches, easy maintenance of the instrument, maximum attention of the handling of the product in relation to its fragility and instability, also considering the work area extremely small dimensions. The project has inspired us from the very beginning: we involved the various internal technical departments which, thanks to the experience gained in different special applications created over the years, have designed and built a checkweigher suitably customized to meet the customer’s needs.
The starting system on which the project was realized is the Pen-Tec Checkweigher model HR-600, a unit used in the pharmaceutical environment especially for its technical structural characteristics: high speed, high precision and extremely small dimensions. It was made completely in stainless steel according to GMP guidelines, it is equipped with electronics designed and built in our laboratories, with operating systems and management software that can be customized for specific needs and applications. The product to be treated deserves particular consideration: they are aluminum cans, with valve for spray inhalers, which stability is pretty critical (Ø20mm base x 60mm height). To allow the transit on the different conveyors, avoiding the fall, the checkweigher is equipped with a screw system of variable pitch which, as well as ensuring the correct spacing of the products, manages the acquisition of the weight in static. An acquisition that thanks to the efficiency of the weight detection and electronic processing unit is completed in a few milliseconds. The defective products – out of weight tolerance – are ejected and managed inside a special key-protected waste bin. Instead, the compliant products are taken to a rotating collection and accumulation table. To ensure the stability of the products, in the phase of entry to the collection table, have been created side belts that take and go with the products. The entire unit is equipped with a transparent cover with a specific function of shielding from external phenomena that could affect the correct weight detection (conditioning systems and air flows typical of pharmaceutical laboratories). The cover it has doors with safety microswitches that guarantee either the inspection and management. To allow the insertion of the checkweigher inside the laboratory it was necessary to minimize the overall space: the project has been realized with an overall dimension of about 1,800 mm (including the rotating table). Since the user needs to bring the system to other close by laboratories, the system is equipped with suitable wheels. These are associated to the strong frame and to the feet for the placement which allow, when the checkweigher is operational, maximum stability and detection accuracy.
The professionalism, specific knowledge and flexibility of Pen-Tec have allowed, in quick time, the study and realization of a highly technological and qualified product / system. Providing to this international company, leader in the pharmaceutical field, an effective response to an extremely important and complex need.
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