Antares Vision Group is a technological partner of excellence in digitalization and innovation for companies and institutions with a complete ecosystem of technologies to guarantee product quality (inspection systems and machines) and product traceability along the supply chain (from raw materials to production, from distribution to the consumer) through integrated data management, during last ACHEMA showed for the first time an Automatic Visual Inspection machine for pre-filled syringes (PFS).
The Antares Vision Group VRI VI-060S series targets the highest quality standards through an advanced Automatic Visual Inspection and Container Closure Integrity Testing (CCIT) conducted with integrated High Voltage technology patented by Antares Vision to detect any leakages that may affect the guaranteed sterility of the product.
HOW VRI VI-060S WORKS
This automatic Inspection machine for pre-filled syringes, widely used by the pharma industry, especially for vaccines and biological products, is the first-born member of a wider family targeting high capacity up to 400 and 600 pm and completes the Antares Vision Group – Life Science portfolio.
Similarly, and in continuity with all the other products manufactured by the Product Unit on the Parma site, its motion is continuous, granting an uninterrupted product flow, making handling particularly smooth, and avoiding shocks and damage to the product. This is also a mandatory requirement for inspection, avoiding the creation of air bubbles, a well-known issue of the inspection.
Apart from one static inspection station checking the integrity of the flange, all the other, inspection are dynamic. It means that during the transportation into a carousel, a physical platform, nicknamed boomerang and hosting all the camera and lighting units, follows the containers for a while, the inspection time, acquiring 25-50 images, whose elaboration allows to take the final “accept/reject” decision. After the inspection, the boomerang, directly driven by a torque motor, goes back to inspect the next container, in a restless continuous operation.
Two stations are dedicated to particulate detection, five stations are dedicated to the various components the container is made (glass or plastic barrel and flange, plunger-stopper needle shield).
Each inspection station checks 2 PFS in parallel with 2 cameras and identical optical setups, aiming to grant the longest and most suitable inspection time.
Each camera transfers images to a processor with specialized features for image processing and is suitable to perfectly synchronize the illuminators.
Optionally, the machine can perform a Container Closure Integrity test using our patented High Voltage Leak Detection technology.
The machine is equipped with overturning devices, to smoothly reverse syringes, usually conveyed needle-down, to needle-up position, mandatory for inspection, and to carry back them to the original position
Aiming to respond to the requirement of some customers we decided to include in the design specs the “configurable defect re-inspection”. With this feature is possible to program the machine to pass again the PFS detected as defective by one or more stations through the machine, for a second inspection. The reason is a reduction of False rejections usually due to process deviations.
WHAT INNOVATION EMBODIES
The main benefits our customers expect from a VI Machine are a combination of operability, reliability, defect detection capability, and data communication.
The reliability comes from a rugged construction and from technical solutions aimed to minimize mechanical stress The fast, smooth handling system minimizes the risk of product breakages and scratches thanks to individually motorized grippers and guide-less conveying with vacuum-operated starwheels.
The machine is designed to drop to zero any friction with the product, potentially damaging the glass or plastic the PFS are made and non in line with Good Manufacturing Practices for the pharmaceutical industry.
Another benefit comes from advanced optical setups and inspection software, and their integration with machine automation. This machine benefits from the well-proven Antares Vision Group design allowing for inspecting 100% of the containers’ surface thanks to an additional secondary carousel completing the container’s “dry zone” inspection and guaranteeing PFS inspection outright.
Lastly, through a Modular design, it can respond in the most flexible way to the customer’s specifications, allowing flexibility in the selection of the inspection.