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Case Studies > Investment in a Vision Inspection System Guarantees 100% in Quality Assurance

Investment in a Vision Inspection System Guarantees 100% in Quality Assurance

The main objective of the project was to provide a system that would enable Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to automatically inspect for the presence of a tip and a cap applied to each bottle manufactured, and to reject any bottles that failed to meet this requirement.

The customer also required a mechanism that provided them with the ability to reject the first 150 bottles at the start of a run (start-up rejects) and reject bottles when restarting the machine following a long period of downtime (downtime rejects).

To monitor the performance of the production process, Allergan required a data collection mechanism to enable employees to collect the following information during production: number of passed/failed and total caps inspected, number of passed bottles produced and passed out to the packing line, number of start-up rejects and number of downtime rejects.

The customer also required a set of alarms to indicate ‘reject’, ‘failed to verify’ and ‘three consecutive failed bottle tops’ in order to highlight any persistent production problems.

The new system has provided Allergan with a number of benefits. A hard-copy report provides personnel with an end-of-batch summary of the product inspected, illustrating the overall performance of the production facility.

The detection of product rejects has been beneficial in reducing costs through the decline in rejected waste products. The quality of the products has improved, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and confidence. The new system has enabled Allergan to maintain its compliance to the strict FDA standards relating to quality. Operators at Allergan are now free to concentrate on other issues and processes.

Several types of bottle are now inspected using the TIPS Advisor system connected to monochrome cameras. Two cameras are used: one inspects for the presence of a tip, the other for the presence of a cap. Fail-safe pass signals are sent to the PLC to indicate a satisfactory product i.e. no missing tips or caps.

Pass, reject and total product counts are maintained by the system. System maintenance functions were configured by ITS to aid in diagnostic situations. The system ensures product integrity by rejecting bottles following a pre-set machine-stationary period.

Installation, inspection configuration, PLC programming and integration with the existing machine master PLC were undertaken by ITS. Validation of the three different bottles was also completed effectively after the implementation process. The system also incorporates a remote diagnostics feature (via modem), which enables off-site support of the system by ITS  personnel.

The importance of the set up and training process are highlighted by David Ryall, project engineer, Allergan, "As with any vision system, setting up is critical. Therefore the training of operators is very important."

ITS and Allergan worked closely together to complete the project successfully within a 12 month period. The timescales were fundamental in meeting Allergan’s high demand production schedules. The customer’s satisfaction with ITS’ performance is supported by David Ryall of Allergan, "I am very happy with the performance of the system and the back-up service offered." Allergan’s satisfaction is also supported through their ordering a new system from ITS.




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