Pharma company ups product tracking technology

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Global pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-aventis, has implemented a product verification solution incorporating scanner, camera and verifier to check a range of products at its factory in Poland.

Responding to new regulations affecting readability of GS1 codes, Sanofi-aventis implemented the solution to ensure zero operator errors caused by data input, a reduction of waste products and improved product coding quality across its product range.

The print and code verification solution, designed by Cognex Partner Systems Integrator (PSI) Wedzony, a specialist in industrial automation, is a mobile system, which can be adapted for packing lines and installed along the production process, as required. The system consists of a band conveyor with a regulated slide for boxes, Wolke double head printer, Cognex In-Sight 5400 camera with track-and-trace software, a panel PC and a set of pneumatic air nozzles to reject defective products. The database within the PC stores the required product settings and various camera functions as well as information required for the audit trail.

As the products pass along the line, the required codes are printed onto the packaging. Each unit then passes immediately beneath the Cognex In-Sight camera at a speed of 300 parts per minute, and the camera reads the printed data and verifies against the selected information. The In-Sight camera has integrated track-and-trace software, which delivers a ready-to-deploy data capture and verification solution designed to help pharmaceutical manufacturers achieve unit-level product traceability. Using Cognex's advanced software, any incorrect codes are identified immediately and the offending product is removed from the line via a reject shoot. After batch completion, a production report is created to ensure complete product traceability and operational efficiency is maintained.

Dariusz Piotrowski, technical and investment department manager, commented: 'Production efficiency has improved with impressive levels of accuracy and we are looking at opportunities to utilise this technology within other factory sites.'

David Hinchliffe, district sales manager for Cognex Eastern Europe, commented: 'We are seeing tremendous growth for our products from the pharmaceutical industry, driven by the need for regulation fulfilment. European parliament ratified serialisation guidelines earlier this year, expected to be in place as soon as 2016. To reach this milestone, we anticipate vision systems will play a fundamental role in the serialisation of pharmaceutical products over the next few years.'

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