THREE years ago, Andrew Donald Design Engineers (ADDE) of Bayswater, Melbourne, was approached by a multi-national pharmaceutical company to develop and manufacture a series of Plastic Ampoule Finishing lines to form a new production facility in Sydney. The result are a range of innovative Australian identification and inspection machines, generating international interest.
The pharmaceutical company also wanted to embrace best practice as dictated by Guide to Good Automation Manufacturing Practice (GAMP)
Chief design engineer, George Kourdelis, and the team at ADDE have recently completed the fourth Finishing Line with a further two lines nearing completion.
The new Finishing Lines receive plastic ampoules filled with injectable fluid solutions, produced by a Blow Fill and Seal machine, and perform identification, extensive testing and inspection processes before delivering them downstream for packing.
The ADDE machines comprise three main modules: infeed module with buffer accumulation, linear pallet transfer module to move product through integrated identification and inspection stations, and a final manual inspection and outfeed module. Each ampoule is tracked as it passes through the machine and its status monitored within a series of shift registers. The machine automatically confirms that individual rejected ampoules have been removed at the reject station to guarantee that faulty product cannot pass downstream to the packing area.
The main module of the machine has stations for ampoule surface treatment, labelling and/or printing, video vision inspection, pin-hole leak detection and manual inspection.
Siemens supplied the PLC CPU, hardware with Profibus DP nodes configuration, as well as the digital input and output technology.
ADDE was able to take a series of processes normally executed as independent operations, including leak testing and printing, incorporating them into a single machine, with better coordination of ampoule production and monitoring of rejects in new machines that are half the size and can be commissioned in less than half the time of their predecessors.