■Preparations - Ampoules
Ampoules are a test object that can be inspected together with vials, syringes and carpules individually or in mixed blisters (trays) or on labelling machines.
Glass ampoules are primarily used in the medical field. When shaping the ampoule, air bubbles may sometimes form in the brown or colourless glass, especially at the neck of the ampoule. Stains in the glass are also possible. In addition, the correct shaping of the ampoule heads must be ensured.
These possible defects are usually inspected before filling to avoid medical ingredient rejects and to increase productivity.
On the packaging machine, movement often causes foam and bubbles to form in the liquid sealed in the ampoule. The resulting colour deviations within the product must be taken into account by the inspection system, but at the same time the detection of leaking and damaged ampoules must be ascertained.
When picking ampoules and pushing them into the tray, breakage can occur. This is particularly problematic with clear liquid in colourless glass, as there are very few colour differences that the inspection system could detect.
Depending on whether the marking is printed or burnt in, poor ring quality may occur. Air pockets under the rings are also possible.
Another problem is the occurrence of parallax errors – if the camera is not directly above the ampoule, the position as well as the width of the markings on the neck of the ampoule can be distorted. If this is not compensated for by camera positioning, distortion-free lenses or software, incorrect ejection of correct ampoules can occur.
Liquids filled in the correct ampoule may cause different reflections in the tray due to high viscosity, for example in concentrates. These make the inspection of the integrity of the ampoules difficult.
■Recommended system for the inspection of ampoules
The most common inspection task that scanware carries out on active ingredient ampoules is the inspection of presence, integrity, marking and label presence on glass ampoules in the tray or individual inspection on labellers. For this we recommend the inspection with PATERA Parenterals, the artificial intelligence-based system for vials, syringes and ampoules.
Highlights of the PATERA Parenterals inspection system
- Fast product changeover with maximum inspection reliability, as label and ampoule are inspected in one step, even with mixed blisters, e.g. solid vial containing a solid and the ampoule containing a and solvent.
- The user interface is easy to use and customisable to the operator. This includes Alert View – central placement of system messages – and gesture control.
- True colour recognition with up to 16 million colours and 2,100 images per minute can also reliably inspect particularly demanding product-tray combinations, both in mixed blisters and individually.
The following criteria can be inspected:
- Number of colour rings
- Ring colours
- Ranking of the rings
- Ring quality
- Ring distances
- Breaks and length of the entire colour ring code
- Presence / location of the label
UV illumination can be used for the inspection of transparent labels.
Alternative inspection tasks
Plastic ampoules are frequently used, especially in the cosmetics sector. Here, primarily the shape and the labelling are checked. A black-and-white system is ideal for this purpose, especially when checking the labelling, see SIGNUM Print.
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