DMW Automation engineers and staff personnel designed and built a custom semi-automated packaging line that solved a complex production handling problem while improving production efficiency and reducing costs.
|Vial serpentine accumulation and tray loading station.|
A major medical contract packaging company approached DMW Automation to provide a semi-automated solution for a packaging problem area on a manual assembly line. The customer had an application requiring excessive manpower and cycle time to hand-load up to 200,000 vials, composed of both active and diluents vials, into thermoformed trays. Each tray held 5 active vials and 5 diluent vials in 2 rows of 5. Their existing method required 30 operators working for 1½ weeks per 200,000 vials packaged (approximately 225 man days).
DMW Automation personnel evaluated the automation challenge and designed a custom platform to take vials from two vial handling conveyor systems and place them into the trays. In order to ensure a successful final design, we first prototyped the mechanism needed to insert the vials into the trays.
The solution we provided was a combination of in-line Indexing and Continuous Motion platforms capable of handling vials at up to 400 parts per minute. The system was integrated with a Weiler Labeling Systems pressure sensitive labeler that labeled the active vials before they were conveyed to the tray loader. The diluent vials were fed by a rotary accumulator. Both vials were continuously fed from these machines in a vertical orientation, rotated 90-degrees horizontally, and transferred to two elevating conveyors, which in turn brought the vials to two vertical accumulation serpentines. The thermoformed trays were placed by operators onto a conveyor that took the trays under the serpentines. As the tray traveled under the serpentines, both types of vials were automatically dispensed into the tray pockets before a mechanism assured full insertion. A color vision system then verified the presence of the 5 active and 5 diluent vials.
After fabrication and assembly, we conducted Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) with the customer present and received their approval to ship the machine. We shipped the machine on site and integrated it with the upstream Weiler Labeling Systems labeler.
Our automated equipment solution resulted in 200,000 vials being handled in 1½ days by 5 operators (7.5 man days), greatly reducing labor costs while greatly increasing productivity. We also significantly improved quality by having the custom automated machine positively verify every single tray that could not be done in the past.
For more information about DMW Automation's success stories and our custom automation equipment and systems services, please call us at 847-437-0665, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.