A two-lane checkweigher helps a pharmaceutical manufacturer monitor fill weights and catch any fluctuations in real time.
Teligent refers to quality as its “most important product.” The company produces a diverse range of specialty generic prescription topical and injectable pharmaceuticals, and its quality department sets the rules. And Teligent is investing in high-tech and high-speed equipment to strengthen its capabilities, it shares publicly on its website.
To add a new layer of protection to its production, Teligent recently installed an XS1 checkweigher from Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed. The unusual two-lane checkweigher, located downstream of its two-lane filler, detects and rejects under- and over-filled tubes to ensure final product quality and provides data that helps maximize yields.
“We did our due diligence and looked at several suppliers when we were researching checkweighers. We considered reliability, ease of use, the human machine interface, and service. We chose Mettler-Toledo because they gave us everything we needed. Their reputation for producing great inspection systems also factored into our decision,” says Jason Edwards, Teligent’s packaging manager. “To fit our line, they customized a high-speed, high-accuracy system with a small footprint.”
Mettler-Toledo modified its XS1 checkweigher, turning the typical one-lane configuration into two lanes with a weigh cell under each lane. In addition to achieving the accuracy and throughput that is needed, this unique design mimics the output of Teligent’s two-lane filler and enabled the two machines to be easily integrated. “Our sales rep, Joe Young at Reliant Packaging, helped us select the ideal checkweigher for our application. He took the time to ask us many questions and understand what we needed,” says Al Wissler, maintenance and facilities manager at Teligent.
The XS1 is designed to handle small, lightweight packages of valuable products that weigh less than 200 g. Instead of using common strain gauge load cells, it features advanced electromagnetic force restoration (EMFR) weigh cells. This state-of-the-art technology enables the XS1 to achieve the extremely high accuracy of +/-0.20 g while maintaining a throughput of up to 400 packages per minute.
This checkweigher was installed in June 2015 to inspect small tubes of topical ointments and gels, primarily regulated pharmaceuticals that go to market under a variety of private-label brand names. The line currently fills 12 different products in metal, plastic, and laminate tubes from 3 to 30 g in size.
“We have very high standards at Teligent, and the phenomenal accuracy of this checkweigher helps us meet those standards,” says Ehor Andrasz, the company’s packaging mechanic. “Because laminate tubes don’t seal properly if they are overfilled, we reject overfilled as well as underfilled packages. The system has two reject devices, one for each lane. We segregate rejected packages, which helps ensure our final product quality.”
The XS1 checkweigher at Teligent handles small, lightweight packages of valuable products, achieving the extremely high accuracy of +/- 0.20 g
while maintaining a throughput of up to 400 packages per minute.
“The checkweigher also improves our yields, because we are more proactive in monitoring the fill weight,” adds Mike Bertonazzi, Teligent’s packaging supervisor. “If there’s a fluctuation outside the target weight zone, we’re alerted in real time and can quickly make adjustments to the filler.”
In addition to monitoring real-time data, Teligent exports batch data from the checkweigher to track rejects. The company reviews this data daily to verify that no problems have occurred. Furthermore, comparing batch data enables Teligent to easily analyze equipment performance and improve overall equipment effectiveness.
Designed for ease of use, the XS1 features a 15-inch color touchscreen and an intuitive user interface with a “dashboard” layout for “at-a-glance” monitoring of the production process. “The display is like an odometer that shows if tube weights are drifting,” notes Bertonazzi. “Because product settings are saved to memory, the XS1 is simple to changeover. It’s also password protected with three levels of access, which prevents any unintentional changes.”
Teligent’s Jason Edwards, Mike Bertonazzi, Al Wissler, and Ehor Andrasz (left to right).
“We measure the success of this equipment by its accuracy. We have specific fill-weight requirements for each package that we absolutely must meet, and the XS1 is a very efficient tool to verify that each tube we produce is within our defined range. Unlike traditional sampling techniques, this inline solution achieves 100% inspection with a very high degree of accuracy to streamline our verification,” concludes Edwards. “This checkweigher helps us reliably uphold our commitment to quality. It gives us confidence that every single product coming off the line meets our weight specifications.”
Cat McBride is an associate of McBride Public Relations.
Changing packaging standards, smart packaging, dosing safety, and other topics will be discussed during the June 16 conference at EastPack, "Ensuring Patient Safety & Product Efficacy Through Successful Packaging," held in New York City.