The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is at the top of the global agenda. Providing vaccines to people around the world means providing about 8 billion doses - with a single dose for every person in the world. In addition to the availability of the vaccine, a decisive factor in the race against time is the availability of glass vials. To ensure that mass vaccination against coronavirus does not fail because of the container, bottle producers are massively increasing their production so as not to become the proverbial bottle bottle in the supply chain.
However, medical-grade vaccine vials are not standard glass tubes. Whether they are rolled-edged vials, threaded bottles or light bulbs, they are all special borosilicate glass and require custom production lines. Glass must be resistant to a wide range of chemicals and temperature changes and should not contaminate drugs, for example. Any interaction between the container and the liquid contained should be avoided, as any chemical interference could alter the vaccine. The slightest scratch or crack can render an entire batch unusable, contaminate the system during the filling process, or even cause the machine to shut down. The requirements placed on manufacturers are enormous: it is not only a matter of producing large quantities quickly, but also of maintaining particularly high quality standards. IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH's industrial cameras in Obersulm are used. In an intelligent multi-camera system for the quality control of the vaccine vials of Isotronic GmbH, in Bad Konigshofen, they manage the image acquisition part.
With the increase in production capacity, solutions that can be integrated quickly are requested. The "VialChecker" developed by Isotronic meets this growing demand. "Our system allows for high-speed processing and is generally used at several points in the production line," explains Gregor Fabritius, ISotronic's managing director.
The system works with a maximum of eight cameras per unit, with camera models varying according to the requirements of the corresponding control task.
For example, they observe the glass of the tube in lateral rotation or the bottom of the glass and provide high-resolution images. "IDS cameras capture at least 20 images per rotation, which allows you to control up to 120 vials per minute with very high accuracy to check odds or surface condition," said Valentin Mayer-Eichberger, Chief Operating Officer at Isotronic. The accuracy goes up to 0.01 millimetres for dimensional controls. On the other hand, defects such as cracks, scratches, shrapnel, inclusions or stains are detected with an accuracy of 0.1 square millimetres thanks to powerful cameras. Intelligent software allows accurate analysis and classification of the description of defects.
Experts estimate that global demand for vaccine vials will increase by one to two billion over the next two years. In order to ensure adequate protection for this precious liquid, automatic and efficient control systems are more than ever required to meet the immense quality requirements. "We believe that we are responding to a growing demand here with our cameras and we are pleased to be able to make a contribution to the fight against the pandemic," said Jan Hartmann, Director of IDS Imaging Development Systems.
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