The customer has been using a number of machines to check the weight of product material from their manufacturing process for several years. The client came to us for some new machines, incorporating a number of improvements over the original design.
The original machines were built by the company’s internal engineering group but this resource was no longer available. Also the old machines used obsolete hardware. The challenge was to find an external supplier with the knowledge and expertise to manufacture a new system using modern technology.
We had a good understanding of the requirements for the new machines as we had provided support for the original system for many years.
With our extensive experience in instrument integration we added many improvements, making the system more efficient, with greater reliability and improved safety.
Aitken Scientific built the new machines to weigh powder from Dry Powder Inhaler foil strip, which is the product of the manufacturing process. During this process, small pockets are pressed into the foil strip into which the powder is filled. The machines check that the variation in the weight of powder (less than 20mg) in each pocket remains within defined limits (±2mg). The machines pierce holes through the foil and extract powder from the pocket using a vacuum pump. The strip is weighed before and after each extraction to calculate the weight of the powder which was in the pocket.
The major design change was in the use of new hardware with better rigidity, higher force capability and faster operation than the original device. Other improvements include the addition of a support mechanism which eliminated the stress applied to the balance during a foil piercing operation. This reduced the balance stabilisation time and will significantly extend the operational lifetime of the balance. The extraction mechanism was also redesigned to be more efficient. This has significantly reduced the extraction time per pocket. Combined with full design documents to GAMP standards, the new machine has provided the major blue chip client with a high quality solution that will give them the QA information they need for their production line.
Detailed design documentation was produced at all stages of hardware and software development, including 3D CAD drawings for all engineered components and circuit diagrams for the electrical and pneumatic systems. Comprehensive test documentation was also produced.
Major benefits of our solution
• Reduced time to weigh the powder in the strip
• Reduced wear on the hardware
• More efficient use of the sampling system
• Full GAMP design documentation and CAD drawings for the hardware
• Full traceability in GAMP documentation for the software
Aitken Scientific – dramatic workflow and throughput improvements – it’s what we do!
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