While consistent packaging quality is a priority for all manufacturers, the stakes are particularly high for the pharmaceutical industry. Arguably, the most regulated consumer products segment, drug companies must continually retool their processes to meet ever more stringent requirements. With additional product identifi cation and tracking mandates soon to go
into effect, pharmaceutical companies and the contract packagers who serve them must evaluate their equipment for serialization readiness. The new CT200™ continuous motion cartoner from MGS Machine is designed to meet the latest demands facing this market efficiently and cost-effectively.
Founded in 1979 and based in Maple Grove, Minnesota, MGS Machine specializes in secondary packaging and material handling equipment for the life sciences, personal care and cosmetics industries. “Our CT200 cartoner fi lls a specific packaging niche for common applications in the healthcare segment involving products in bottles, tubes or blisters being loaded into a carton,” said Richard Bahr, president and CEO,
MGS Machine. “This machine is dedicated to delivering those products in shelf-ready cartons that meet the latest regulations.” At the front of the machine, the filled bottles, tubes or blisters enter a product handling module via an infeed conveyor. Literature inserts can also be added to the product buckets at this point. Utilizing a timing screw mechanism, products are paced and then tipped into cartons, which have been erected farther down the line. Next, carton flaps are glued or tucked. Before exiting the machine, required information including serialization code, expiration date, lot and/or 2-D barcoding is imprinted on the end of the carton.
Finally, carton coding is inspected with a vision system, and non-conforming cartons are ejected. The machine is built for speeds up to 200 cartons per minute and meets cGMP guidelines. “A number of factors make the CT200 cartoner a unique offering,” explained Bahr. “First, thanks to a dual-axis servo motor configuration, we are able to achieve continuous
motion and load three cartons simultaneously.” In addition, this machine integrates the cartoning function and serialization process within the same machine. “Many packaging lines use different machines for cartoning, print serialization and final vision inspection,” said Bahr. “With the CT200 cartoner, companies can maintain product control in just one machine – and
simplify the chain of custody for their product.” Chain of custody standards guide the “track and trace” or audit requirements for regulated products.
The CT200 cartoner also offers impressive versatility. The product handling module at the front end of the machine is built for either bottle, blister pack or tube applications. Machines can be reconfigured for another application by changing the handling module. “For example, if a contract packager must change from blister packs to bottles, we can deliver an alternate product handling module,” Bahr said. “For a relatively small investment, the module can be applied to the machine onsite – and the new line can be up and running in a matter of days.” Changeovers for different runs of the same type of product are recipe driven from the machine's operator interface and tool-less from a mechanical standpoint. The CT200 cartoner is built on a Rockwell Automation control and information platform featuring an Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ controller. For motion synchronization, the controller is tightly integrated with Allen-Bradley Kinetix® 350 single-axis EtherNet/IP™ servo drives and Allen-Bradley MP-Series™ low inertia servo motors.
Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 525 AC drives control the speed of the conveyors, while Allen-Bradley Guardmaster® safety relays help provide machine and personnel protection. The system is integrated on EtherNet/IP and monitored on an Allen-Bradley 6181 integrated display computer running FactoryTalk® View Machine Edition (ME) software. Through the integrated display, operators can monitor overall machine functionality, plus the printing and vision systems used for serialization, by simply toggling between screens. “We were able to build a serialization-friendly machine by integrating the monitoring for all three systems into one operator interface,” explained Bahr. “The integrated display from Rockwell Automation was
critical to the application.” MGS Machine looks forward to continuing their relationship with Rockwell Automation in subsequent product offerings. “Rockwell Automation is a market leader when it comes to packaging in the healthcare segment we serve,” said Bahr. “When we install Rockwell Automation systems on our machines, we don't have to sell our clients on the control
system. They've already been sold.”
For more information: MGS Machine Corporation, Phone: 763.425.8808 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published October 1, 2014