In the Spotlight

Editors' Picks of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Innovations
Jan 02, 2008
By PharmTech Editors

System improves particle-size analysis


Morphologi G3 system (Malvern Instruments)
The "Morphologi G3" automated particle-characterization system from Malvern Instruments (Malvern, UK) incorporates an automated powder-dispersion device. The system's software controls dispersion parameters precisely, thus reducing sample preparation time. The powder-dispersion device also facilitates reproducible dispersions and ensures consistent particle orientation.

Scientists can choose from 20 parameters to describe particle size and shape. The Morphologi G3 system calculates particle-shape parameters such as elongation, circularity, and convexity to show subtle differences between samples. The unit uses various magnifications to provide high resolution throughout the 0.5–3000-μm particle-size range. The system measures and records every particle in a sample individually, enabling the image-analysis system to detect foreign particles.

In addition, the particle-categorization unit produces scattergrams to allow the easy visualization of measurement data. The scattergram can be used to apply classifications and filters to group or exclude values based on size or shape.

Technology allows nonstop inspection


Omniview vision-software (Cognex)
"Omniview" vision-software technology from Cognex (Natick, MA) enables 360° inspection of cylindrical packages without stopping the production line. The technology uses as many as six cameras to take images of packages as they pass by on the belt.

Because a package may shift on the belt, it may be closer to some cameras than others, resulting in images of varied sizes. Omniview determines the center post of the package and recreates the image with its tilt. The technology recreates a 3-D rendering of the product. The rendering is then "unwrapped" to provide a continuous, flat view of the product surface. This process enables Omniview to eliminate distortion caused by randomly-oriented packages on the belt.

The PC-based system includes tools such as barcode reading and vision inspection.

Temperature recorder provides proof of custody


Log-ic ThermProbeRF temperature recorder (Intelligent Devices and Evidencia)
The "Log-ic ThermProbeRF" is a passive, wireless, probed temperature recorder that uses radio-frequency technology. The product results from a collaboration between Intelligent Devices (Ottawa, Canada) and Evidencia (Memphis, TN). Because the ThermProbeRF unit is wireless, users do not have to remove it from a package to retrieve temperature data. Alex Salomon, general partner of Evidencia, says clients can therefore confirm that seals are intact, and the product has not been tampered with.

Unlike other temperature recorders, the ThermProbeRF identifies which reader retrieved data, when data were retrieved, and what the data were at each point. The ability to keep these records facilitates proof of custody.

The recorder's chip is 5 cm2 and 3 mm thick. Calibrated units as precise as ± 0.1 °C are available. The recorders can be interrogated 250 times per usage.

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