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Pharmaceutical Technology Europe® spoke with Joren van der Horst from Luo Automation, a Dutch company focused on automated visual inspection solutions, at the inaugural Start-Up Market on the show floor at CPHI Barcelona 2023.
Visual inspection is an integral process in the production of filled and sealed pharmaceutical products to ensure there are no particles or contaminants in the finished parenteral dosage form. Currently, both manual and automated processes are used for visual inspection; however, automated systems can be expensive to implement and not always accessible for smaller companies dealing with smaller batch sizes.
Accessibility of automated visual inspection solutions is a key focus for Luo Automation, a Dutch company researching, developing, and producing automated visual inspection machines. To learn more about the company and how it is making visual inspection more accessible, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe® spoke with the company’s founder, Joren van der Horst, at CPHI Barcelona 2023.
"We make visual inspection [solutions] for very small batches,” explained Horst. As with all visual inspection technologies, the primary aim is to check the quality of the medicine and make sure there are no foreign particles or contaminants present, he added.
To perform the inspection, the finished dosage form—syringes, ampoules, and vials—are swirled and then any movement of particles within can be detected, Horst continued. “Another cool thing is the [current interest] in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he said. “We use machine learning algorithms that are pretty new to also detect static defects. So, not only particles but also leakages and such.”
For Horst, a major differentiator for Luo Automation within industry is the focus on smaller-scale inspection. “If you want, you can buy a huge inspection machine that will cost you a couple of million, but then you need to produce 100 million containers per year,” he stressed. “But, if you have clinical trials or personalized medicine, you cannot [perform the inspection] with a huge machine.”
Luo Automation was featured at the inaugural Start-Up Market on the show floor at CPHI Barcelona 2023. CPHI Barcelona ran from Oct. 24–26, 2023.