In the Spotlight April 2009

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-04-02-2009, Volume 33, Issue 4

Editors' Picks of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Innovations

Pharmaceutical professionals flock to INTERPHEX each year to survey the current state of manufacturing equipment. Vendors display established machines with new features, as well as brand new technology. Attendees can find devices for most parts of the production process, including material handling, dosage-form manufacturing, quality control, and packaging operations. This month's products were all shown at INTERPHEX 2009 (Mar. 17–19) in New York City and illustrate the breadth of the show's scope. Telstar's vial unloader assists in sterile manufacturing, and Mettler-Toledo Safeline's checkweigher helps ensure that products are packaged appropriately. Deacom's software solution enhances management decisions by collecting data from various information systems.

Checkweigher offers accuracy and speed

The Starweigh checkweigher from Mettler-Toledo Safeline (Tampa, FL) is designed to provide accurate measurements at high throughputs. Packages enter the Starweigh machine and are guided into one of the custom-designed pockets in the unit's rotating starwheel. As the starwheel indexes, it stops briefly, allowing the package to be weighed. The Starweigh unit can be designed to accommodate as many as five scales to increase throughput. Users also can change the starwheels to accommodate packages of various shapes. The Starweigh unit verifies the weight of each package and can be configured to reject underweight or overweight containers. The system can also calculate the average weight of a sample of packages and send adjustment signals upstream to filler systems to compensate for changes in filler performance.

Starweigh checkweigher Mettler-Toledo Safeline

Vial unloader facilitates maintenance

The Lyogistics RXRLUS 400 vial unloader from Telstar (Barcelona) is designed for easy integration into a lyophilization chamber with a standard monoblock layout. The unloader's moving parts are located in the machinery-room side of the chamber to facilitate maintenance and reduce the overall footprint. The system's motion is synchronized with that of the lyophilizer's shelf stack, thereby ensuring a consistent unloading speed as high as 400 vials/min.

Lyogistics RXRLUS 400 vial unloader Telstar

The unloading system is mounted to a flanged port below the main vapor duct in the rear of the lyophilization chamber. A stainless-steel bellows seals the connection through the chamber wall.

Software generates documents easily

The Deacom enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from Deacom (Wayne, PA) provides an easy way to generate batch-related documents. The single, integrated system stores all business data (e.g., inventory, laboratory results, and production information) in one place. The product makes data readily available to users and "automatically generates the proper document for a given product or customer," says Jay Deakins, the company's president.

Deacom software solution Deacom

Faulty links between various information systems can cause business processes to fail, but the Deacom ERP has "eliminated the link points" to provide unity and prevent failures, Deakins says.

In addition, the system incorporates barcoded lot tracking to facilitate strict lot control and product recalls. The Deacom product also can enforce business processes to strengthen quality control. The software is designed for the pharmaceutical industry and enables processes to conform to 21 CFR Part 11 requirements.