Intelligent Machine & Production Line
Marchesini Group AI Program
The line chosen to launch the AI Program consists of three machines that represent the current state-of-the-art of primary and secondary packaging technologies for pharmaceutical blisters. Upstream, there is the robotic Integra 320 blister packager equipped with a Valida infeed system - with five cameras to control shape, thickness and colour of pills - and with “HarleNIR” system, a Near InfraRed spectroscopy solution for the acknowledgment of the active ingredient.
Labelling is carried out by the BL-A420 CW - equipped with a loading cell completely built into the step conveyor system. This is a complete solution for tracking, serialising and labelling cartons, giving a unique identity to each pharmaceutical product packed. At the end of the line there is a case-packer for Track&Trace MC 820 TT fully equipped to complete final aggregation of the product.
Based on the experience of this line named “4.0 ready”, those that follow suit in the near future will form a generation of stand-alone machines and complete lines designed according to the concepts of IoT: they will not be just “objects” but real intelligent and linked assets, making business interactive and its management systems proactive, by supporting Data Analytics and Business Intelligence platforms.
They won’t be difficult to use. Just think of the latest generation of smart phones for example. They are complex devices but you don’t realise it. The HMI layer separating the operator from the heart of the machine is already present as an ergonomic monitor, actually not much bigger than a tablet, providing access control, complete reporting and statistics on production batches. In the future, it is set to become even more user-friendly and compact.
Another important aspect concerning production is that of additive manufacturing. This term indicates a set of techniques and manufacturing technologies exploited to create a finished product without having to make it from an unfinished cast, which was characteristic of conventional subtractive technology.
Today, Marchesini has a dedicated department with 3D printers working 24 hours a day to make prototypes and specific production parts, each with a different engineering design. The prototyping centre exploits the 3D printers to process parts made of plastic, metal or bi-materials, directly from the drawings to the actual physical production of the object: in this way, designers can see the result of their creativity and test it immediately. The goal is to make the design planning and innovation activities faster than standards of the past, by-passing projects printed on paper and automatically pinpointing the best processing strategies. The times and costs required to make the parts can be cut, simultaneously monitoring production planning, machine wear and tear and error management.
Robotics also have a key role in this process. The robotic hands developed in-house by Marchesini have always made production faster, thanks to their capacity to efficiently manage the primary transfer phases upstream (e.g. transferring the pills into the blisters) and the secondary transfer phases downstream (putting the blister into its carton). Marchesini’s patented robots are specifically devised for packaging and are an integral part of the machines. They can adapt to the various sizes, weights and shapes of the products to be packaged.
Cameras are also integrated into the cutting-edge machines, which ensure utmost flexibility in managing the various products and materials to be packaged. On Marchesini’s solutions, these cameras are usually used within serialisation systems to unmistakeably code each package so that it can be recognised, traced and identified.
To conclude, thanks to Cyber Security technologies, Marchesini protects its computerised systems by using encrypted channels for sensitive information and anti-intrusion software.