Now made possible: automatic aggregation of pharma packages

Dec 2, 2014

With the CPS modular machine concept, the pharmaceutical product division of Bosch Packaging Technology offers intelligent complete solutions for packaging, serializing, aggregation, and the provision of tamper-evident authenticity protection for pharmaceuticals. In the process of combining packages in track-and-trace containers, SICKs DeltaPac MultiTask photoelectric sensor can be relied upon to accurately count units without any interruptions to the product flow. Moreover, where automatic aggregation is concerned, it makes all the difference.   DeltaPac_Bosch

With its CPS product family, Bosch Packaging Technology offers customers packaging line solutions that can be combined on a modular basis and are able to process up to 400 folding boxes per minute. The printing and monitoring systems we use meet all standards and global legislation for identifying, serializing, and aggregating folding boxes in the pharmaceutical industry, explains Daniel Sanwald, Product Manager at Bosch Packaging Technology. Given that process reliability is absolutely the number one priority, DeltaPac is the ideal solution for the CPS aggregation module.  


DeltaPac: simply better for counting - without gaps


DeltaPac takes maximum advantage of the edge contours of packages and folding boxes, with the light beams from the four PinPoint2.0 LEDs moving over the front side of each object. In this state, the four receivers of the two energy scales absorb the same amount of light, creating remission balance. If the front edge of an object crosses a light beam, the balance will change. Like any conventional weighing machine, the energy scale becomes unbalanced as soon as the amount of light energy distributed to the respective receivers differs. The object contour generates a unique energy signal. Having reliably detected the change in the direction of the reflected light, the DeltaPac transmits a switching signal accordingly. As a result, mechanical singulation is no longer needed in the continuous material flow. A constant product flow can thus be achieved without risk of collisions and jams.  


Bosch Packaging: Automatic and seamless aggregation now made possible

Once the packages have been labeled and sealed ready for sale, they are combined (both physically and in terms of data) in bundles in the aggregation module. In the aggregation module, they are detected by the DeltaPac and read by a Lector®620 image-based code reader. Bosch Packaging Technology has integrated both sensors in the aggregation module into an attractive stainless steel housing.


The perfect partnership: DeltaPac supplies the trigger signal for the Lector®620 image-based code reader. The perfect partnership: DeltaPac supplies the trigger signal for the Lector®620 image-based code reader.    

The DeltaPac counts the bundled packages by counting the leading edges. After this, the bundle containing the number of packages programmed in the control is transported to a robot module for outer packaging. Before the DeltaPac, this automatic and seamless method of aggregation simply was not possible, remembers Daniel Sanwald. Previously, only manual workstations were possible: a single person would pick up each package one by one, scan it, and place it inside the next aggregation unit. When full, the outer packaging is forwarded to a pallet handling machine. Each stage of the aggregation process is verified seamlessly, explains Daniel Sanwald. In the ERP system, this produces a complete aggregation structure which is similar to a pyramid and maps all stages of the bundling process, thereby supporting seamless track and trace. Identification of the packages and reliable counting with the DeltaPac maximize process reliability and enable a product to be tracked and traced at any time and at any stage throughout the entire production, packaging, and logistics process.  


Easy operation, high flexibility

DeltaPac can be configured for different types of packaging via the SOPAS ET configuration software. DeltaPac can be configured for different types of packaging via the SOPAS ET configuration software.[/caption] The DeltaPac is available in preconfigured versions specifically for round or prismatic packages or those with rounded edges, as well as for folding boxes with virtually rectangular edges - mounting, connecting, detecting. Where individually optimized device configurations are required for the counting of packages in the seamless material flow, there is a variant of the DeltaPac available with IO-Link. The DeltaPac can be customized to meet individual requirements with the SOPAS-ET configuration software via this interface. It is extremely easily to configure the sensor for a huge variety of application conditions, (for different types of packaging, for example) by simply entering the packaging radius and width, along with the speed of the conveyor belt.  


Safe packing, serialization, and aggregation with sensor technology from SICK

The innovative detection concept of the DeltaPac has allowed Bosch Packaging Technology to develop an aggregation module which could not be more flexible, more compact, or more reliable. As well as the MultiTask photoelectric sensor and the Lector®620 code reader already mentioned, a range of other SICK sensors are used in the CPS systems. They include AFS60 EtherCAT absolute encoders, hand-held scanners from the IDM16x product family, UFnext ultrasonic fork sensors, WTB4-3 photoelectric proximity sensors, the innovative Glare sensor, and inductive proximity sensors from the IME08 product family. Alongside the performance of the sensors, the ability to purchase everything from a single source and rely on global support from the SICK network are more important plus points from the point of view of a multinational machine manufacturer like Bosch Packaging Technology.