Pharma

Reconfiguring machines easily with Lion

When medications are being packaged, no mistakes are permitted. The Lion augmented reality application from the Körber Business Area Pharma makes quality-relevant resetting processes safe and easy.

The garage-sized machine that the developer Theresa Toldo is standing in front of will soon be delivered to a customer. The machine will be used to package various medications in different kinds of packages. The requirements for this process are complex: Mix-ups must not happen, and absolutely no residue from the previously packaged product or product materials can be left in the machine. Checking the machine for any product or material residues by means of previously defined steps in the form of a checklist is known as line clearance. It is crucial to success in the pharmaceutical industry and is prescribed by law.

To help customers improve their mastery of the challenge of flawless processing, Körber has developed Lion. Through this system, operators are led through the process end-to-end by superimposed — that is, augmented — images right at the machine. The physical checklist is replaced by a digital one, and the work steps to be carried out are directly represented at the machine in virtual form.

If a new pharmaceutical product has to be packaged on the machine, a defined number of machine parts and settings need to be changed and the machine must be checked to ensure that it is clear of any product or material residues. This process is called a “format change.” 

Theresa Toldo demonstrates how Lion is used to carry out a format change. She puts on a special set of goggles that recognize the machine and represent all the relevant information about the necessary work steps directly at the corresponding positions in the machine. Which screw must be adjusted, and how? Which values have to be taken into account? 

The Hololens goggles can do things that generally only highly qualified and trained experts can perform. The goggles guide the developer through the complete process by providing precise instructions. The big advantage of this solution is that although resetting processes are still needed, they are now carried out efficiently and flawlessly. The solution safeguards the quality assurance that is so important for pharmaceutical production.

For Toldo, the reconfiguration process is easy. The goggles enable her to look directly into the machine to see which work steps must be carried out in which sequence. That also includes the documentation of the process, but thanks to the camera of the Hololens this is especially easy to do. The work that has been accomplished is photographed at certain locations, and the photographs are automatically integrated into the documentation. Thanks to Lion, the previously necessary cross-checking against paper-based checklists is now a thing of the past.

increase in efficiency

for machine operators thanks to Lion, in part because errors are avoided and the documentation time is zero.

All the participants are simultaneously connected

But Lion can do even more. The developer is not the only one who can see the work steps that the Hololens goggles are prompting her to carry out. Her colleagues can also follow her work steps on their displays. The collected data and know-how are valuable for several reasons. Firstly, in the future they will make it possible to support customers remotely; secondly, they will help to optimize customers’ processes; and thirdly, the information that has been gained will be integrated into the development of future generations of machines.

lWith this technology our customers seamlessly document quality-relevant processes.r

Frederik Thiele, Product Lead Lion Suite, Körber Business Area Pharma

Lion is the answer to key questions and needs of the pharmaceutical sector. This application ensures that machine operators always have the knowledge they need for their work at their fingertips. The system behind these smart goggles makes it much easier for customers to operate their production machines and production lines and makes quality-relevant resetting processes simpler and more reliable. “With this technology our customers seamlessly document quality-relevant processes,” says Frederik Thiele, Product Lead Lion Suite. “That raises quality control to a new level and increases the utilization rate of the machines.”

Toldo’s mission for today is finished. She takes off the goggles with a smile and says, “It’s simply brilliant!”

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