OEM automates plastic syringe production process

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A pharmaceutical equipment maker that launched an automation project in 2018 reaped unexpected rewards as demand for syringes surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the company enlisted the services of custom automation specialist NuTec Tooling Systems to automate syringe manufacturing, which involves a proprietary coating process that gives plastic syringes similar properties to glass syringes. The system uses four SCARA cleanroom robots from Epson Robots, a world leader in PC-controlled precision factory automation.

The design phase of the project began in 2018 and the machine was ready for operation in November 2020, Epson reports in a press release. Timing allowed the OEM to work with government agencies at a critical time to develop a cost-effective process for manufacturing mass quantities of syringes for use in the fight against COVID-19. Plastic syringes are cheaper to manufacture than their glass counterparts, and automating the process has allowed the OEM to further reduce costs and rapidly ramp up mass production.

“Epson’s G6 Series high-speed SCARA robots with Epson RC+ software enable precision processes with exceptional repeatability and assembly pick-and-place capabilities,” said Brent Martz, director of sales and of Marketing, NuTec Tooling. “Ease of use and application, versatility in the Epson RC+ development environment, plus an ISO-3 rating and compliance with cleanroom standards, make them ideal for this project and the medical industry in general.” , where speed and precision are essential to the manufacturing process.

Within the machine, the first Epson G6 robot removes syringes from a tank for the coating process. Syringes are coated at 38 pieces per minute and then passed through various checkpoints. Then the syringes are siliconed, the temporary caps are replaced with permanent caps and they are inspected with X-rays before being put back into a container by a second SCARA robot. A third SCARA robot takes a container full of syringes, applies an inner and outer lid and seals it before handing it over to the fourth and final Epson SCARA robot which applies a label with a laser marker. NuTec chose to synchronize the third and fourth Epson SCARA robots in the same envelope, reducing one production step and creating greater production efficiency.

“At Epson, we innovate to solve today’s complex automation needs, and our partners are instrumental,” said Scott Marsic, Group Product Manager, Epson Robots. “NuTec’s extensive experience and talented staff help provide customers with a clear view of customization Together, we offer the perfect blend of innovative, high-performance solutions and design expertise for complex assembly applications in the medical industry. , including COVID-19.

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