Tote Empty Detection System System
As the mail-order pharmacy industry grows and continues to provide convenient services to its patients, there is a more prominent need for automated processes when handling, packaging and distributing medication. Innovative technology such as machine vision systems can help mail-order fulfillment centers guarantee product integrity, safety, and ensure that requirements are met efficiently.
Artemis Vision has taken steps to keep up with the evolving industry, by developing its latest technology that confirms the absence of products in totes after filling the order, and prior to shipping it out to customers. This inspection is completed downstream near the end of the production process but before the order leaves the facility, which means a vast amount of time and money can be saved by no longer incorrectly shipping orders as any items left in the tote are found before the order leaves without them. Artemis Vision’s Tote Empty Detection System not only helps save money but helps to improve quality assurance and reduce customer complaints.
The Tote Empty Detection System keeps up with high-volume production facilities and provides operators with repeatable and reliable results. Operators no longer need to spend extra time double-checking totes during a manual inspection, which can also lead to unnecessary costs due to human errors. Meeting high standards in the pharmaceutical industry goes without asking, which is why automated inspections are critical to ensure repeatable results and avoid customer mishaps or the chance that the company’s brand might be tarnished.
Customer complaints and industry standards are some of the important reasons to verify product absence, but health care companies can face additional hurdles when shipping an incorrect order such as varying state regulations and safety concerns. To help tackle these hurdles the Tote Empty Detection System provides a turnkey, in-line solution that mail-order pharmaceutical production facilities need to stay compliant.
System Specs and Highlights
- Item Size: The system can detect items down to 3x3 cm and taller than 2 cm.
- Conveyor Speed: The system can accommodate a variety of speeds.
- Tote Size: The system currently accommodates 10.5” x 14.5” totes. Customers can request that the system is scaled up or down to meet tote size requirements.
- Inspection Technique: The system detects by color or depth and even provides results for objects in tricky orientations, and varying colors.
- Tote Orientation: The system can inspect totes at a 180° rotation.
Shipping an incorrect order wastes valuable product, and causes the company to have to scramble and pay for expedited shipping to replace the product for the customer who was shorted. With shipping, this cost can vary from $50-$2,000 depending on the product missed. It can also hefty fines for HIPAA violations of $25,000 or more if information from one patient reaches another. However, the solution’s cost is affordable enough that the savings in drug costs alone from preventing one order from leaving per day, will pay for the solution in about 3-6 months.
How Does It Work
The system is simple, it combines an industrial camera, lighting, photoeyes, and a PC, which is then easily integrated into existing lines. Totes move along the conveyor trigger the system to begin an inspection by imaging the tote and providing detection results to the operator. If an object is detected, the system will notify that something has been found, which allows the operator to pull the tote from the line without any downtime. The system’s image and inspection results are also recorded for future recall and analysis.
This robust and innovative system easily detects products by color or depth and can provide inspection results for objects placed in various locations in the totes, tricky orientations and even varying colors, which other systems might find hard to accomplish. Customizable features allow the system to accommodate smaller or larger totes, and inspect a larger surface area if required, while still providing the best results. Tote inspection results and images are processed immediately and accurately to give customers the assurance they need.
Implementing the Tote System Today