Pharmaceutical and health product specialist Wasdell has invested more than £640,000 in equipment to remain at the cutting edge of world patient safety.
Among the new purchases by the organisation, whose headquarters are in Blagrove, is a vision inspection system which is able to spot if essential information is missing from labels.
There is also a highly accurate counter which ensures dosages in containers are precise, and a system which automatically identifies any anomalies in tablets and capsules so that damaged or incomplete ones are immediately withdrawn from the production line.
Ayo Sotannde, group validation manager, is responsible for ensuring that the integrity of the product being packed is checked and retained throughout the process.
“It is all about putting quality first, above anything else,” he said.
“For example, the label on a box or bottle needs to have a clear, accurate use-by date, as well as a batch and lot number so that its provenance can be traced back to the time it enters our facility.
"The risks of using people to do that task are well understood – after some time of staring at labels, fatigue tends to set in and the accuracy can begin to suffer. So we have worked with pharmaceutical inspection specialists Jekson Vision and label machines manufacturer Premier to produce two bespoke machines with inbuilt vision systems that eliminate the risk of human error.”
One of the machines will run in Swindon, while the other will be used at Wasdell’s facility in Dundalk, Ireland.
The pharmaceutical grade counting equipment purchased by Mr Sotannde is produced by electronic counting specialist IMA Swiftpack.
“We chose Swiftpack’s Swiftvision MK III, which is a highly versatile counting and filling system that packs at speed,” he said.
“The key benefit of this machine is that it is extremely accurate and once any anomaly is perceived – for example, perhaps two capsules stuck together or a tablet missing – the MK III picks it up via its electrostatic field sensor (EFS) and automatically moves it to a reject station. This machine is so good that we’ve bought two – one for Swindon and, again, one for Dundalk.”
Further recent investment by the Wasdell Group includes Cap Coder liquid filling machines which can cope with filling bottles with very small quantities of medication such as eardrops, a Biopharma Group portable powder filler to prevent cross-contamination and a Precisa scale with a traffic light system which warns operators if an incorrect amount of powder has been inserted into a container.
“Demand for new products and services is constantly increasing, and we are continuing to source the very best equipment to maintain our reputation for superb quality and flexibility,” says Mr Sotannde.
“I consider myself to be very fortunate to be responsible for validation in a group that not only prides itself on quality and accuracy but also has the resources to keep on investing in state-of-the-art machinery.
“Working very closely with some of the world’s best developers and suppliers of specialist pharmaceutical packaging equipment, we are able to ensure that we remain fleet of foot in responding to the changing needs of our customers, whoever and wherever they are.”