Corona vaccine; automation solution for checking, labelling and packaging of glass vials with vaccine
We supplied the automation process for a filling plant for a special machine manufacturer in the vicinity. The end customer in Lower Saxony carries out sterile and aseptic filling; in this plant, the Biontech vaccine against Corona viruses.
Three robots with elaborate grippers are used. A camera detects the position of the drawers of the Kanban trolleys and the positions of the rows of vials within the drawers. The first robot cell opens and closes the drawers, removes 46 vials in rows and places them on a conveyor belt with a buffer section. This leads to an optical inspection system that checks the glass vials for damage (200 vials per minute). For a process-safe operation, the belt is stopped and started gently again and again.
The second robot cell is designed to open and close drawers on two parallel Kanban trolleys. The vials are picked up again from the conveyor and placed back in the trolley for further production steps. They are then unloaded again and transferred to the next conveyor belt for labelling and packaging. This means that both robots in this cell can load and unload alternately.
The safety concept of the complete robot system includes floor scanners to monitor the danger zone, taking into account the safety distance. If a person enters a safety area, the respective robot stops.
In addition, qualification documents were prepared according to GMP guidelines.
Parallel communication with machine suppliers and machine builders enabled seamless dovetailing and thus rapid vaccine production. The result was a sensationally short project runtime of 16 weeks (from project start to production).
In the filling line, one vial is packed every 0.3 seconds. These are 6 vaccine doses. Extrapolated to the hour, 12,000 vials are filled and packed. This corresponds to 72,000 vaccine doses or 36,000 people per hour who can be protected against the virus.
We are proud to be able to make such an important contribution in the fight against the pandemic.
- Siemens SIMATIC S7-1500 Safety
- Siemens ComfortPanel HMI TP1200
- 3 Yaskawa robots with complex grippers (PLC)
- Interfaces to different parts of the plant
- Sick floor scanner