PALC Unit Image Processing Systems Pass Control

Author / Editor: Uwe Tiedemann / Lisa Saller, Lisa Saller

The PALC unit image processing systems from ISW use Turck’s Codesys programmable BL20 gateway to check data matrix codes and plain text. The advanced image processing systems manufactured by the German company Industrielle Sensorsysteme Wichmann GmbH (ISW) are used in all sectors of industry.

This photoelectric sensor at the reject area of the PALC unit is used to verify the rejection.
This photoelectric sensor at the reject area of the PALC unit is used to verify the rejection.
(Photo: Turck)

In the machines of the PALC unit series, Turck's Codesys-programmable BL20 gateway processes the signals of different sensors and devices, operating as a PLC and coordinating the functions of the subsystems. The simple programming and optimum dimensions for this application were some of the key factors in choosing the BL20 system.


Imagine that you have a headache, and so you take a conventional acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) pill, which helps ease the pain. With the aspirin pack in your hand, you could use the data matrix code printed on it and the relevant databases of the manufacturer to find out who was involved in producing your pack, and thank everyone involved personally.

Who supplied the required chemicals and primary products? Who put the pallet with your pack into the warehouse? Which transport company picked up the pack and when, and what time it arrived at your drugstore? Clearly the possibility to say “thank you” was not a major priority in implementing the comprehensive traceability of medicine, but it really is fascinating nevertheless.

Transparency in the entire process

There are few sectors in which the processes have the same degree of transparency and traceability as the pharmaceutical sector. As in the food industry, this is primarily due to the health relevance of the products concerned. People have to eat food and take pharmaceutical products. The comprehensive transparency of the process ensures absolutely fault-free production and thus keeps the risk to consumers down to a minimum.

In the pharmaceutical industry, traceable production is also a requirement of brand protection. The ability to trace every single pack from the drugstore back to the production plant makes the work of any product pirate more difficult. Suppliers selling the goods can be prosecuted more easily. As it stands, most major manufacturers have already implemented security systems for the traceability of their products. The EU Falsified Medicines Directive 2011/62/EC (FMD) requires all pharmaceutical companies in the EU to have implemented the full traceability of their products by the second quarter of 2018.