PALC Unit Image Processing Systems

Pass Control

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If a drug company wishes to set up a transparent and traceable production system at the last minute, it may possibly come across Industrielle Sensorsysteme Wichmann GmbH (ISW), a company based in Kölln-Reisiek near Elmshorn. With around twenty employees, the company has grown to become a specialist in optical identification systems. ISW started out as an integration partner focusing on image processing systems and has since developed into a manufacturer of special machines and plants, mostly with image processing solutions as a central task. “ISW customers appreciate the fact that we offer more flexibility than some major companies, and nevertheless still offer an all-round carefree package of image processing machines together with the integration in production as well as in the customer’s ERP and MES systems,” explained Tobias Wichmann, authorized representative for sales and application.

Individual testing systems

The solutions address the needs of the pharmaceutical sector but also other sectors such as the packaging and automotive industry. ISW has in its portfolio a number of standard machines for identification solutions which are adapted to the specific requirements of the customer. These include solutions that offer more than track and trace functionality. For example, systems are available for visually inspecting the workmanship and quality of motor parts.

The PALC unit is mostly used in the pharmaceutical sector, and PALC unit stands for Package Aggregation Line Controller. In its standard application, the machine marks a folded box with a unique serial number, product specific data and a data matrix code. It then checks the quality of the print. This is necessary to guarantee readability at the end customer (i.e., in the drugstore). In extreme cases, illegible medicine packs cannot be sold. The system is designed in different modules for the particular customer in order to optimize connections at the specific production lines, or to meet the requirements of the different marking processes.

The PALC unit consists of a conveyor belt which feeds the folded boxes to a camera with a lighting system. The read process of the camera is triggered by a reflex sensor. The camera checks the quality of the print on the basis of parameters taught. If the print result does match the target values, a compressed air nozzle blows this folded box from the conveyor belt to a reject chute. All other folded boxes are transported further in the process and if necessary fed to a connected packaging unit. The PALC unit is parameterized via an HMI, which shows a graphical user interface. If production changes to a different box size, this can be changed via the HMI.