Sensors & Transducers

New technology caps pharma bottling process

February 2022 Sensors & Transducers

The new TorqSense SGR530/540, from Sensor Technology, measures torque using a full four-element strain gauge bridge. With this, four separate strain gauges are fixed to the drive shaft of the plant or machinery being monitored. The gauges are aligned so that each measures shaft deflection in a different direction as it rotates under load. Electronics within the sensor collect readings from all four gauges and use them to calculate the torque value in real time. 

Strict international rules apply to the manufacture and packaging of pharmaceutical products and require that the correct environment is maintained within the bottle or other packaging, following capping. To this end, Regulation USP 671 provides a guide to the torque range to be used for screw-type containers with varying closure diameters. By ensuring that bottle caps are successfully applied to the bottles within the required torque tolerances, the integrity of the product can be maintained. 

Bottle capping is nearly always performed at very high speed, so that production targets are met. A major advantage of TorqSense is that it does not need to physically contact either the bottle caps or shaft of the torque head it is monitoring, instead using a radio frequency link. This means initial setup and changeover to new product runs is fast and efficient, while operational reliability is not dependent on delicate slip rings.   

“All one has to do is set up a TorqSense transducer in the capping machine and turn it on,” explains Mark Ingham of Sensor Technology. Significantly, the new SGR530/540 sensors are designed to be drop-in replacements for the older RWT430/440 units they are replacing. They are the same size and shape as their corresponding older model, with the same mounting holes, cables in the same position, etc. 

"All we have had to do to the capping machines was a straightforward swap-out of new for old. It only takes a few minutes,” elaborates Ingham. “Our new SGR TorqSense units are getting a realistic long-term workout on the capping machines, working for long hours at high speed, where they are required to be 100% reliable and consistently accurate. Sensor Technology is working with user-partners in many sectors to assess the new SGR units in a range of working environments.” 

For more information contact Sensor Technology, +44 1869 238400, 


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