Editor's Choice


How lighting solutions support lean manufacturing processes

November 2023 Editor's Choice Industrial Wireless

The philosophy of lean principles is a big trend in the pharmaceutical industry. It emphasises using time and resources as efficiently as possible in order to reduce waste and focus on value-added activities.There are many ways in which time and resources can be wasted in the pharmaceutical factory. For example, ineffective error proofing and quality inspection procedures can result in product contamination and recalls, leading to wasted material production time. In addition, communication throughout the factory can take up significant time and resources unless there is a solution in place to streamline messages.

A long-term solution to the challenge of waste must allow manufacturers to not only increase efficiency in the short term, but also learn from inefficiencies and make data-driven adjustments for continuous improvement. Here are four examples of how lighting solutions can help increase efficiency by addressing common sources of wasted time and resources in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Inspection lighting

Reliable manufacturing of pharmaceutical products requires comprehensive inspections. It is extremely important to identify particulates or foreign substances of any size to avoid contamination and product recall. Often, this is accomplished by visual inspections, since automated inspection systems are not always feasible. But even manual inspections are prone to error, especially if lighting conditions are not ideal for visual verification.

Since many of the particulates are extremely small, it is important to have bright and highly uniform illumination in inspection stations, so operators can effectively verify the quality of products. An example is confirming that there are no contaminants present on an IV bag or glass vial. Fluorescent bulbs tend to flicker from changes in intensity, which can compromise inspection accuracy, and they must be frequently changed. In contrast, bright, uniform LED lights allow operators to detect minute particulates reliably and efficiently, improving quality control and reducing the risk of wasted time and materials.

Pick-to-light sensors

Assembly processes can also be streamlined with the use of light. For example, in kitting applications it is important to include all of the correct parts in each kit. Errors can occur if there are many different parts to remember or if an operator becomes distracted. To reduce the risk of error, pick-to-light sensors can be interfaced with a process controller programmed with the correct assembly sequence in order to guide the assembler to the correct parts in the correct order.

As the assembler takes a part in sequence and breaks the beam, the sensor detects that the part was removed and it sends an output signal to the controller. The controller then verifies if the correct part was taken, and the controller signals the pick-to-light sensor of the next bin in the pick sequence to light up. The system can also be configured to signal the assembler that an incorrect pick has occurred.

A pick-to-light system increases task efficiency by simplifying job training, increasing quality control and reducing the need for rework and inspections. It also speeds the resumption of work after breaks and other distractions.

Indicator lights

Communication can also be a source of wasted time, and the visual factory allows for communication to occur seamlessly. Indicator lights can be used to indicate environmental status information for clean rooms like current temperature and humidity. This allows employees to identify rooms that need attention immediately. They can also be used as visual guidance when assistance is needed on machines. For example, lights can be configured to indicate when a machine requires an action, such as replenishing labels. The use of indicator lights simplifies communication of problems and allows issues to be addressed quickly, so normal operation can resume.


Wirelessly connected lights

To ensure efficient processes throughout the pharmaceutical factory, machine operators must quickly and easily determine the status of machines. Tower lights equipped with wireless communication capabilities display a visual indication of an event for immediate action. They can also transmit wireless alerts to operators outside of the visual range. This helps operational problems to be identified and addressed immediately.

In addition, machine data can be wirelessly transmitted and stored for long-term data logging and analysis. In other words, not only can operators quickly respond to alerts as they occur, but a history of alerts can also be stored and analysed offline for use in overall equipment effectiveness calculations. This data can also be used for predictive maintenance, further saving on costs and time.

In summary, lean manufacturing seeks to reduce wasted time and resources throughout the factory. The right kind of industrial lighting can help increase efficiency and reduce material waste, while ensuring product quality, and compliance with local and international regulations in the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information contact Turck Banner, +27 11 453 2468, brandon.topham@turckbanner.co.za, www.turckbanner.co.za


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Condition monitoring to go
Turck Banner Southern Africa Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Anyone who wants to efficiently monitor the climate in control cabinets will find a comprehensive range of control cabinet monitors for the DIN rail in Turck Banner’s cabinet condition monitoring family.

Read more...
PC-based control for waterjets
Beckhoff Automation Editor's Choice
Control systems are subject to very specific demands from every form of production technology, including waterjet cutting. IGEMS from Sweden set itself the goal of taking this process to a new level in terms of precision and speed, and achieved it with the help of PC-based control.

Read more...
Read/write head with system redundancy
Turck Banner Southern Africa Industrial Wireless
Turck Banner’s robust multiprotocol Ethernet read/write head adds an efficient solution to the existing RFID portfolio, with unique features in terms of startup time, communication and safety.

Read more...
Case History 193: The big dipper.
Michael Brown Control Engineering Editor's Choice
This article gives an example of an important flow control system for flare gas in a petrochemical refinery. The control was suffering from serious problems, often cycling severely, and at other times the flow process variable (PV) would suddenly move quite a lot away from the setpoint (SP).

Read more...
Edge computing: Introducing AI into the factory
Editor's Choice IT in Manufacturing
As AI evolves, it is evident that the most powerful models will be cloud-based, and hosted in data centres that are beyond the control of the average business. The practical application of AI in manufacturing control and automation will only be possible if some of the computing workloads can be brought onto the plant, inside the firewall and inside the plant network.

Read more...
36 years of innovation and success
SAM Systems Automation & Management Editor's Choice System Integration & Control Systems Design
Systems Automation & Management was established in 1988 at a time when there were no other systems integrators (SIs) in the process business. SA Instrumentation & Control’s editor caught up with managing director, Claudio Agostinetto to find out more about how this thriving company has prospered over the last 36 years.

Read more...
The world’s greatest model railway
Horne Technologies Editor's Choice Motion Control & Drives
Located in Hamburg’s traditional warehouse district, Speicherstadt features the largest model railway in the world, and is one of the most exciting tourist attractions in Germany.

Read more...
Loop signature 23: Tuning part 1.
Michael Brown Control Engineering Editor's Choice
This is the first of several articles dealing with the subject of tuning. I have found that many people think that optimisation consists solely of tuning. I would stress once again that tuning is the last thing one should do when optimising regulatory controls.

Read more...
Plastics meets packaging for consistent and efficient process control
Beckhoff Automation Editor's Choice
PC- based and EtherCAT-based control and drive technology from Beckhoff represent a universal solution that transcends industry and application boundaries. This standardised and scalable automation platform offers numerous advantages. Industry experts delve into how machine builders and end users in the plastics and packaging industry can capitalise on these advantages.

Read more...
Flexible strip light for industrial applications
Turck Banner Southern Africa Industrial Wireless
Turck Banner’s new WLF12 Pro enables users to install strip lights on curved surfaces or anywhere a slim, low-profile indicator light is needed on industrial equipment. Machine status is easily communicated to people working nearby due to the light’s multicolour capabilities and advanced animations.

Read more...