The hottest automatic material transfer technology

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Automated material transfer technology

big plans need big changes. Apotex, Canada's largest pharmaceutical company, recognizes that the arrival of the golden age means that the sales of their common drugs will gradually decline. With the continuous price pressure of prescription drugs, Apotex found that increasing the production capacity of general drugs is a critical factor for the growth of enterprises

at present, Apotex produces more than 210 drugs and 750 dosage forms. By the end of 2002, early plans had enabled Apotex to produce 8billion doses. By 2007, this figure is expected to reach 12billion

in order to keep up with the prediction of market prosperity, Apotex's management realized that the company needed a new factory to handle its current production and adapt to future growth needs. This project will also require a new understanding of material handling

"we need an effective material handling system to meet our production requirements," said Ron McArthur, senior vice president of Apotex business

in order to help realize the advanced material handling system, Apotex has obtained the help of the Automation Department of FKI logistex

decision to move

the latest manufacturing plant of Apotex in Toronto was completed in 2001, which can be regarded as the contribution of Newton and his apple, because gravity is the driving force behind the movement of pharmaceutical raw materials on the factory floor

this statement is correct, because this building is a multi-storey production facility, rather than a single-storey operation space like other general pharmaceutical factories. In this building, the production operation is located on the lower three floors. The fourth floor is used separately to move raw materials from the attached warehouse and production building. The stainless steel chute in the distribution room on the main floor (ground floor) of the building is used to transport the drug powder to the raw material receiving box on the lower floor (basement). The third floor is equipped with similar chutes to distribute the rolled raw materials to the processing area of the main floor. The vertical conveyor belts and elevators produced by the Automation Department of FKI logistex and the automatic guided vehicles (AGVS) produced by FMC group are responsible for handling the automatic raw material movement between layers in this workshop

a bin handling system designed by FKI logistex is located in the heart of the four floor raw material handling workshop. The vertical conveyor belt can rise 65 feet, but only 50 square feet of floor space. Shuttle trucks are used to transport stainless steel containers weighing more than 6000 pounds from the vertical lift to the loading or unloading area

this new factory uses radio and bar code technology to track raw materials and products, keep raw materials distributed smoothly and prevent production congestion. The bar code on the raw material box is used in the production and processing process, and the smaller plastic carrying box is used to transport the final product to the packaging factory

"this system has indeed reduced the loss of our production, and our output has made a significant leap. At the same time, our residual waste level has decreased." McArthur said

tracking raw materials

if we want to know more clearly how raw materials flow in Apotex's factory, we can track the process of raw materials

first, the weighed raw materials come out of the warehouse and follow their path from the fourth floor to the main floor, where they are transported to the distribution room. After being poured into the stainless steel chute, the raw materials enter the steel treatment box. An AGV then carries each container to the tipping area. At this time, these containers have been marked with their own bar code by Secretary General Chen, who is most afraid of human interference in the process of chemical production

once the raw material rolling is completed, the AGV will transport the raw material box to the complete conveyor and vertical elevator, and then the material box will go to the third floor

when the raw material box reaches its oil cylinder, the piston stroke is small. On the third floor, another AGV pulls the raw material box from the elevator and sends it to the loading station. The bottom of the material box is opened and aligned with a chute. At this time, gravity plays a role and sends the raw materials to the main layer for pressing, slicing or capsule filling

the raw materials that need to be ground or compressed directly go to the compression area. When the processing is completed, these drugs will be sent to the raw material receiving box at the lower layer by the chute. An AGV transports the box to the vertical lift and to the third floor. There the drugs will be distributed to the tablet area or capsule filling area at the main level

in the tablet pressing area, the machine makes the drug powder into pills, which are then sent to the receiving end. Those pills that do not need a coating are sent directly from the AGV to the vertical elevator and then to the fourth floor. The tablets that need to be coated are sent to the adjacent coating room by AGV for coating

in the capsule filling room, the compound and compressed drug powder are loaded into the capsule and sent to the receiving end. The receiving disk here is the same as that in the tablet room. After thorough inspection, the AGV sends these capsules to the fourth layer

on the fourth floor, the products are sent to the storage warehouse by conveyor belt

rules and pollution

apotex is trying to enter the U.S. market and has applied for FDA certification for their factory. Of course, to pass this certification, Apotex must take several steps to convince FDA that there will be no cross contamination in the factory

apotex has isolated all production rooms, closed the raw material processing area of the processing layer, and installed automatic devices to thoroughly clean the containers after each use. In addition, the new automatic plant reduces human interaction and further reduces the risk of pollution

"we built this new factory to meet the needs of the market and the needs of pharmaceutical coordination.", Said Fred Grafe, Apotex's director of logistics

a healthy future

apotex officials to report that the new plant can produce 12billion doses of drugs per year

"our goal is to provide patients with high-quality drugs. Now we can manufacture drugs on a larger scale. After using automated processing, we not only improve productivity, but also improve the reliability and safety of drugs. Automated production makes us a world-class manufacturer and can compete in the world." McArthur said. (end)

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