Track and Trace (T&T) Systems

Keeping Turkish Pharma Operations on Track

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Planning Makes Short Deadlines Achievable

Beside the dimension and complexity of the projects, another critical point was the very tight deadline. “As the order for the new T&T systems was placed only seven months before the 1 January deadline, the Antares projects managers had to take a number of key decisions to guarantee deployment in time,” said Emidio Zorzella, CEO of Antares Vision.

The first decision was as far as possible to use modules that were “ready to plug” into the production and packaging lines. With four different serialization models, five different packing stations and several modular Print & Apply systems, the Antares offering is the widest on the market. In such diverse projects this flexibility is important. In the case of labeling, for example, the different line layouts require the codes to be read either on the side or on top, while the required output could be on the left, on the right or straight ahead.

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The use of modules — instead of integrating cameras, printers, labelers, and reject stations directly into the lines — also helped to minimize the impact on production. The modules can be fully tested after assembly, and then installed in a matter of hours, instead of the days required to install and test individual equipment items.

Also important was the way the Antares Vision engineers were able to build flexibility into their schedules, allowing them to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes in production.

Cooperation, Team Building and Training

As well as the technical and organizational aspects, cooperation among the working teams was also key to success.

The multidisciplinary working group included, on the customer’s side, representatives of all the process owners involved, including information systems, maintenance, production and engineering. The Antares Vision team included people from the company’s local partner, Kura. “Antares and Kura have been partners for many years and have deployed a huge number of systems together,” said Ozgur Tansoy, head of Kura’s service department.

“Kura technicians spend many days in Italy each year, managing customers’ factory acceptance tests (FATs) and receiving training. They have full information on product development and give us important feedback,” said Massimo Bonardi, Technical Director at Antares Vision. “With Turkish as their mother tongue, they were the ideal link between Antares and the customer’s technicians on this project, as well as in delivering operator training. Early communication between the various groups was crucial to anticipating problems and meeting the deadline,” Bonardi added.

As T&T involves new operating procedures and new equipment, operator training was a crucial aspect of the project. Maintenance engineers must get acquainted with programming of formats for cameras, printers, and labelers, while for the line operators learning to manage exceptions is the critical point. For instance, reconciling product after a line jam requires different procedures once products are serialized. Antares and Kura engineers carried out a large number of training sessions to familiarize customer staff with the new systems.

Once the new systems were running, Antares and Kura engineers tuned them to improve performance. Please continue reading …