Ackley Machine Corporation, a global leader in tablet, caplet, capsule (hard and soft), and candy printing technology based in Morristown, NJ, USA was confronted with a serious challenge to its tablet printing business. Ackley Machine needed to be able to inspect all printed products in order to identify and reject bad items to comply with the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) mandate that each printed tablet be identifiable. The company’s existing technology was not suitable for meeting this requirement. It was using cameras to acquire and a single personal computer (PC) to process images on its tablet printing machines, a process that too often bogged down. When their computer required an upgrade to its Microsoft® Windows® operating system, the validation process required for the new operating system would be too long and too costly. Ackley needed a better solution.
Ackley solved this problem by switching to Cognex In-Sight® vision systems, a solution that incorporates both camera and image processing in a single enclosure. “Switching to a new vision system now requires only a short and simple validation procedure that ensures the new vision system provides the same functionality as the old one,” said Mark Ford, Engineering Manager for Ackley Machine. “The In-Sight vision system also is much easier to program because its PatMax® pattern matching algorithm easily finds the printed image on the tablet with a single command.” Ackley deployed this solution in its latest system, which prints and inspects over 400,000 tablets per hour, much faster than other machines, while providing unique single tablet rejection capabilities.
“The machine also offers a higher level of quality because it is able to reject individual tablets while other machines on the market can only reject batches of tablets which is wasteful if there is only one bad tablet in a batch,” Ford concluded.