KUKA robot checks insulin pen quality

On Zwick automated materials testing system

Zwick chose a Kuka KR 5 sixx robot to carry out quality control checks on insulin pens

Zwick, a German manufacturer of instruments and equipment for materials testing, is using a six-axis KUKA robot to perform quality control checks on insulin pens as part of a new automated materials testing system that it has developed.

The Ulm-Einsingen-based firm has chosen a KUKA KR 5 sixx model for its roboTest R cell, which measures functions such as dose setting and actuation force in a continuous process.

Zwick says using the KUKA robot, supplied by KUKA Robotics UK of Wednesbury, West Midlands, to load the pens from a magazine and accurately position them in the system avoids some of the problems associated with manual test methods. For instance, results may be distorted if the plastic specimen is touched by hand as body heat can affect the material’s characteristics.

Product quality is also improved, as the robot is able to achieve repeatable results of +/-0.02mm. In addition, short cycle times mean a more efficient testing procedure as a higher number of specimens can be processed.

The test methods for the two axes can be modified and combined as required. In addition, the robot arm can be moved to a ‘park’ position so that the system operator can perform manual tests whenever required.

‘A production process for medical products must be seamlessly documented in accordance with the necessary regulations and using automation with KUKA robots ensures precisely planned and traceable sequences,’ said Robert Kaifler, Zwick’s automation product manager.

The new robotic testing system is not only suitable for checking other medical products such as dental syringes and childproof medicine caps, but can also be integrated with other materials testing equipment.

KUKA says Zwick has been using its for automating its machines for more than 10 years, with 80% of these systems employed in destructive materials testing applications.