Syntegon validates AI-equipped visual inspection system in production line

The company plans to implement AI in further inspection machines for different products and container types

Syntegon Technology has installed a validated visual inspection system with AI in an automated inspection machine.

“We are proud to announce this important move, which is the joint result of long-standing visual inspection expertise, solid software and pharmaceutical validation competence, courage to cross boundaries, and an excellent partnership with our customer,” said Dr José Zanardi, responsible for vision inspection development and applications at Syntegon.

Inspection requires ever more sophisticated visual systems to process increasingly complex products, Syntegon says, especially for high-cost pharmaceuticals, every single false reject is one too many. The company says AI applications have the potential of further increasing detection rates and decreasing the number of false rejects in difficult products like highly viscous parenteral solutions with air bubbles, which are sometimes hard to differentiate from harmful particles.

“A growing number of deep learning vision applications are already on the market. Our task was to adapt those applications for pharmaceutical purposes, which essentially also includes validation,” Zanardi said. Syntegon’s solution only required moderate modifications to the already existing vision system.

Syntegon customer Amgen uses the system to distinguish air bubbles at the syringe’s rubber stopper from foreign particles, where conventional vision technology reportedly often mistakenly identifies safe products containing bubbles as defective. “This challenging project required a lot of dedication and expertise. In cooperation with Syntegon, we have implemented the world-first syringe inspection machine with AI and underline our market position, both in biotechnology production and in technology,” said Manuel Soto, Principal Process Development Engineer at Amgen.

In this customer project, Syntegon’s AI-based vision system was able to increase the particle detection rate by 70%, while reducing the false detection rate by 60%, according to the average values in a particular inspection station. “We are very happy that our new technology is able to contribute to higher safety and production efficiency of injectable drugs,” Zanardi said.