TorqSense transducers from Axis-Shield play a vital role in packing leading edge medical test kits. Axis-Shield, leader in inventing new markers for identifying cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis, vitamin deficiencies and diabetes, now develops new diagnostic compounds to help with the early identification and management of critical illnesses. They have now a need for highly efficient medium volume packaging solutions that guarantee accurate and consistent adherence to performance parameters. To answer this issue, the company commissioned a bespoke packaging line that could handle multiple products in a variety of different packaging formats at a rate of around 500-2500 units per hour. Dean Harper from Axis-Shield explains: “Capping the bottles is a critical part of the process. Our line can work with two sizes of cap and each one must be tightened to just the right level of torque to within pretty tight tolerances.”
A cap that is too loose may lead to spillage of the marker, which is usually very expensive, during transit or handling. A cap that is fitted too tightly may cause upset to the patient or medical staff. Equally, forcing open an overly tight cap could result in spillage. “Our packaging line has four capping stations and each one is fitted with a TorqSense transducer,” continues Dean Harper. “These work in conjunction with a computer to ensure the correct level of tightness and record the data for traceability records.”
Being wireless, TorqSense does not need to physically contact the bottle caps or shaft of the torque head it is monitoring. Instead, sensing is achieved through a radio frequency link using Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) sensors.
Dean Harper explains: “Diagnostic fluids are distributed widely, often globally, so they may be stored for months before use. Tracing each bottle’s origin would be practically impossible without full records being automatically produced and saved to a central location. TorqSense provided a solution to this complex but critical problem using an out of the box technology.”