Fully automated dispense and labeling system for pharmaceutical products runs with MVTec HALCON

Machinery | Medical Supplies & Pharmaceutical | Robotics | HALCON | 3D Calibration | 3D Vision | Bar Code & Data Code Reading | Object Detection

MVTec’s Certified Integration PartnerCrave Technical developed a vision system for an automatic unit-of-use dispense and labeling system for pharmaceutical products. MVTec HALCON is used in this system for object detection, bar & data code reading as well as hand-eye-calibration for robots that pick the boxes from a conveyor and then position them for the scanning of the code.

The starting point

Crave Technical, a vision, robotic and automation system integrator, was commissioned to design a vision and robotic automation system to identify, pick, label and verify pharmaceutical bottles and box containers of random shapes and sizes. This system should be integrated into a large automated pharmacy system developed for a partner in the US.

Why Crave Technical chose MVTec HALCON:

  • High machine vision speed for bar code
  • Hand-eye calibration robotic picking capability
  • Easy integration through HDevEngine into existing C# code base
  • Extensive machine vision library to identify random objects on the belt

How it works

The system incorporates Yamaha’s SCARA robots to pick a pharmaceutical product from a conveyor using HALCON’s hand-eye calibration feature. Crave Technical used this powerful vision tool to develop a series of functions to identify a randomly shaped pharmaceutical container, to pick this from the infeed conveyor with a custom designed gripper and then to position the container in order to optimize the scanning of the products UPC code. The SCARA robot and custom gripper positions the product using six cameras so the vision system can read the UPC code of various sizes and quality. Once the product has been identified by its UPC code, it will be placed on the labeling conveyor. There, the product information is fed into the print and apply applicator. The vision system is able to locate the product on the labeling conveyor including its UPC code and cap, again using HALCON’s hand-eye calibration. The Zebra printer then produces a label with the correct 2D data code and customers’ prescription information on a label. The second SCARA robot is fitted with a custom label applicator arm and places this label on the product. The product will be transferred to the end of the conveyor where the 2D data code is read and the product is then dropped into a process container, which will be picked up and delivered to a pharmacy ultimately. The pharmacist at the local pharmacy verifies that all the products in a customer’s order are correct.

You can download the full success story here.

Crave Technical System automated labeling system

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