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Syringe Lubricant Sprayer and Inspection with Single-Board RIO, Circaflex, and LabVIEW Real-Time

Syringe Lubrication Inspection Powered by Cyth Circaflex
Syringe Lubrication Inspection Powered by Cyth Circaflex

The Challenge

A medical validation company approached us requiring an upgrade to a system that inspects the silicon lubricant utilized in self-administering syringes.

The Solution

Using our Circaflex embedded controls system and a machine vision solution housed in a compact design we were able to capture images of the customer’s syringes for inspection and analysis.

The Story

EpiPens are devices used to administer medication to an individual experiencing an allergic reaction. Blocking the body’s response to an allergen, the importance of the EpiPen administering itself correctly in critical situations could not be higher. The product’s success depends on its ability to administer a predetermined drug dosage every time. How can one accurately test a product’s performance and ensure that this occurs?

A client approached us with this exact question in mind. They needed an upgrade to a system that inspects the silicon lubrication used in self-administering syringes. The system needed to be able to capture images of syringes individually to be used for inspection and analysis to meet strict medical standards and detect defective syringes along their line.

The Cyth Process

To begin the upgrade of the client’s system our engineering team built an enclosure that housed all hardware the system required. In this enclosed housing we began by mounting two Applied Motion stepper motors with built-in drives. The Circaflex platform provided all the control signals to direct the motor’s drive. The motor was programmed to make predefined movements with an accuracy on the micrometer scale.

The system worked by holding a syringe in a vertical position while one of the stepper motors rotated the syringe at a predefined rate. We created a custom LED array to reflect light from the syringe toward our camera. The light reflected off the syringe is then gathered by our camera to recreate a two-dimensional image of the lubrication located in the syringe’s interior. Using software to stitch together a high-definition image, we were able to accurately quantify the coating of the syringe’s interior lubricant. All of this was controlled and synchronized by the Cyth Circaflex platform.

Hardware, camera, stepper motor, and programmable controls
Hardware, camera, stepper motor, and programmable controls

Overcoming the Obstacles

Upon the completion of the fixture that housed the motors, camera, and hardware required to image the syringes, our engineers’ next step was to implement an appropriate lighting system. Our customer’s previous lighting solution would decrease in intensity over time resulting in inconsistencies across production runs. To resolve this issue our engineers configured a programmable logic controller (PLC) to strobe the lighting in tandem with the camera’s capture sequence. By overdriving the LEDs in the previous system, they provided inconsistent lighting. As a solution, we created a custom algorithm to drive the LEDs which more consistently illuminated the syringes and extended the LED’s lifespan. The use of Circaflex to synchronize the camera and lighting together greatly benefited the system since a predefined exposure time ensured sufficient lighting and improved the camera’s imaging consistency.

Delivering the Outcome

Throughout the project, our sales and engineering teams collaborated closely with the client to ensure their timeline and project requirements. We were able to provide the client with a high-quality inspection system that fulfilled their needs and met their budgetary requirements. This included the system’s ability to scan and render a 2D image of the syringe’s interior lubricant for comparison and analysis. Our improved system and high-quality inspection processes now ensure only the best quality products make it into the hands of the customer.

Technical Specifications

· 2 x Applied Motion NEMA 17 Integrated Drive + Motor with Encoder

· 1 x Applied Motion NEMA 23 Integrated Drive + Motor with Encoder

· 1 x 20 - Megapixel CMOS Global Shutter Camera

· 1 x Telecentric, HP Illuminator (beam diameter 60 mm), White

· 1 x RC Series LED Strobe Controller

· 1 x NI RIO System on Module (sbRIO 9651)

· 1 x Circaflex 315 (910-00315-03)


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