Automation system builder Andrew Donald Design Engineering have shipped the second of three specialist inspection machines (pictured) to a US manufacturer building systems to accelerate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
Part of the US Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, the systems are designed to overcome significant constraints in the supply and filling of vials and syringes of vaccines.
Melbourne-based ADDE has over 20 years’ experience building custom manufacturing and packing equipment for Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) technology, which prefilled injector manufacturer ApiJect Systems Corp in the US choose to use for its new production lines.
ADDE is a major supplier to AstraZeneca in Sydney who operate the largest BFS facility in Australia.
ApiJect have assembled three high speed lines to enable the complete fill and finish of up to 1.5 million injectors per day.
The ApiJect injector system required a system to perform 100 per cent inspection of each injector (pictured below), with ADDE contracted to build the highly specialised machinery.
ADDE Managing Director Barry Hendy said: “Our first proposal was for a 6-month program to completely design, build and commission three machines, and we thought that was pretty aggressive.
“But ApiJect then asked us if we could do it in three months.”
The first machine is now installed and has completed testing in the client’s site in the US.
The second machine has been shipped while the third machine is in Melbourne to allow parallel product testing if needed.
The ApiJect prefilled injectors are produced in a card of five doses with each card needing to be inspected for general profile, liquid fill, particles, and geometry.
ADDE had built similar systems for another BFS operator in Australia so was able to leverage key elements of that design to achieve the fast timeline required.
The ApiJect product, however, also required significant innovation in the handling, lighting, and inspection processes to perform the unique inspections required.
ApiJect’s Acting Head of Manufacturing Philip Leslie said: “The ADDE team have done an amazing job to deliver this equipment in record time.
“We have worked closely with them to produce a great system with the mechanical design and detailed inspection processes to enable us to achieve our unique inspection requirements.”
Pictures: Andrew Donald Design Engineering
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