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Unique AI-Based Counting System Advances Accuracy and Throughput for COVID-19 Vaccine

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Oct 2020
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Image: COUNTQ(TM) system (Photo courtesy of Verista)
Image: COUNTQ(TM) system (Photo courtesy of Verista)
A new inspection and reconciliation machine is helping pharmaceutical companies accelerate COVID-19 vaccines from development to manufacturing with accelerated technology transfer.

The COUNTQ system from Verista (Fishers, IN, USA) is an inspection and reconciliation machine used to accurately count tray-loaded parts, including vaccine vials. The machine significantly increases accuracy of count and throughput versus manual methods. Pharmaceutical companies must account for all vaccine vials on a production line, and the process includes inspection, labeling, re-inspection, boxing and shipping. With the COUNTQ system, a trained operator can accurately inspect a tray in 15 seconds. The machines eliminate count deviations that occur during the filling, inspection and packaging processes. The system's software provides 100% electronic verification of product counts and eliminates the reworking of vaccine lots due to reconciliation and count discrepancies.

A single COUNTQ machine handles vials, syringes, ampoules and other tray-loaded parts. The COUNTQ systems offer deep learning (form of AI) to enable the inspection of products that cannot be counted consistently with traditional machine vision technologies. COUNTQ machines offer deep learning for scenarios in which there is greater variation in products and presentation to the camera, such as the inspection of ampoules. The stainless-steel COUNTQ systems are available in multiple forms for different manufacturing environments, including full-sized units with conveyor transport and smaller manual feed and inline options. The machines are portable and can move along the manufacturing process.

"How quickly COVID-19 vaccine production ramps up will depend on technology like COUNTQ for vial count verification and reconciliation," said Jim Evans, Director, Vision, Connectivity & Automation Division, Verista. "Normally it takes years to adapt manufacturing processes for millions or billions of vaccine doses. The rapid scale-up of COVID-19 vaccine production involves a complex production process, strict quality standards and the right regulatory registrations. The COUNTQ system provides vaccine manufacturers increased efficiency and count accuracy, while reducing operational costs. Our unique AI-based counting system works with an operator to verify everything on a tray of vials is accounted for and correct."

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