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home > pmps > summer 2008 > special dispensation
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Special Dispensation

Pressure is increasing on today’s pharmaceutical industry to implement more reliable and consistent safeguards against mistakes in dispensing medication, whether from contamination, mixing up drugs or inappropriate dosing. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are turning to non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques for product and packaging inspection.

A number of these techniques have already been adopted, including the use of optical, infra-red, ultrasound, vacuum decay and x-ray inspection methods. Traditionally, these have primarily been used for batch control through various batch sampling and inspection strategies. However, there is increasing demand for in-line inspection of all products, particularly where they have high commercial value or involve high dosage levels.

Applications for in-line NDT of products are as varied as the products themselves. Typical inspection scenarios may entail: checking fill levels in bottles and tubs of drugs, in liquid, powder, and even tablet forms; checking for missing tablets in blister packs; detecting contaminants (such as metal or glass) in dressings; and checking for correctly assembled devices.


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Martin Allen graduated from Nottingham University with an Honours Degree in Geology in 1989 and gained a Doctorate in Engineering in 1993, specialising in image processing and analysis. After two years of developing an advanced document imaging system, Martin joined the software department of OIS Engineering in 1996. Some 11 years later, OIS has become Shaw Inspection Systems, and Martin has become a leading expert in both digital radiography (DR), and computed tomography (CT). He now heads the software department and is responsible for current research and development into both DR and CT.
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