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home > pmps > summer 2003 > date and lot code inspection - evaluating optical character verification (ocv) technology
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Date and Lot Code Inspection - Evaluating Optical Character Verification (OCV) Technology

As the demands for greater security and traceabilty in pharmaceutical manufacturing have increased, the need for automatic verification of date and lot information has become more important than ever. The correctness of human-readable character strings, whether they appear on cartons, bottles or blister packs, need to be verified with the highest degree of accuracy and reliability, and often at exceptionally high line speeds.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers generally rely on machine vision technology for automatic date and lot code verification. In a typical application, a video camera mounted to a labeller or other piece of packaging equipment captures an image of the character string to be verified, which may or may not be printed on a label. The image is then processed using specialised OCV algorithms, which compare the read characters to a set of characters which the user previously taught the system. If an incorrect character is found, the vision system may send a fail signal to a PLC, which in turn may trigger some type of reject mechanism to eject the package from the line.


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By Leigh Simpson, Marketing Specialist for North Europe Region at the Cognex Corporation

Leigh Simpson is the Marketing Specialist for North Europe Region at the Cognex Corporation. Having received a BEng Hons Degree in Integrated Engineering from the University of Wales, Leigh joined Acuity Imaging Ltd as a Machine Vision Applications Engineer before becoming a European Support and 2D Data Matrix Engineer. Leigh first joined Cognex in 1999 as an Applications/2D Engineer.

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Leigh Simpson
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