Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is one of the largest biopharmaceutical producers in the world. At its production sites in France, 400 million boxes of medicines come off the conveyor belt every year. In order to comply with French legislation, which requires every pharmaceutical product distributed on the French market to be marked with a Datamatrix code, BMS has equipped its packaging lines with new machines. Zetes was the partner who designed, produced and installed 25 machines. The machines were constructed in line with BMS’ strict requirements concerning marking, labelling, sealing, quality control and performance. They are able to handle extreme volumes, up to 400 containers per minute per packaging line, and enable BMS to control the quality of the identified products 100%.

Designed to cope with extremely high volumes and high quality standards

In order to meet all the requirements of BMS, Zetes tailor-made all 25 machines. The majority of them consist of four different types of machines in balcony-style, combining varying degrees of functionality in a modular way. The Datamatrix marking can also be combined with labelling and sealing, depending on the packaging line. On some production lines, a special conveyor-belt system ensures that the products are rolled to optimise packaging in boxes.

Quality assurance through 100% control and automated data-input

Whereas only statistical checks were done before, now every box can be checked individually on the production line with a camera. Datamatrix barcodes that do not meet the strict quality standards are evacuated by the automatic ejection module. Since the installation of the new machines, products destined for export are also marked by the inkjet modules (with batch number, product number, expiry date). This ensures better legibility and less room for error.

A one-stop-shop partner

Thanks to Zetes’ solution, the data capture is reliable and the configuration of all the components (marking, labelling, control, robot) is automated. The client/server architecture centralises all the important data securely. The application responds to all the quality requirements from the pharmaceutical industry. Zetes has provided BMS with a total project, from the design of the machines, through development, up to implementation, service and training.

Zetes' solution integrates several software components from the companies Cognex, Wolke and Siemens.