Epson Robots, the #1 SCARA robot manufacturer in the world, today announced that NuTec Tooling Systems, an architect of custom automation solutions, has built a syringe coating machine, including four Epson Cleanroom SCARA robots for a pharmaceutical OEM. The robots are employed at various stations within the machine to provide precise, efficient, and cost-effective automation to the customer’s syringe manufacturing process. The concept phase of the project started in 2018, and the machine was ready for operation in November 2020, enabling the OEM to work with government agencies at a critical time to develop a cost-effective process for manufacturing mass quantities of syringes to use in the fight against COVID-19.
The OEM customer asked NuTec to develop a new machine to automate syringe manufacturing using a proprietary coating process, which gives plastic syringes properties similar to glass. Historically, the OEM's competitors produced syringes from glass, which is more costly than plastic. The process, especially when automated, helps reduce costs and makes mass production feasible.
"Epson’s high-speed G6-Series SCARA robots with Epson RC+® software enable precision processes with exceptional repeatability assembly pick and place capabilities,” said Brent Martz, director of Sales and Marketing, NuTec Tooling Systems. “The ease of use and application versatility within the Epson RC+ development environment plus an ISO-3 rating and compliance with cleanroom standards makes them ideal for this project and the medical sector in general where speed and precision are vital to the manufacturing process.”
Within the machine, the first Epson G6 Cleanroom SCARA robot removes syringes from a tub in preparation for the coating process. After the syringes are coated at a rate of 38 parts per minute, they pass through various inspection stations. Next, the syringes are siliconized, temporary caps are changed to final caps, and then x-ray inspected before being added back into a container by a second SCARA robot. A third SCARA robot picks up a full container of syringes, applies an inner and outer cover, and seals it before releasing it to the fourth and final Epson SCARA robot that applies a label with a laser marker. NuTec chose to synchronize the third and fourth Epson SCARA robots within the same envelope, reducing a production step and creating greater production efficiency.
"At Epson, we innovate to solve today’s challenging automation needs, and our partners play an instrumental role,” said Scott Marsic, group product manager, Epson Robots. “NuTec’s breadth of experience and talented staff help provide customers with a clear vision of custom automation projects. Together, we deliver the perfect blend of innovative, high-performance solutions and design expertise for complex assembly applications in the medical sector, including COVID-19.”