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Remote FAT Keeps Capsule Filler on Schedule

German herbal medicine maker Dr. Gustav Klein was able to order and receive a new capsule filler from Italian equipment maker MG2 despite COVID-19 restrictions through three days of remote testing and validation.

Fat Online

Despite the restrictions put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic, MG2 has successfully completed a factory acceptance test (FAT) with customer Dr. Gustav Klein, which produces and distributes herbal medicinal and homeopathic products. MG2 successfully overcame the limited movement of both people and goods through remote testing.

With the Microsoft Teams videoconferencing and remote working tool, MG2 can offer technical assistance, commercial support, and advanced solutions through tools that are familiar to its customers. With this technology, MG2 successfully carried out its first remote testing. The remote FAT was performed on an MG Compact capsule filler, which Dr. Gustav Klein will use to fill capsules with phytopharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

FATs are usually carried out at the MG2 headquarters in the presence of the customer, who checks the accuracy of both capsule filler operation and size changeover, also touching the capsules and checking their integrity. The order is reviewed step by step, showing the customer the consistency between technical documentation and the supply. But since Dr. Gustav Klein purchased the capsule filler during the COVID-19 crisis, MG2 had to find new ways to integrate multimedia technologies with staff expertise to perform the test remotely.

“In this first remote FAT, we used two video cameras—one fixed and one on the operator,” says Fabrizio Buffoni, MG2 area manager. “Wearable technology allows MG2 to show all the components purchased by the customer. The live procedure totally corresponds to the factory acceptance protocol that we usually apply. It allows, in fact, to verify the compliance with the order and that the machine operates correctly.”

In this specific case, the customer asked to weigh some of its capsules after a production batch was finished. The capsules were collected in three stages—beginning, middle, and end of an hour of production—and weighed, subsequently emptied, and weighed again. “The goal was to give the customer evidence that the capsules had been filled as expected,” Buffoni explains.

The remote procedure, which covers all the steps necessary for the correct execution of a FAT, involves sharing all the documents of both validation and order confirmation, strictly following what is displayed by the two cameras. The batch reports processed by the machine were made available to the customer in real time, thus overcoming the objective limits related to the physical distance. The test recording—lasting three working days of eight hours each—is another tool that enabled the customer to objectively evaluate the test.

“A key element of the FAT is the objective evaluation of the correct capsule filling—an aspect which, in the case of the customer Dr. Gustav Klein, was highlighted by two specific tests: the SWC weight control system, which tests a capsule every 20 seconds and was part of the supply; and a further statistics check requested by the customer,” Buffoni says. “Specifically, we manually weighed the capsules on a scale in front of the camera, thus ensuring maximum reliability and objectivity of the filling process.”

With the same remote technology, it was possible to verify all the machine documentation (user manual) and validation documentation by connecting the customer with the MG2 specialist in charge.


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