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Basic of Material Handling Systems

Manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical products are constantly being pressured to streamline their operations and produce more.
Manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical products are constantly being pressured to streamline their operations and produce more products. They are under constant pressure to meet quality and safety standards. To prevent recalls, fines, and licensing revocations, drug manufacturers and wholesale distributors need to monitor every detail of their operations. As industries become more stringent when it comes to operational details, warehouse systems are being implemented that provide real-time quality, inventory management, and other key data to boost operational efficiency, increase safety, and reduce costs.

Precision and control are essential for pharmaceutical conveyors. From syringes to surgical scrubs to pill bottles, they must be durable and reliable.

Clean in Place Conveyors Systems

Pharmaceutical and medical warehouses require conveyors that can be easily cleaned, disassembled, and maintained. Conveyors for pharmaceutical warehouses also need to meet regulations regarding containment levels. A variety of conveyors are available, including those optimized for containment, those integrated with batch and continuous processing, and those designed to remain clean in place. There is a growing interest in the clean in place option since it allows easy cleaning of virtually all components without having to disassemble the conveyor.

CIP systems allow cleaners to clean faster, require less labor, are repeatable, and reduce the risk of worker exposure to chemical chemicals. A CIP system includes complete automation, including programmable logic, multiple balance tanks, valves, data acquisition, and custom spray nozzles. Conveyors made of stainless steel are an option when sanitary requirements are an issue. Also, the designs prevent cross-contamination and are easy to clean.


Material Handling Systems Integration

Creating a fully functional warehouse system requires the fusion of several material handling technologies. Solutions can be as complex or as simple as necessary to achieve your objectives, and the right combination can yield multiple benefits:

The rate of cartons per ton increases. Warehouse management systems calculate carton contents, how many cartons are needed, and their sizes in advance, improving the efficiency of picking and packing.

Lower operating costs. Increased picking and packing efficiency lead to more products getting out the door during the week, reducing expensive overtime and weekend labor.

Information accessibility. The visibility of key statistics provided by a good warehouse system makes it easier and more accurate to manage the operation.

Types of Conveyors

There is a conveyor that can meet just about any warehouse need, regardless of the size or shape. Here are a few common conveyor types:

Pharmaceutical belt conveyors - Using pulleys, the belt conveyor transports pharmaceutical products quickly and easily. It's easy to use and flexible, which makes it a popular choice. A belt conveyor is very economical if configured accordingly to your warehouse because it reduces labor costs without compromising accuracy because it is fast and efficient.

Flexible/extendable conveyors - Conveyors with adjustable speeds are popular when versatility is needed. It is easy to install, fast to load and unload trucks, and cost-effective.

Line shaft conveyors - Line-shaft conveyors are an efficient method for transporting and accumulating orders. The conveyor uses a line shaft connected to drive spools that run along the conveyor's length. A tensioned urethane band on each of the spools is attached to gravity rollers. Whenever the line shaft is rotated, the spools turn, which turns the urethane bands on the rollers, making them spin. It is designed so that the spools will slip, so maximum accumulation can occur without causing damage to the product.

Heavy-duty roller conveyors - This system automates order fulfillment operations by using heavy-duty roller conveyors. Systems-driven decision-making has the advantages of improving pick efficiency and quality control, as well as lowering process times, in comparison to human-driven decision-making.

Vertical conveyors - If you want to elevate your products in a small footprint, consider a vertical conveyor. Conveyors of this type are capable of transporting products between multiple levels safely and quickly. By utilizing C- and S-shaped configurations, the conveyor system can be tailored to fit specific space constraints. The vertical conveyor can transport totes, cartons, trays and pallets at a rate of up to 50 units per minute. A vertical conveyor is low maintenance, ultra-quiet and vibration-free. Spiral conveyors - Using spiral conveyors to transport goods between multi-level elevations is a great idea. Single infeed and single discharges as well as two or more discharges are supported. It can be used to lift and lower goods. With a continuous running belt, a high throughput speed of 200 FPM is possible.

Sortation conveyors - An automated system would not be complete without a sortation conveyor. Conveyor systems that sort products facilitate a high throughput of products. The logic for sorting is built on specific business rules, and lanes can be added or removed as needed.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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