SMART PACKAGING

Efficient and accurate

A friendly robot and a folding box that communicates with doctors, patients, and packaging machines: That is how the companies Dividella and Rondo are shaping the pharmaceutical industry of the future.

YuMi’s next workplace may be the manual
insertion module of NeoTOP X

In many industrial sectors, collaboration between humans and robots is already an everyday phenomenon. For the packaging processes of pharmaceutical companies, however, no comparable solution has existed to date. Dividella has changed that now. With YuMi, a so-called cobot from the Swiss industry group ABB, the company has developed a solution that integrates the collaborative robot into the procedures of a flexible packaging system. This solution was developed in concert with a customer from the pharmaceutical industry. YuMi is an ideal addition for achieving the flexibility and efficiency demanded by the market, even for small numbers of items. After a qualification process, YuMi will receive a “full-time job” from Dividella’s customer. One of its tasks is to fill medication packages. Initially, YuMi’s new place of work will be the manual inlaying module NeoTOP x. NeoTOP x is a packaging system from Dividella that is tailored specifically to increasing product segmentation and decreasing numbers of items. YuMi works in the same area as its human colleagues – right beside them as well as with them. There is no need for a protective devices to separate them, as it is the case with welding robots in the automotive industry, for instance.

Communication takes center stage in the project “Smart Packaging” at the Swiss folding box manufacturer Rondo. In this project, the company is using the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things and a technology that has already been tried and tested with cashless payment and keyless door opening for cars: near-field communication (NFC). With its smart packaging solution, Rondo shows that near-field communication is also suitable for use in the pharmaceutical industry. The solution: Data is saved on an NFC chip, and the chip is then integrated into the folding box. Users only need to lay their smartphone or another end device with reading capability on the package to receive the data saved on the chip. There are many application opportunities for communication using the folding box. For instance, patients can have the package insert read to them or view additional information, such as how to properly take their medication. Automatic follow-up orders of medication or prescriptions can also be triggered.