Pharmaceutical case study

Orthomol in Langenfeld, Germany, is an expert in orthomolecular nutritional medicine. The company produces an extensive range of food supplements such as balanced dosage and diagnosis-based micronutrient compositions that are available from dispensing chemists. Product development and production are governed by the comprehensive, international food safety and quality standard ISO 22000, which ensures the highest quality and safety – from development and raw material selection, right up to the finished product.

Over 400 employees work for Orthomol at its three sites in Langenfeld and in field services. Annually over 50 million pouches and 12 million drink bottles leave the premises. For more than 18 years, the company has been using advanced dynamic weighing technology: checkweighing solutions from Mettler-Toledo. Now a new two-lane C35 AdvancedLine checkweigher has commenced operation in the final packaging area. Sitting on a single frame, the dual lane superstructure of the checkweigher takes up minimal space and was easily integrated into the existing line.

Orthomol's sites in Langenfeld are home not just to the company's R&D, medicine and marketing departments, but also to quality assurance, which is a key focus within the company. From the moment of commissioning, the new two-lane checkweigher has provided stable, reliable weighing results, checking the filling process of "Orthomol Immun" – a dietary food product with immune-relevant micronutrients in portion sachets. Any sachet not correctly filled is reliably excluded from the packaging process by the checkweigher using fast-action lift gate conveyors.

Strict quality standards met

The company's balanced dosage products include vitamins, minerals, trace elements and secondary plant compounds that are produced in seven formats, including granules for making drinks, tablets, capsules and as ready-made drinks. It goes without saying that tight tolerances have to be applied to the production of such high-value products, which makes highly accurate dynamic weighing technology mandatory.

"A trusting relationship with our suppliers is important to us," explains Alen Blatancic, head of technical teams. "We've found a partner in Mettler-Toledo that meets our strict quality standards and has successfully accompanied us for many years." The new C35 AdvancedLine excels in high weighing accuracy and throughput, and its versatile product handling features can be flexibly adapted to changing requirements in Orthomol's production lines. Capable of achieving an accuracy of up to 0.1g, the checkweigher's weighing range covers products from 3g to 10kg, making it suitable for use in many different production lines or line sections of the factory.

single-lane or cumulated values at the touch of a key

The dual-lane checkweighing system in the Orthomol Immun line checks up to 120 sachets per minute for correct weight. A clear weighing terminal provides insight into production, giving a quick overview of the results from both lanes. Information from one of the two lanes can be selected at the touch of a key, and the lane concerned can be identified at a glance. Data can also be displayed separately for each lane or as a total.

Changeover to another product in no time at all

Furthermore, the large memory of product setups facilitates easy changeovers as Blatancic testifies, "Every two days there's a product changeover in this production line and the C35 AdvancedLine can be changed to another product in no time at all."

To allow for asynchronous and independent operation of the two lanes, each lane can be individually controlled if need be. Moreover, if one lane breaks down, the second weighing lane will continue to work undisturbed.

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