We are one of the last steps before our products are delivered to our customers. Therefore, it is of great importance that the bottles are carefully inspected and that the labelling and packaging is done accurately.
We should always keep in mind that the products that we inspect and pack will reach our patients. Our products are injected intravenously, which means that foreign substances in the product could be harmful. During visual inspection (VI), we scrutinise our products. We check the vials to determine if there are any deviations. The responsibility for our patients’ health is in our hands.
Technician, operator and shift leader discussing the next packaging steps.
Visual inspection requires a lot of concentration, which I define as the conscious increase of attention on to a certain thing. I focus my concentration specifically on my task. What is important to me is that the concentration is connected with a certain motivation and interest in the product. This is a vital product, and of course, I always keep in mind our patients.
In the first VI cabin you look for defects, in the second cabin you look for turbidity or opaqueness. The sequence is always 1) defects and 2) turbidity, it is never in the reverse order because if you look at the turbidity first, the magnifying glass makes your eyes tired. The inspectors change after 15 minutes so that their eyes can recover. We have at least a 15 minute period to rest our eyes, during which we do other activities that are not that strenuous for the eyes.
When I check each bottle, I look at the individual points that I have to check in a particular sequence. You can briefly stop the line if you think you see something, which makes the bottle turn and the product swirl within it. Liquid products are checked for turbidity and foreign particles, as well as a missing inkjet number, while freeze-dried products are examined for colour differences, as well as missing vacuum, faulty stoppers, defects in the glass, etc. If we find an error, the quality in operations department is informed.
We scrutinise each bottle looking for deviations. The responsibility for our patients’ health is in our hands.
48bottles inspected in 60 seconds
15–16,000bottles inspected in one shift
Semi-automatic visual inspection using a magnifying glass.
It takes almost a whole shift to visually inspect a big batch of 15–16,000 bottles. In one minute, we can inspect 48 50ml bottles. If the batches are smaller, we can complete two or even three batches a day. Our biggest challenge is not to complete as many orders as possible in one day, but to be completely accurate and thorough in the execution of our orders. It doesn’t matter how great the stress is, we must never lose concentration and accuracy. The most important thing we always have to keep in mind is the fact that we are solely responsible for our actions and our way of working.
When I hear some of our patient stories, on the one hand I am very sad and sympathetic to the patients. On the other hand, I am happy that we make products that help patients by giving them the opportunity to lead a better life. Our products save the lives of many people.
Teamwork plays a major role in packaging, and that togetherness makes our work easier and has a positive effect on our success. What I like about my work is that we are always confronted with challenges. I am curious, and although I have been working in this company since 2002, I am still learning every day. That is the most beautiful thing, to always be curious. I am proud that I can be part of Octapharma. It is a wonderful feeling to come to work every day knowing that I’m doing something good again. I feel the greatest joy. I love my work.
The finished product is inspected and
approved based on authority requirements
Inspection of product for defects and turbidity.
Product packed into boxes and stored in cold rooms or freezers at required temperatures.