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Biocraft transcends random checkweighing

Packaging lines have incorporated automatic checkweighers for so long the devices are easy to take for granted. But at Biocraft Corp. of Fairlawn, NJ, where powdered drugs are made and packaged for a variety of drug marketers, 100% checkweighing of all bottles is only a little more than a year old, having replaced a reli- able but more labor-intensive system of random checks.

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Only recently did the company find a ma-chine capable of withstanding the rigors of the powdery plant environment. "These powders can clog a machine fast," says production manager Louis Mattera. "But this equipment is designed with that in mind. It's been tested in cement and sugar factories, so we felt confident about its performance." The machine Mattera describes is made by International-Boekels (Franklin Lakes, NJ). On Biocraft's line, it weighs both 100- and 200-cc high-density polyethylene containers of powdered antibiotics like cephalosporin. In addition to withstanding the powdery environment at Biocraft, the scale is highly accurate, says Mattera. That's partly because it's made of entirely machined metals, both aluminum and stainless steel; sheet metal is not used. This minimizes vibration considerably, and reduced vibration always makes for more accurate weighments. The scale also has an all but instantaneous recovery time, 20 milliseconds, because unlike most spring-loaded scales, it operates electronically.

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