Mekapharm Alpha Sorter using Viziotix fast barcode scanner SDK to sort pharma packs

Fast Barcode Scanner for Storage Automation

How Viziotix's barcode scanner SDK helped Mekapharm achieve 10x higher throughput speeds.

Mekapharm SAS provides automation solutions for the storage and preparation of orders – including pharmacy automation. The company selected the fast barcode scanner SDK from Viziotix for their Alpha Sorter system to identify pharmaceutical items. The Alpha Sorter uses cameras to identify and sort items for automated storage and delivery in Pharmacies.
Using the Viziotix barcode scanning  software allowed a significant increase in the processing speed of the Alpha Sorter and pack throughput rates increased from 170 to 250 items per hour. This delivers exceptional added value and improved efficiency in the pharmacy.

“Viziotix faster scanning speed allowed us to increase our system thruput by 10X leading to lower costs and better customer service from our Alpha Sorter pharmacy automation system”

 Emmanuel Poux, CEO, Mekapharm

The key results of this integration are:

Symbols that show the performance improvements gained by Mekapharm by using the Viziotix fast barcode scanner SDK

The Problem

The Alpha Sorter pharmacy system incorporates barcode scanning to identify packaged pharmaceutical items fed into the input hopper. These are then sorted for automated storage and delivery. Each pack is marked with a GS1 Data Matrix code to ensure the correct item identification. These codes can be printed on any face of the items and therefore each face must be scanned.

The first generation of the Alpha Sorter used dedicated, autofocus barcode scanners to scan the packs at various points. These scanners captured the Data Matrix codes to ensure that the items were correctly sorted. The scanning speed limited the system performance to 170 packs per hour. Further, the scanner success rate was low and some packs could not be scanned due to low contrast, blur or other image issues. In some cases, the scanners simply failed to find the barcode in the images. Barcodes at the edge of the images were often not found. Barcode Scanning was the bottleneck to the optimum system throughput.

Interior image of Mekapharm Alpha Sorter moving pharma packs using the Viziotix fast barcode scanner SDK
Pharma pack processing in the Alpha Sorter

The Solution

Mekapharm changed out the autofocus barcode scanners and replaced them with fast barcode scanner software from Viziotix and standard fixed-focus cameras. The cameras are now connected to single board, Linux computers (SBC) to run the Viziotix barcode scanning software library.

The Viziotix fast barcode scannng SDK uses advanced, high-speed algorithms to locate and decode barcodes.

The Smart-Findr algorithm finds all the barcodes in images even with movement blur, low contrast and all the standard barcode scanning image issues. Smart-Findr is particularly efficient at finding codes at the extreme edges of images.

The Viziotix barcode scanner SDK decodes the very high-resolution images in a few milliseconds. The total time to scan and decode is therefore very short compared to other solutions.

Interior image of Mekapharm Alpha Sorter using Viziotix's fast barcode scanner SDK to read barcode on pharma packs
Scanning a Data Matrix code with Viziotix

The Results

With the new cameras, SBUs and Viziotix barcode scanner SDK fully integrated into the Alpha Sorter, Mekapharm increased the speed at which the sorter scans codes by 10 times and run at a system speed of 250 packs per hour. This maximizes the productivity per meter squared of pharmacy space and provides the required medicines at a higher rate to pharmacy associates. The key results are:

  • 10X Faster barcode Scanning;
  • Pack thruput rate increased from 170 to 250 per hour;
  • 50% improvement in pharmacy productivity.

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