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Automated Syringe-Filling Technology Developed by Pharmacy Students

University of South Carolina (USC) Pharmacy Students collaborated with researchers and engineers to create an advanced, automatic syringe-filling device. The commodity, according to USC, will complete this task with small-batch materials, which is considered to be difficult for staff to do by hand. The technology exemplifies the critical role that students can play in advancing the pharmaceutical industry.

The system was created by pharmacy and engineering students who collaborated with researchers and were led by Ramy Harik, PhD, a mechanical engineering professor. Prefilled syringes are traditionally filled by hand in clean-room settings. Since employees must stand for hours performing repetitive movements, strict federal laws have made this process more difficult. The new system has the potential to free up time for health practitioners while still ensuring protection and effectiveness.

Officials from Nephron Pharmaceuticals approached USC’s engineering and pharmacy colleges two years ago, and the collaboration began. They pursued the relationship as a result of problems that occurred when machinery operators at their facilities called in sick or were unable to operate, causing the manufacturing process to come to a halt. This problem will be solved by the collaboration’s new automated system. Students and researchers collaborated with industry partners to create the filling method.

The new device incorporates Yaskawa Motoman’s flexible, high-speed robots as well as Siemens’ automation technology. Several USC classes collaborated to improve the technology, which resulted in the development of Smithers, a robot named after a Simpsons character, according to a press release. Harik oversaw three teams of senior engineering students at USC who built the robot, while Pharmacy Students ensured that the medical and sterilisation aspects were safe for potential human injections.

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