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Press Release 2012

Home > Press Release > 2012 > September 24

Sumitomo Electric Has Jointly Developed Tablet Coating and Polymeric Organic Material Inspection Technologies with Kwansei Gakuin University

—The Company’s Compovision near-infrared camera will be showcased at P-mec Europe held on October 9 to 11, 2012—

September 24, 2012
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. and Kwansei Gakuin University have jointly developed a tablet coating inspection technology and a polymeric organic material inspection technology, using Sumitomo Electric’s Compovision imaging system. This system enables high-speed measurement in a wide range of wavelengths and zonal measurement.

The Compovision imaging system utilizes a near-infrared camera1 developed upon Sumitomo Electric's compound semiconductor and optical communications technologies. Since its launch in August 2010, the Company has been exploring its use in a wide range of applications including quality control of food products and inspections in the blister packing process2 for inclusion of incorrect tablets.

In April 2012, Sumitomo Electric and Professor Yukihiro Ozaki at Kwansei Gakuin University began a joint research program on a tablet coating inspection technology for use on production lines, on the crystallinity inspection of polylactic acid—a polymeric organic material3,and on polymer blending ratio inspection. These technologies combine the university's analysis technology and spectra4 acquired with the near-infrared camera used in Compovision.

Tablet coating inspection has been conventionally difficult in production processes. However, the newly developed inspection technology has enabled fast, on-the-spot inspection for tablets with coating failure and different tablets accidentally contained, thus eliminating the need to dispose of intended tablets packed with rejected tablets.

Consequently, this new technology is expected to improve production efficiency and reduce costs. With the capability of total inspection, it will also help improve product safety.

Left: Analysis image of normal coating / Right: Analysis image of defective coating on half the tablet

In polymeric material inspection, we have successfully measured an important property, the crystallinity, of polylactic acid5—a focus of attention as a bioplastic—and blending ratios of blended polymers.

Following the test measurement, Professor Yukihiro Ozaki said: “Compovision is an all-new imaging system incorporating a near-infrared camera that Sumitomo Electric has developed by drawing on its comprehensive expertise in various technical fields. No near-infrared cameras would compete with this camera in terms of the processing speed and the range of wavelengths. With great user friendliness, Compovision will find wide applications including the analysis of polymers and tablets as well as that of organic materials and food products.”

The research results will be presented by Dr. Daitaro Ishikawa of Kwansei Gakuin University at the international symposia FACSS-SCIX 2012 held from September 30 to October 5 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

Additionally, Sumitomo Electric will provide a dynamic exhibition of the Compovision near-infrared camera at P-MEC (, part of the global portfolio of pharmaceutical events, CPhI, ICSE, P-MEC and InnoPack, held from October 9 to 11, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. The Company will demonstrate the inspection of tablets contained in blister packs, determination of capsule contents, and distinction of mixed powders. The research results described above will also be on display. Please drop by our booth.

- Compovision is a trademark or registered trademark of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.


[Supplemental Information]

Features of Compovision Near-Infrared Camera

1. Measurements in a Wide Range of Wavelengths
Measures in a wide range of wavelengths from 1000 to 2350 nm, detecting conventionally unidentifiable small differences in ingredients with high sensitivity.
2. Short Analysis Time
Acquires and analyzes pixel data of 30 cm square samples within several seconds.
3. Simultaneous Measurement of Multiple Samples
Performs zonal measurement of samples, simultaneously determining multiple samples on conveyor.
4. Stable Operation under Fluctuating Temperatures
The imaging device developed using Sumitomo Electric's proprietary technology ensures stable operation under factory environments subject to temperature fluctuation.


1 Near-infrared camera
A camera with sensitivity extending from 720 to 2500 nm wavelengths. In this wavelength range, organic matter composition and quality deterioration as well as the optical absorption of water are clearly revealed. Consequently, near-infrared cameras are expected to be used in the pharmaceutical industry for inspections in the course of receiving raw materials, controlling production and shipping products, as well as in the food industry for raw material, decomposition and foreign matter inspections.
While near-infrared cameras with sensitivity in the range of 720 to 1700 nm wavelengths have been commonly used for point measurement, wavelengths around 2000 nm are considered important for examining novel pharmaceutical materials and interactions between such materials and water.
2 Blister packing process
A packaging process in which a plastic shell is vacuum-formed to contain an item and be affixed to a card. This packaging process is used to manufacture tablet sheets and pack products to enable the consumer to examine the contents.
3 Polymeric organic material
A material made of a high molecular weight organic compound, such as polyethylene, polyvinylchloride and synthetic rubber. Polymeric organic materials are widely used as in concrete additives, paints and fiber-reinforced concrete.
4 Spectrum
In this article, the term "spectrum" refers to correlative luminous energy data of light source wavelengths and wavelengths absorbed by measurement samples.
5 Polylactic acid
A polymer in the polyester category. Polylactic acid decomposes ultimately into carbon dioxide and water by moisture and microorganisms present in the environment. This polymer is drawing attention as a sustainable material derived from agricultural products.
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