Case Studies

Bulk Powder Pack-off

Automation of liner un-cuffing, tying, and stowage. Bulk pharmaceutical is packed in a fibreboard drum which has a plastic liner pre-inserted.


Prior to automation:
The Drum conveying, liner insertion, and drum filling were automated. The full drum was then conveyed to an operator station. The operator uncuffed the liner from about the drum, the liner was then gathered and a neck was created, and a plastic tying strap was then applied. Problem- the pharmaceutical product was exposed to potential contamination by the operator e.g. from items that may fall from the operator’s pockets. Also, the operator was exposed to repetitive strain injury.


Cycle time 35 seconds, operating environment explosive. Many solutions proposed twisting the drum or the liner to create a neck; however this trapped air in the top of the liner.


Somex Automation’s unique solution can be broken down into 3 operations:-

  1. Uncuffing and holding the liner:
    The drum was conveyed to a stopping position within the machine. The un-cuffing mechanism which incorporates extraction moves from overhead down over the filled drum. The leading edge of the un cuffer is a flexible shroud which on the downward movement straightens the liner about the outside of the drum. The un cuffer then retracts Taking the liner with it and stretching it above the drum. Extraction assists with the presentation of the liner.
  2. Necking:
    An upper and lower set of V slides advance from left and right. The Vs intersect to gather and restrict the liner into 50mm diameter. Sequencing of the slides excludes air buildup within the liner. The upper and lower V slides currently in close proximity separate, the upper set moving up and the lower set moving down to present an elongated neck for the tying mechanism.
  3. Tying:
    Tying is by means of a conventional strap and closure tying system from Hellermann Tyton. The tying gun is fitted to a linear slide which advances and securely ties the elongated neck. A linear actuator then stows the tied neck beneath the drum rim.


Somex Automation have developed The “VisionPick” standard platform for providing Machine Vision Guiding of Pick & Place equipment. The technique can be used for picking components from loose, bulk condition so that the component is individually precisely located for the subsequent placement into a process or location. The application can be used for assembly processes, packaging processes and automated inspection.


This technique is far superior to conventional techniques such as vibratory bowl feeding as it more gentle on the component, less noisy, less particulate generation & more flexible.

Double Deck Combi Laminator

Laminate multiple catheter shafts simultaneously.

  • Automated Core Wire Stretching post-lamination to facilitate easy removal of Core Wire
  • Catheter Shaft tooling automatically moves towards the operator to provide for easy and ergonomic product loading and unloading
  • Double deck format of upper and lower stations which alternate to allow the operator to load & unload one set of product while the other set is being processed.
  • CE-compliant safety with automated safety doors.
  • Processing parameters are fully controlled and stored in recipe format with a barcode scanner for recipe selection.

New Generation Bar Pouch Sealer (Model#: BPS-010)

The New Generation Bar Pouch Sealer (Model#: BPS-010) is a compact tabletop Bar Sealer, PLC controlled and interfaced with a label printer to control (poke-yoke) your pouch labeling and sealing process. It incorporates the new upgraded control system. The upgraded design Bar Pouch Sealer Machine is designed using state-of-the-art technology.

  • Accurate digital control of temperature, pressure, and time.
  • Includes an Allen Bradley PLC programmed with standard functions for Barcode & printer integration functionality to poka-yoke the sequence of the sealing and printing process to mitigate against the occurrence of un-labeled and un-sealed pouches leaving the sealing station.
  • Touch screen Allen Bradley 7” HMI. Key features include:
    • Recipe-based product/parameter selection through barcode scanner or from HMI.
    • Display/monitoring of the process parameters, (temperature, pressure & time) and process alarm messages.
    • Calibration screen to simplify the calibration process.
    • 450 mm sealer bar with 10mm seal width. Other widths can be available upon request.
    • Sealer tooling defines the sealing position of the pouch and verifies the correct pouch size for the UPN.
  • CE Compliant.

Station Laminator

  • Lamination of short sections of a catheter shaft with precise location and control of the product.
  • Product lamination length is customized to suit the customer requirements.
  • Product tooling is customized to suit the customer requirements.
  • Additional functions such as automated product stretching or tensioning can be included as required.
  • The operator is protected from accidental contact with the hot laminator nozzle by automated shutter.
  • CE-compliant safety with robust interlocked safety door.
  • Processing parameters are fully controlled and stored in recipe format with a barcode scanner for recipe selection.

Surface scanning and Laser Deposition

Integration of multiple systems in a complete Cell for Metal Deposition on highly targeted & specific regions of Metal components.

  • Metal Component Processing.
  • Additive Machining principle.
  • 3D Laser scanner builds CAD model of substrate actual surface.
  • CAM software generates a path for the Laser Metal Deposition head using data from 3D Scanner.
  • Metal Deposition Head follows path, integrated with 6 Axis Robot handling of component.
  • Complete Cell includes a 6-axis Robot Handler, Multiple product magazines, Safety systems, Metal powder feed systems, and Laser system control.

Catheter Shaft Roller

This Bench Top Rotary Catheter Shaft Cutter is designed for cutting Tungsten wire or braided embedded catheter shafts.

  • Precision rotary clean cut without contacting the support mandrel.
  • Precise control of the product and cut location.
    Long Blade life.
  • CE-compliant safety with robust interlocked safety door.
  • Processing parameters are fully controlled and stored in recipe format on HMI.

Fine Wire Insert & Cut Machine

Bench Top Fine Wire Insert & Cut Machine for spool feeding and cutting fine diameter wire (0.003”) into fine diameter tubes in catheter assembly. 

  • Bespoke tooling to suit fine Nitinol wire and other materials.
  • Precision guiding and control of the feed length of the wire.
  • Cutting system gives an atraumatic tip on the wire.
  • CE-compliant safety with robust safety guarding. 
  • Processing parameters are fully controlled and stored in recipe format with a barcode scanner for recipe selection from HMI. 

Hydostatic Burst Test

The Somex Automation MedTech/Pharma High-Pressure Hydrostatic Burst Tester is a standalone unit using the hydrostatic principle, capable of generating test pressures in excess of 70 bar and burst testing a wide range of Product.


Versions with air or other gas pressure instead of water can be provided also.


Single or Multi-station configurations are available.

The unit has a PLC/HMI based control and a Recipe Parameter storage system for pressure test program operation & result storage. Test results can be displayed on HMI screen.


Validation documentation can be provided or supported in collaboration with the customer.

Fully CE Certified.

Removal & Insertion Machine

  • Automated removal of Build Mandrel from Catheter shaft
  • Automated insertion of lesser diameter mandrel to prepare Catheter Shaft for next process.
  • Vertical orientation of product to minimize footprint
  • Product Tooling is customized to suit the customer requirements.
  • Multiple station format with Alternating function to optimize efficiency.
  • CE-compliant safety with robust interlocked safety door.
  • Processing parameters are fully controlled and stored in recipe format with a barcode scanner for recipe selection.

Automotive component Press

In this example, an Assembly Press giving inconsistent results and poor quality was re-engineered to produce repeatable high-quality results after each operation. The press is used to fit light pipes to buttons for use in the automotive industry. There is a tight fit between mating parts and a flush fit is critical. Eight sets are assembled during one operation.

The problem with the existing press was 1 centrally located heavy-duty pneumatic cylinder which produced uneven results. Some assemblies were damaged from over pressing and others were not completely pressed together.

Somex Automation re-design included 8 suitably rated cylinders, one for each assembly this facilitated individual adjustment for each nest. The operator places the 16 parts, 8 light pipes, and 8 Buttons in the nests and then pushes the platen to the home position A sensor then activates the press, The device is designed and built to comply with the CE requirements.

Precision Part Design

Companies developing leading-edge medical or sensing technology will require precision designed components or housings. Your time from concept to prototype and thru to final product is constantly being eroded. Subcontracting the design of mechanical parts or housing to our design department makes good economic sense, allowing your engineers to concentrate on developing and fine-tuning your core technology safe in the knowledge that the mechanical aspects of your project are advancing to meet your deadlines.

Helping our customers to make decisions on the most suitable materials or the most economical method of manufacture comes easily to our experienced team of engineers. Our service is very suited to early stage prototyping which may change as the product evolves. An incorrect decision on the type of housing finish could make the difference between a GREAT-looking product and an OK-looking product.

We will work closely with your product development team to understand and interpret your needs to meet the requirements of your customers. We can advise and assist your engineers to ensure your sensors or optics are securely positioned with precision parts. There will be a ‘no hassle factor’ for your engineers requiring those last-minute changes or unforeseen modifications. Similarly, we can propose a design solution for any jigs or fixtures required to test or integrate your product.

From initial ‘one off’s to medium or high batch runs we can identify the most suitable and economical supplier to ensure your technology hits the market on time.

Solvent Application

  • Precision application of liquid solvent, adhesive or lubricant to tubing prior to insertion into another component.
  • The process developed by Somex Automation can be integrated into an assembly system to perform the task accurately, repeatably & at high speed.
  • The process uses Nordson EFD Pico dispensers to provide accurate, easily controlled, non-contact jetting of the media as shown.
  • The solution includes optical sensing technology to verify that the media has been dispensed.
  • Dispense quantities can be in the order of nano-litres.
  • The application process shown completes internal & external surface wetting in 0.1 seconds.
  • The equipment shown is supplied complete with programmable control panel ready for integration into a larger system.
  • Somex Automation can provide full turnkey solutions based around this technology too.

Hot-Flo Heat Box (Model HFU-001)

The Somex Automation Hot-Flo Heat Box is compact bench top unit. It comes in two configurations: Standard and Umbilical.

The Hot-Flo offers the following features:

  • Accurate Digital Air Flow Controller with adjustment for precise air delivery to the nozzle for greater product build repeatability.
  • Ready lamp to indicate the temperature & Air Flow are within set limits.
  • Options for adding an enhanced level of control & monitoring of process parameters by external systems.
  • High accuracy temperature control.
  • CE Marked.
  • Available in Fixed Nozzle configuration and Umbilical Nozzle configuration with remote Control-enclosure.
  • Variety of Heater designs and options (see over leaf) with adjustable V-Groove Tooling to aid the Product Builder in locating the product in the nozzle for repeatable results.
  • Foot Operated Cooling Air Blow Nozzle.


Formerly Ward Automation, our team in Galway recently designed an innovative machine for low volume assembly of an implant delivery system. The product comprises a catheter shaft/hub, a silicone haemostasis valve and an assembly cap.

Our customer required a very compact footprint, with controlled dispense of precise quantities of silicone oil in multiple locations on the haemostasis valve. Silicone oil dispense is monitored by a fibre optic thru-beam sensor, this counts the droplets as they are jetted, ensuring product quality is met.


A major manufacturer of minimally invasive medical devices approached our Galway team with requirements for an automated production machine to carry out a precision winding process.

The customer had many unique challenges, in particular, a very compact machine footprint was required, and the process involved precision handling and complex processing of delicate high-cost components.

The finished machine has 3 servo axes, a SCARA robot, a vision system, precision tooling, multiple pneumatic actuations, and an automated vertically sliding door for operator access, thus ensuring no door encroachment onto the walkway space, all in the required small footprint.


Our Galway team designed and built an automated Suture twist machine, running at speeds up to 4,000RPM. A major customer required an innovative solution to replace a manual process, which involved hand-spiraling short length of the low tensile strength suture, used in the manufacture of Class III medical implants.

The new machine incorporates the following features:

  • Very compact footprint
  • 5-up system for high-volume throughput
  • Very short set-up times through innovative design
  • Automatic suture breakage detection
  • Precise tension control
  • 7 axes for 5-up spiraling, winding and cross-feeding
  • Superior process results


An international manufacturer of minimally invasive devices approached our team in Galway, with a requirement for a new machine to automatically execute a thermal cure and air cool process on the distal tip of a catheter-based product. Due to long process times combined with short production takt times, in a single-piece flow production environment, a multi-up system was necessary in order to meet production volumes.

The team developed a 48-up PLC-controlled system and implemented innovative design features to poke-yoke the process against the possibility of catheters being removed from the system before the full process time was elapsed, all within tight machine footprint requirements. The system has 3 thermal curing chambers, with product ejection controlled by a 6-axis servo system, together with ergonomic status indicators, PLC & HMI.