Embedded Control Software Suite for Pharmaceutical Instruments

Project Description

The Context

Tablet Testing is a means of identifying the availability of pharmaceutical ingredients in tablets and consequently, deciding recommended dosage. A big name in the pharmaceutical space was planning to introduce a new line of tablet testing instruments. An autosampler was also being developed to centralize the analytical process. Tismo was brought on board to develop the control software suite for the pharmaceutical instruments.  

The Problem

The new product line consisted of a number of tablet testing instruments. Each instrument had similar functionalities and capabilities, but varied in configuration, modes of operation and processing capacity. Additionally, an autosampler was developed as a central control unit that could remotely drive each of these instruments in the client’s product line.

The task laid before Tismo was to develop a single control software compatible with each of these instruments. It would have to allow independent functionality of each instrument as well as support the capability to be integrated with an autosampler or any other third party instrument with similar functionality. Tismo was also responsible for developing the control software for the autosampler. 

The Solution

Tismo understood that versatility, in terms of compatibility with other instruments, was crucial to the success of this new line of pharmaceutical instruments. Therefore, it was upto Tismo to develop a robust control software for the tablet testing instruments of different configurations and a separate control software for the autosampler. 

Control Software for Tablet Testing Instruments

Tismo developed an embedded control software, compatible with a number of tablet testing instruments, using C#/.NET. The software was built to be run on Windows Embedded platform. The User Interface was designed such that it delivered a similar user experience across all the devices in the product line. This helped enhance the brand identity for the client. 

Architecture of Control software for Tablet Testing Instruments

Architecture of Control software for Tablet Testing Instruments

The control software was designed to independently operate each of the tablet testing instruments. Moreover, it allowed the seamless integration of each of these pharmaceutical instruments with the autosampler. Additionally, it supported integration of these instruments with third party control instruments with similar functionality as the autosampler. Tests were continuously monitored through parameters such as temperature, RPM, volume of solvent etc. The control software also supported user authentication, creation and editing of test methods, generation and export of reports as PDF or CSV files, calibration of instruments, diagnostics and alarms. 

Control Software for Autosampler

Tismo also developed an embedded control software for the autosampler, using C#/.NET. The software was built to be run on Windows Embedded platform. The User Interface design was kept in line with the tablet testing instruments, to retain brand identity.

Architecture of Control software for analytical instrument

Architecture of Control software for Autosampler

The software controlled the functioning of the Autosampler. It also supported the capability to control the tablet testing instruments. Tests could be set up and run via the autosampler and periodic samples could be collected from the tablet testing instruments as per the test norms. The embedded control software also supported 2 step authentication (separate user authentication for the autosampler and for the instrument), creation and editing of test methods, continuous monitoring of running tests, generation and export of reports as PDF or CSV files. The software also alerted users to errors on the tablet testing instruments. Additionally, the control software was designed to support seamless integration with third party tablet testing instruments. 

At the start of the software development lifecycle, Tismo was able to identify the similarities in the functionality of the different instruments. With a meticulously planned approach, Tismo was able to make full use of these similarities and utilize the same code base across the entire control software suite. Effectively, a module was developed for the core functionalities shared by all the instruments, and was used along with code for instrument specific features. This approach of using a pluggable core module dramatically brought down the client’s time to market.  

Related Read: Modernizing a Flagship Endoscope Reprocessing System

Summary

Tismo developed a control software suite for tablet testing instruments and an autosampler, using C#/.NET. It was designed to run on Windows Embedded platform. It was designed to independently operate each of the pharmaceutical instruments and also to be integrated with the autosampler. Additionally, it was designed to be compatible with third party instruments with similar functionality. The same code base was used across the entire control software suite to bring down the client’s time to market. 

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