Why Visual Inspection? 

Visual inspection is mandated by major pharmacopeias, including the European Pharmacopoeia (EP), the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the Japanese Pharmacopoeia (JP). These regulations specify the acceptable size and number of particulates in injectable products and outline the testing procedures. However, detailed guidance on implementing these procedures effectively is often lacking, highlighting the importance of standardized test sets. 

Principle of test sets 

A Visual Inspection Test Set typically consists of a mix of defect-free units and others intentionally equipped with known defects. These defects might range from particles of specific sizes to physical damages like scratches or improper sealing. The primary purpose of these test sets is to evaluate the probability of defect detection, validate automated systems and train inspectors. 

Usage of test sets 

Test sets are crucial for several functions: 

  • Training and qualification: they help in training and qualifying new inspectors, ensuring that personnel can reliably identify defects. 

  • System validation: for automated systems, test sets are used to validate and periodically re-qualify the machinery, ensuring consistent performance. 

  • Special studies: these sets can be employed in specific studies to refine and improve inspection processes. 

An example of a test set - these vials will be equipped with an AT CAP as a finish

Types of test kits 

Visual Inspection test kits are designed to suit various operational needs: 

  • Training kits: introduce inspectors to a broad range of potential defects, preparing them for real-world scenarios where they must discern and reject defective units. 

  • Qualification kits: these are used for both manual and automated systems to ensure ongoing compliance with quality standards. 

  • Production defect kits: contain real defects found during production, providing realistic challenges for inspectors and systems. 

  • Evaluation kits for new machines: critical during the selection process for new inspection equipment, helping determine the most effective setup for specific products. 

When to create a test kit 

Customized test kits should be developed for each product family and container type, considering factors like container size, fill volume and product characteristics. The design of these kits plays a crucial role in the lifecycle of pharmaceutical manufacturing, from initial training through ongoing process validation. 

Visual inspection is a critical quality control measure that directly impacts the sterility and safety of injectable pharmaceutical products. Through the effective use of Visual Inspection Test Sets, the pharmaceutical industry can ensure that products are free of defects and safe for patient use. By continually improving the design and application of these test sets, manufacturers can uphold the highest standards of quality and compliance. 

Find out more about eyetec’s Visual Inspection test sets and download our factsheet here

Test sets