Mimicking the human decision-making process is challenging. Especially, many process control situations during the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals are based on visual observations and related experience-based actions. The aim of the present work was to investigate the use of image analysis to classify the quality of coated tablets. Tablets with an increasing amount of coating solution were imaged by fast scanning using a conventional office scanner. A segmentation routine was implemented to the images, allowing the extraction of numeric image-based information from individual tablets. The image preprocessing was performed prior to utilization of four different classification techniques for the individual tablet images. The support vector machine (SVM) technique performed superior compared to a convolutional neural network (CNN) in relation to computational time, and this approach was also slightly better at classifying the tablets correctly. The fastest multivariate method was partial least squares (PLS) regression, but this method was hampered by the inferior classification accuracy of the tablets. Finally, it was possible to create a numerical threshold classification model with an accuracy comparable to the SVM approach, so it is evident that there exist multiple valid options for classifying coated tablets.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited