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Standing 3m tall and weighing in at four and a half tonnes, Townsville’s first high tech dispensing robot has been installed at Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy in Kirwan.

Hailing from German technology the system has only recently made its way into Australian chemists with the Calanna machine the very first to be installed in the region.

Calanna General Manager and owner Matthew Calanna said the machine, known as ROWA, represented a real opportunity.

“It is a flexible high-performance storage and dispensing system capable of dispensing up to 2,000 packs per hour and provides a much faster, more efficient and higher quality controlled medication management system.

“The robot represents cutting edge technology in our industry and installing it aligned perfectly with our vision to be at the forefront of innovation in pharmacy in North Queensland.”

The pharmacy which recently underwent a store refit to accommodate the machine, said the move has already seen wait times for prescriptions slashed, freeing up their pharmacists to focus on helping people better manage their overall well being.

Calanna Kirwan’s Managing Pharmacist Ella Jude said both staff and customers were loving the change.

“It has given our staff so much more time to focus on talking with, helping and educating people about their overall health and our customers have not only appreciated the fast turn-around but have been enthralled by watching how it all works.”

Not in an industry traditionally renowned for innovation, the Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy Group have been innovating since the early 90s when they introduced in store Naturopaths in Townsville and Cairns.

In more recent years they have worked with developers to build a fully customized online training App to ensure their staff are the most frequently trained in the industry.

The installation of the ROWA marked the next step in their ambition to be leaders in their field.

Advantages of robotic dispensing using the ROWA system include:

  • Fast and accurate dispensing
  • Accurate stock management
  • Quality assurance with automated expiry date and batch checking
  • Improved security and safety with 24/7 monitoring.

Customers are able to see what is going on in the machine through an external screen showing the view from inside the robot.