INTERPHEX never disappoints. Whatever packaging solution is needed can be found on the show floor. Highlights of the 2012
event, which took place May 1–3 at New York City's Javits Center, included a container-making alternative to injection molding,
versatile vial fillers and other equipment for the packaging line, expanded service offerings, new carton and label concepts,
cold-chain support, integrated serialization systems, and quality control innovations.
A hybrid forming technology has advantages over traditional injection molding. The marriage of compression forming and blow
molding generates less waste, shortens cycle time, and requires less energy and heat, largely because no manifold is needed
to distribute molten resin to individual cavities. A 12-station, rotary machine extrudes and cuts molten high-density polyethylene
and transfers the shot into a compression cavity for a subsequent two-stage blowing process. Container sizes range from 60–300
ccm. Eliminating station-to-station indexing shortens cycle time. The absence of a manifold for melt distribution prevents
temperature variations and lessens chances of flaws from resin burn and degradation. An extremely consistent wall thickness
offers the potential for lightweighting. The machine also integrates three levels of quality control: leak detection, infrared
inspection for surface and embedded particulates, and plasma surface treatment to improve label adhesion. A 20-station machine,
currently under development, will require only minor adjustments to change from high-density polyethylene to polystyrene,
polypropylene, or polyethylene terephthalate (Compression blow-formed containers, Amcor Rigid Plastics; compression blow-forming
machines, Sacmi Group).
Chemical tempering after the forming process strengthens glass cartridges used in auto-injectors and pen systems. A molten
potassium nitrate bath replaces sodium ions in the glass with larger potassium ions and results in a denser surface. It also
increases the surface compression and reduces stress created by miniscule flaws in the tubular glass, which cannot be seen
by the naked eye but are always present (tempered glass cartridges, Gerresheimer AG).
Cartons and labels
With requirements for Braille labeling likely to expand beyond Europe and Australia, a fourth-generation, family-owned carton
converter is prepared to emboss and verify the tactile code on its folding cartons. A high-speed camera system checks the
depth and accuracy of each embossed dot at production speeds and rejects any faulty cartons. The Braille embosser and inspection
system are installed on the folder-gluer and are an alternative to a more complex system and expensive die-cutter-mounted
system (AccuBraille embossing system from Bobst and BrailleChek system from Valco Melton, installed at Ingersoll Paper Box
Digital, flexographic, and offset printing address low, medium, and high-volume folding carton runs with virtually no variation
in print quality. The printer also offers services to reduce carton costs by consolidating sizes and stock-keeping units (SKU
Consolidation and Right-Sizing services, Innomark Packaging Solutions).
New label concepts include a design to impart child resistance to blister cards. The multilayer, pressure-sensitive label
provides six barriers to entry—three logical and three physical. In use, the first step is to peel off the top layer to reveal
a series of pictograms, which provide instructions for access. A six-by-two dose format has been tested and received an F4
rating. An F1 rating is being sought (CRSF label, Faubel Pharma Services).
A 48-page booklet label marries insert and primary label to cut costs and simplify inventory, ordering, quality control, and
packaging-line changeover. Also available in a ribbon style, the insert/label combo is integrated as the label is flexographically
printed. Barcodes on each component prevent mix-ups (booklet label, Platinum Press).
Gerresheimer's glass-tempering technology strengthens glass cartridges.
Special adhesive and die cutting produce a pressure-sensitive label that applies smoothly to the narrow circumference of auto-injectors.
Options include embossed bumps that could carry a Braille message, but are primarily intended to prevent the pen from slipping
during use. Labels also may incorporate color-shifting ink for anticounterfeiting protection or thermochromic ink that shows
when a product has reached the correct dispensing temperature. In pens designed for multiple doses, multiply structures permit
reverse printing that preserves the readability of any messages or instructions despite repeated handling. A peelable layer
allows users to check product level through a window but otherwise blocks transmission of ultraviolet light (Pen Label, Schreiner
Bosch Packaging's fully integrated FXS line fills presterilized syringes.