The annual INTERPHEX trade show returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this year and
presented its usual rich mix of processing and packaging innovations. Attendees interested in packaging found new ideas on
the show floor during the event, which took place Mar. 26–28.
Packagers looking for cold-chain management solutions, barrier materials, productivity-enhancing tools, reusable pallets,
or contract packaging partners were well rewarded.
New barrier materials included clear structures. A three-layer polyvinylidene chloride–polyvinyl chloride (PVdC–PVC) film
provides an ultrahigh barrier to oxygen and water vapor. The high-crystallinity PVdC dispersion in the middle layer also delivers
higher barrier properties. Compared with conventional PVdC-coated films, the symmetrical structure exhibits excellent mechanical
stability. Blister packages that incorporate the film reportedly lay flat and are handled smoothly by cartoning equipment.
Available in transparent clear and opaque colors, the multilayer film thermoforms in the same temperature range as monolayer
PVC. The low coefficient of friction of the PVC outer layers prevents blocking in preheat plates and ensures a consistent
material flow during thermoforming. The film is ultrasonically sealable to vinyl without coatings and heat-sealable to all
standard vinyl-compatible lidstocks ("Pentapharm alfoil E S03," Klöckner Pentaplast, Gordonsville, VA).
Barrier films optimized for medical-device applications combine rigid polyethylene terephthalate (PET) glycol with an Aclar
laminate. The choice of Aclar laminate determines the level of barrier properties. Designed for applications that combine
a medical device with a moisture-sensitive pharmaceutical such as a prefilled syringe or inhaler, these films seal to all
standard polyester- and vinyl-compatible lidstocks. The products are compatible with gamma, e-beam, and ethylene oxide sterilization
and available in high-gloss clear and transparent colors ("Pentamed Aclar PA 300/12," "PA 200/12," and "PA 190/12" rigid barrier
films, Klöckner Pentaplast).
Inksure's handheld reader authenticates items by scanning covert barcodes printed on packaging or documents. (COURTESY OF
A competitor to Aclar structures provides a high barrier to water-vapor transmission. The PVdC-based films also offer a good
barrier to oxygen. Options include PVdC–polyethylene (PE)–PVC, PVdC–PE–polypropylene, and PVdC–PE–PET structures. The films
also can incorporate security elements ("Perlalux-Tristar Ultra" film, Perlen Converting, Whippany, NJ).
Data loggers are one way to monitor shipments and provide alerts to shippers if temperature-sensitive products are exposed
to excess heat or cold. One data logger relies on a USB port for configuration and data output. The system monitors multiple
trips during a 400-day period, captures 16,000 temperature data points between -35 and 70 °C, and supports compliance with
21 CFR Part 11 requirements. An "X" or check mark in the corner of the screen instantly shows whether the product experienced acceptable
conditions during the trip. An integral report generator presents the collected data as a PDF file and eliminates the need
to install and qualify report software. Reports may be viewed, printed, e-mailed, or stored on a network ("PDF Datalogger,"
Elpro Services, Marietta, OH).