Reusable steel or aluminum designs might be the answer for pharmaceutical manufacturers who want to eliminate wood pallets
to comply with repair, cleaning, waste-disposal, or phytosanitary requirements put in place to eliminate the transport of
woodborne pests. Metal pallets provide the highest strength-to-weight ratio, are fire-resistant, easy to clean, recyclable,
and compatible with temperature extremes.
Heavy-duty aluminum pallets do not rust, feature sturdy welded construction, are easy to clean and sanitize, withstand high-temperature
steam, and are nonabsorbent, thus easy to dry. Standard sizes include 40 × 48 in., 42 × 48 in., and 48 × 48 in. and 800 ×
1200 mm and 1000 × 1200 mm with two- or four-way forklift access (aluminum pallets, LM Containers, Hayti, MO).
A lightweight, flame-retardant, 48 × 40 × 5.5-in. steel pallet reportedly ranks as first in meeting the capacity and compatibility
standards of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. At 63 lb., the rust-resistant galvanized steel pallet weighs about 10
lb. less than a standard wood pallet. The product offers superior racking strength with more than 3500 lb of unsupported racking
capacity and 40,000 lb of static load. Welded construction increases durability, reduces chances of damage, and helps maximize
the number of trips the pallet can make before it is recycled. As a result, the steel pallet is said to cost less per trip
than wood or plastic pallets ("Steelpac" pallet, Worthington Steelpac, Columbus, OH).
Stoppers, dosage cups, and other products
A fluorinated polyester coating fused to ultraclean rubber provides an inert stopper material with minimal levels of extractables
and leachables. Available in ready-for-sterilization and ready-for-use formats, the barrier-coated, silicone-free stopper
runs freely through equipment and provides maximum seal integrity even after exposure to storage temperatures of -78 °C ("Omniflex3G"
stopper, Helvoet Pharma, Pennsauken, NJ).
A stock dosage cup for general and pediatric markets features readily visible milliliter and teaspoon calibration lines printed
in black with food-grade ink. Printed lines permit more accurate measurement than engraved or embossed lines on traditional
translucent dosage cups. The units also may be printed with custom calibrations, instructions, and logos. Cups fit over child-resistant
closures ranging in diameter from 22 to 24 mm ("AccuCup," Comar, Buena, NJ).
A sanitary benchtop filler combines cleanroom design and touch-screen controls with servo-driven pump technology. Designed
for developmental and short-run needs, the compact liquid-filling system can be equipped with piston, peristaltic, or lobe
pumps to handle many viscosities. Fill sizes range from less than 0.05 mL to more than 1 L with ±0.5% accuracy (sanitary benchtop
filler, Filamatic, Baltimore, MD).
Additional packaging news from the show floor can be found at
http://blog.pharmtech.com/. Meanwhile, it's not too early to begin thinking about participating in INTERPHEX 2009.
Hallie Forcinio is Pharmaceutical Technology's Packaging Forum editor, 4708 Morningside Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109, tel. 216.351.5824, fax 216.351.5684, firstname.lastname@example.org