End-to-End Innovations - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech

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PharmTech Europe

End-to-End Innovations
Integrated lines, flexible machines, and high-barrier materials enhance packaging options.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 33, Issue 3, pp. 52-58

Primary packaging

Innovations related to blister packs, a common pharmaceutical container, were also in evidence at the show. One line automates the assembly of a paperboard wallet pack with a dual sliding mechanism that keeps the medication and information leaflet together. Pulling the leaflet carrier causes the blister card to slide out the opposite side, thus providing access to the tablets. Prefolded patient information booklets can contain as many as 24 pages. The 17-m machine handles single or double blister formats at rates as high as 150 packs/min. A special feeding-wheel technology for fast pick-and-place operation, combined with a transverse product infeed chain, minimizes format changeover time ("Burgopak" wallet pack, Burgopak, London and Burgopak packaging line, Sigpack Systems, Beringen, Switzerland).


Uhlmann's completely integrated, turnkey bottle-filling line.
A small unit for filling solid dosage forms into bottles counts pills at as many as 300 bottles/min. The machine reportedly provides better count accuracy than electronic counters or slat fillers and can be equipped with a color inspection system. Other features include integrated dust management and reject tracking. The machine can be disassembled in 20 min for cleaning and requires few change parts ("ACT9000" bottle filler, Aylward, New Bern, NC).

A new inserter cuts cotton coil with a guillotine blade, thus eliminating strands that could get caught in the capper, as well as fiber residue that complicates cleaning. The compact, portable unit can be configured with single or dual heads and offers speeds as high as 60 bottles/min. Its features include a programmable logic control, touch-screen operator interface, adjustable cutting head for lengths of 2–7 in., and stepper motor-driven rollers. A motorized height-adjustable stand enables the unit to be moved easily from line to line ("CF-1" automatic cotton inserter, ABOX Automation, Wharton, NJ).


Hapa on-line ultraviolet printer reduces waste and inventory by printing blister foil on demand.
An upgraded dispenser slices desiccant or oxygen-absorber pouches from a roll and drops them into containers at rates as high as 300 bottles/min. An open exit chute reduces the chance of jams, and an angled feed ensures accurate pouch placement. A touch-screen operator interface and 1-min knife replacement expedite changeover. A remote access feature supports diagnostics to minimize service time and costs ("AZCO VIP-100 Sur-Pak" pouch dispenser, AZCO, Fairfield, NJ).

A polypropylene utensil, designed to be handled with one hand, breaks open along a score line to release a single dose of liquid or dry product. Available in spoon, fork, stirrer, and brush configurations, the package consists of an injection-molded shell and printed foil-laminate lidstock. A custom machine fills the utensil's reservoir with 4–20 mL of product and seals the lidstock in place ("Snapsil" utensil, Snapsil, Birtinya, Australia; "Optima Snapsil 400" fill–seal machine, Optima Group Consumer, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany).


Butterfly sachet with a proprietary semirigid bottom web folds to dispense a single dose of liquid or semiliquid product.
Another one-handed, single-dose dispensing design combines a scored semirigid bottom web with a flexible top web in a four-side-sealed construction. Folding the edges of the pouch together breaks the score and dispenses the liquid or semiliquid product. The proprietary bottom web consists of polystyrene–ethylene vinyl alcohol–polyethylene (PE) and flexes 90° (bottom barrier web for butterfly sachet, Alcan Packaging, Chicago, IL).

A special vertical form–fill–seal machine combines top and bottom barrier webs and fills 150 packs/min. Four standard pack sizes hold 1–25 mL and measure 40 × 30, 40 × 80, 45 × 80, or 60 × 100 mm ("Easysnap3" vertical form–fill–seal machine, Easypack Solutions, Brantford, Ontario, Canada). The first machine is destined for Knowlton Development (Knowlton, Quebec, Canada), a large liquid personal-care contract packager.


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