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Materials enhance sustainability and efficiency.
Blister packaging can present a quandary for solid dosage forms and products like pre-filled syringes or auto-injectors. The material(s) not only must maximize product shelf life, but also meet demand for more sustainable structures. Unfortunately, the barrier properties needed to protect shelf life often depend on multilayer materials, which often are challenging to recycle.
New materials are being designed to provide more sustainable choices. A good example is the winner in the Sustainable category in the 2022 AmeriStar Packaging Awards competition, sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals. The AmSky thermoform blister system from Amcor Flexibles Healthcare North America relies on existing material, high-density polyethylene, in a proprietary formulation for the forming web and lidstock to provide a single-stream recycling option (1).
Other sustainable blister materials also are available. TekniPlex Healthcare recently introduced a fully transparent, mid-barrier polyolefin/polypropylene (PP) blister package. It’s certified to be recyclablein geographies where the #5 (PP) recycling stream is available. For products with minimum barrier requirements, TekniPlex has developed a fully recyclable polyester mono-material blister/lidding combination. “The ability to make transparent barrier blister packages recyclable is a crucial step toward healthcare materials circularity, one in which technical challenges needed to be overcome with extensive research, trials, and dedication,” said Chris Qualters, CEO of TekniPlex Healthcare (2).
TekniPlex Healthcare also has expanded its capacity for other barrier materials with the installation of a new air knife coater, which will boost the production ofcoated Tyvek, heat-seal-coated reinforced paper, and cold-seal-coated paper and film to meet performance and sterilization requirements for medical device, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic applications. Qualters said, “The state-of-the-art air knife machine will ensure we can meet escalating product demands in the North American market while also allowing us to further expand in other geographies like China, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Europe (3).”
Expanded availability also is the driving force behind the establishment of a European manufacturing site for Activ-Blister packaging from Aptar CSP Technologies. A European contract manufacturing organization (CMO) will support regional customers and ensure speed-to-market with the installation of a fully automated Uhlmann blister machine validated to package oral solid dose drug products with Activ-Blister material heat-staked to the foil at a rate of up to 250 blisters/min. The active packaging component can be customized to provide a range of protection including moisture adsorption and oxygen and odor scavenging. The technology also can scavenge volatile organic compounds and emit aromas. The Uhlmann equipment has been fully validated at Ivers-Lee, a US CMO. “With manufacturing capabilities now available in the US and EMEA, we will turn our attention to bringing production of this technology to the Asia market,” said Badre Hammond, vice-president Commercial Operations and GM APAC, Aptar CSP Technologies (4).
Performance is the goal behind Pentapharm kpSilver blister material from Klöckner Pentaplast. The thermoformable alternative to cold-form foil looks like foil but runs as much as 85% faster and requires less material. Compatible with standard thermoforming equipment and tooling, the material seals well to vinyl-compatible lidstock. Options include a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)/polyolefin laminate or a higher barrier Aclar/polyolefin/PVC laminate. Custom structures also are available. Water vapor transmission rates as low as 0.05 g/sqm can be achieved, and its barrier to ultraviolet and visible light meets USP regulations (5,6).
1. Institute of Packaging Professionals. 2022 AmeriStar. 2022 AmeriStar Award Winners | Institute of Packaging Professionals (iopp.org), accessed Jan. 4, 2023.
2. TekniPlex Healthcare. At PACK EXPO, TekniPlex Healthcare to Debut World’s First Fully Transparent Recyclable Mid-barrier Blister Package. News Release. Oct. 11, 2022.
3. TekniPlex Healthcare. TekniPlex Healthcare Invests in State-of-the-art Production Equipment for Coated Barrier Products, Significantly Expanding Capacity and Capabilities. News Release. Nov. 29, 2022.
4. Aptar CSP Technologies. Aptar CSP Technologies’ Activ-Blister Solutions Now Available for Manufacturing in the EMEA Region. News Release. May 12, 2022.
5. Klöckner Pentaplast. Specialty Rigid Films. Speciality Rigid Films - Klöckner Pentaplast (kpfilms.com), accessed Jan. 4, 2023.
6. Klöckner Pentaplast. kpSilver. kpSilver high-performace blister films (kpfilms.com), accessed Jan. 4, 2023.