The new pharma toploader

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Pharmaceutical Technology Europe PTE

Rene Kummer of Sigpack Systems speaks about the company's new pharma toploader, which features an innovative box transportation unit.

Rene Kummer of Sigpack Systems, a Bosch Packaging Technology company, speaks about the company's new pharma toploader, which features an innovative box transportation unit.

Q1: What is special about Sigpack Systems' new Pharma Toploader?
This new toploader has two distinctive features: first, its compact size is bound to be a competitive advantage. In addition, Sigpack has made significant improvements to the box transportation unit. During packaging, the boxes are held in position at the transportation support by innovative vacuum technology.

Q2: What will the customer gain from Pharma Toploader's new features?
The machine's compact build means that it can be positioned in locations where space is limited. Our rotary box transportation system allows for a very compact and space-saving construction. As a result, users achieve optimum utilization of their production areas and are able to reduce the overall running costs of the installation.


The vacuum technology built into the box transportation unit assures high flexibility for processing various packaging formats as purpose-made mechanical holders or special tools are no longer needed. The toploader can be changed over quickly to suit different packaging styles, making it easier to adapt to changing market requirements.

Q3: Does the new toploader offer any other innovative technical features?
In developing the toploader, we also placed great importance on a traceable line clearance as well as complete process control. The user can be sure that no products are left in the system and that all packaged contents are fully accurate and undamaged. Using bar-code verification and camera systems, each process step checks packages for any incomplete or damaged contents. Faulty items are immediately separated out without any disruption to the packaging process. Rejected and misplaced products are dropped into drawers and can therefore be easily documented. This is a stringent requirement, especially for expensive or toxic pharmaceuticals.

Q4: Were there any industry-specific requirements that led to the development of the Pharma Toploader?
The pharmaceutical industry in particular has high demands regarding process safety and user-friendliness. Packaging machines have to be highly flexible to be able to adapt to new developments in the market. This toploader was developed to meet such demands.

We are, for example, fulfilling requirements of traceability as well as complete control at each process station, one of the most important requirements of the pharmaceutical sector. Our ultimate aim is not to produce faulty packages, rather than just separating them out, which is what other manufacturers do. We therefore avoid waste production and improve system efficiency. Pharmaceutical producers have a duty to ensure that faulty drugs do not reach the patient.

Q5: In what way is the Sigpack Toploader different from your competitors' toploaders? What makes it a better product?
Toploader systems are normally quite long, depending on the number of integrated functions. Thanks to our rotary system, the flow of products and packaging material is coordinated with the machine's operation in the most effective manner, providing a link to upstream processes and at the same time saving space. Our toploader is also faster and more efficient than comparable machines on the market. With speeds of up to 230 boxes per minute, we have managed to maximize the machine's output level. The toploader's modular design makes retrofitting easy. The toploader has a base module which incorporates all elementary functions. Depending on requirements additional modules may be installed, which means that the toploader can be expanded if and when required.

Q6: Which are the toploader's prime applications, and why?
This toploader was developed with particular regard to the pharmaceutical industry and will package vials, syringes and needle holders. In order to ensure maximum efficiency, the packaging machines must be geared to specific products, or maximum output levels will not be achieved. The toploader is capable of compiling a set of various pharmaceutical products, for example syringe, vial and information leaflet. A simple tool change enables it to switch to a different set of products.

Q7: What if these products require secondary packaging?
What is important here is that products are accurately held in place by custom-made fixtures. The robots must be able to position small and delicate products with millimeter precision, so that they are prevented from sliding out of place inside the packaging.