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Hallie Forcinio is packing editor for Pharmaceutical Technology and Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, email@example.com.
New pharmaceutical packaging equipment includes advances in automation and efficient systems.
Attendees found innovations for all points in the packaging line at the inaugural Pharma EXPO and the co-located PACK EXPO International, Nov. 2-5, 2014, at McCormick Place, Chicago.
Filling and packaging
In preparation for filling, an Ionized Bottle Rinser from Paxton Products neutralizes static cling and uses blower-driven air, instead of more energy-intensive compressed air or water, to remove foreign material from glass or plastic containers. Rated at up to 1200 containers per minute, the unit handles sizes from 20 ounces to 3 L.
The TE 20 tablet elevator from NJM Packaging feeds tablets, capsules, or softgels to a tablet counter or blister packaging machine at nearly double the speed (24,000 tablets per minute) of its TE 10 model. It’s also approximately 50% smaller and locates the 113-L hopper at a relatively low height for easy loading. When demand increases, the standard hopper can be replaced in the field with a larger 198-L hopper. A push of a button releases all product contact parts for tool-free removal to expedite cleaning and minimize downtime (1).
Self-teaching optical technology in the cutting head allows the 5D Desiccant Dispenser from AZCO Corp. to run desiccant material from any supplier. Measuring 7x12x14 inches, the compact unit is rated at up to 100 cycles per minute. Cantilevered design of the self-threading, all-electric machine provides full access to the feeding process and simplifies setup. A knife cartridge cuts blade changeover time to 30 seconds without tools (2).
Another versatile desiccant feeder, the Rx-Desiccant PLUS model from BellatRx handles either desiccant canisters or pouches (3).
For parenteral lines, Denso Robotics introduced a cleanroom-compatible robot with an outer coating and sealed joints, which withstand hydrogen peroxide or ultraviolet light sterilization. The VS 050 six-axis robot handles 4-kg payloads and offers a maximum reach of 520 mm with accuracy of ±0.02 mm (4).
The FXS Combi filling and closing machine from Bosch Packaging Technology handles nested syringes, vials, or cartridges. The monoblock design includes an integrated capping station. The unit may be equipped with up to six dosing heads and is suitable for peristaltic or rotary, slide-valve piston pumps as well as Bosch’s single-use PreVAS technology. It’s also compatible with isolators or restricted access barrier systems. Integration with an ATO automatic tub opener and ABO automatic bag opener, also from Bosch, results in a fully automated line (5).
The FLR (faulty label removal) System from Newman Labelling Systems removes bad labels before application to eliminate rework of labeled containers and simplify label reconciliation and decommissioning of serialized codes. Once detected, the bad label is immediately transferred to a secure paper web, and sensors confirm this action. Being able to view each rejected label on the paper tape simplifies reconciliation. If desired, a camera can be added to automate decommissioning of serialized codes. The FLR system handles label sizes from 12x20 mm to 108x200 mm at up to 500 labels per minute. Compatible with any of Newman’s pressure-sensitive labelers, the stepper-motor-driven unit was shown mounted on the company’s S350 labeler, set up to handle vials.
Avery Dennison can incorporate DirectLink near field communication (NFC) tags into its pressure-sensitive labels for communicating information to consumers. NFC, a form of short-range wireless communication, transforms the package into an interactive product communicator. Tapping an NFC-enabled phone against the tagged package can deliver content such as a special offer, survey, coupon, website link, or manual (6).