Creating Multiple Kits with a Customized Form-Fill-Seal Packaging SystemReturn to Article : Making the Switch

Manufacturing more than 2000 proprietary disposable products is quite a task for any packaging operation. To handle such a product family, Merit Medical Systems (South Jordan, UT) needed an efficient packaging solution for its cardiology and radiology procedure devices that would also drive down business costs. With Multivac’s help, Merit transitioned from a two-conveyor-driven filling process using premade pouches to a customized R530 thermoform-fill-seal solution.

Faced with a growth in demand for its specialized tubing kits, catheters, and biopsy and angiographic needles, Merit sought a more efficient process. “Working with Multivac’s specialized medical team helped us reengineer our packaging process into a streamlined system that takes up less space, saves time and money, and enabled us to meet a 15% increase in product demand,” says Larry Sommer, senior packaging engineer, Merit Medical Systems. “The team worked closely with us to develop packaging prototypes resulting in a Tyvek top blister pack for our application kits.”

Merit decided to integrate the packaging process within its manufacturing line to more adequately secure product integrity with an advanced thermoform packaging system, incorporating quick changeovers to meet market needs.
“A change in product demand presented the opportunity to rethink the way we were doing business,” says Sommer. “At that turn, we wanted to transition our clumsy, outdated conveyor filling process into a streamlined, reliable, and repeatable thermoform solution that provides proper sterile barriers and package integrity.”

The customized R530 system replaced Merit’s conveyor system in the approximately 40,000-sq-ft cleanroom facility, taking up less floor space, manpower, and company resources with the capability of producing millions of medical kits per year. Multivac added three premounted forming dies to support different packaging sizes, with rapid, programmable changeover technology that automatically adjusts to up to 47 different packaging heights.

In addition, a new in-line labeling system from Bell-Mark Corp. (Pine Brook, NJ) was installed to perform flexographic and thermoform transfer printing on packages prior to sealing with a hospital’s name, catalog number, and expiration date.

“Multivac’s engineering know-how allowed us to incorporate an extra-long loading area to support our product offerings as well as manufacturing personnel,” says Sommer. “With our new system in place we now have the flexibility to increase productivity levels of diverse products with accurate labeling and ensure optimal sterilization, maximizing our return on investment,” says Sommer.

Multivac provided preliminary validation of Merit’s R530 system at its Kansas City facility, saving the company a great deal of time in the qualification process. Merit’s facility floor supervisor, packaging engineer, and maintenance personnel will undergo training at Multivac University for complete machine orientation. Multivac will also provide 24-hour, 7-days-a-week technical assistance and support for troubleshooting, service, and parts replacement.

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