It's in the Bag

 

 
A Cholestech preformed pouch (materials made by Glenroy).

Converters are also feeling the pressure to develop preformed bags and pouches that help automate the packaging process. Both Tolas Health Care Packaging (Feasterville, PA) and Beacon Converters (Saddle Brook, NJ) offer pouches on a roll that are fed through thermal-transfer printers, eliminating the need to apply a label separately. "We have several customers who are using pouches on a roll," says Pat Tonrey, technical sales for Tolas, "and most of those customers are using them for the printing and lot code changes they can generate." Currently, no one is using Tolas pouches on a roll for fully automated systems, says Tonrey; however, he has had several inquiries and is working on developing pouches on a roll for that purpose.

Beacon Converters has developed certain features for preformed pouches that help speed up production. "We have punched holes in pouches so that people can line them up easier and have a guide when they seal them," says Beacon's Kathleen Daly Mascolo. "We have also lined up several pouches next to each other and perforated them instead of cutting them individually so that you only have to heat seal them once, and then you can pull them apart."

Although filling preformed pouches can be labor intensive, many of Glenroy's (Menomonee Falls, WI) customers prefer to do so, says Gary Bobko, vice president marketing and sales–packaging film, because on-line inspection used by Glenroy during the printing and laminating operations as well as by its converter customers during preformed pouch-making operations provides improved quality assurance.


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