New Facility Focuses on Efficiency and Traceability

Formulated Solutions (Clearwater, FL), a manufacturer of private-label products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic markets, has moved into a 42,000-sq-ft corporate headquarters and production facility. The multimillion-dollar facility, approved by the Florida Department of Health to manufacture drugs and cosmetics, features a number of high-tech packaging operations. Formulated Solutions started as a consulting development company and has evolved into a turnkey production/contracting provider. 

According to CEO Eric Dann, “the new facility is set up to better manage and improve product movement from our cleanroom environment compounding area, which uses Type 316 stainless-steel mixing vessels with a combination of sweep, scrape, and homogenization mixing capabilities, to our HEPA-filtered and access-controlled packaging areas.” The firm had an additional packout area built to allow finished goods to be assembled into multipacks or gift sets or any number of other retail-friendly pack-out configurations, he adds. 

Because the facility is FDA registered, Dann says that lot traceability had to be built into the facility’s production flow. “We’ve implemented a custom in-house-developed software package that allows for traceability from purchase order to end-consumer and all steps and stages in between to manage that flow,” he says. Traceability relies upon laser- or ink-jet-encoded serialization of product and the recent addition of RFID label tags.

Formulated Solutions uses a wide range of packaging styles for its various product categories, which range from skin and hair care products to dental care to tanning and self-tanning products. It currently packages products in bag-on-valve packages, standard steel and aluminum aerosol cans, collapsible plastic and aluminum tubes, and an assortment of bottles, jars, and specialty packed configurations.

With such a mix of products, Dann says his firm sought packaging equipment “that can be as flexible as our development team or marketing partner’s imaginations.” Tubes are filled on a Norden Hot-Air design-a-seal equipment from Sirius Machinery (Branchburg, NJ) and small-volume runs are handled on a unit from Prodo-Pac [Garfield, NJ]. The firm also uses a modified Bag-on-Valve LPAV/HPTV system from Peterson & Associates (Le Grange, IL), equipped with an in-line 100% pressure check tester and stem purge vacuum system. The main liquid lines were designed by Kaps-All (Riverhead, NY), and can be fit with piston, positive-displacement, or pressure gravity fillers to meet the need of the job at hand, says Dann. “In selecting equipment vendor partners, we look for systems that will provide the widest range of capabilities, yet provide cost-effective efficiencies and ease of use,” he furthers.

Close working relationships with machinery and packaging vendors help Formulated Solutions remain competitive, says Dann. “It goes without saying that without the advice and support afforded us by our suppliers, Formulated would not be as strong a company today,” says Dann. “Clark Adair with Riada Equipment, who is always there with sage advice or an alternative equipment solution; our support staff at Universal Label; Danielle Rinder and Ross Shannon at Sirius Machinery; Bill Ayers from C&R Process Inc.; and Joel and Jamie from Foster Machine have all played a very helpful role in our continuing success.  We’ve been fortunate to find great partners.”

Quick changeover and limited downtime are the goals of the company’s production, maintenance, and quality assurance teams. The firm also uses constraint-based work centers in order to accommodate planned schedules, orders demand, material availability, labor, and overall production efficiency objectives, he says.

“With an increasing amount of similar and me-too product offerings on the market, says Dann, “making the product stand out on the shelf has become an even more important and challenging task for today’s marketers. We look for packages that will not only catch a consumer’s eye, but also give them an enhancement or innovation in how the product performs or is used.”

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