Order What You Need
Two-sided eight-color blister push-though foil is now available from Control Group. The company introduced QuickFoil to meet customer demand for short to medium runs of printed foil with a quick turnaround.
Pharma companies that never explored two-sided printing or have complex graphics may find new design options with QuickFoil. “We are seeing customers with rudimentary inline printing in one color. Now they have options for high-quality printing, more colors, and more product identification,” says co-founder of Control Group, Bill Cheringal. “Our customers have increasingly become more creative with their graphics, so this has become a more common request. The recoated foil performs well for customers, presenting no quality or performance issues,” he adds.
While Control Group has been printing foil on both sides for some time, if customers needed their graphics to show through a blister, the firm often had to print over the original heat-seal coating, which deadened it, and then had to reapply the coating. The costs of two heat-seal coatings was too much to bear for customers managing shorter and shorter runs for multiple SKUs, reports Jeff Levine, co-founder of Control Group. “We set out to address our customers’ needs for smaller runs, quick turnaround, and most importantly, competitive cost.”
The company decided to install a new gravure coating line to support increasing demand for coated foil. Having just completed a 60,000 sq ft expansion including validation of the new coater, Control Group can now convert uncoated foil and print and coat it, or it can take a customer-sourced foil and print and coat (or recoat) as needed.
“There’s a drive in pharma to reduce inventory, so this option allows our customers to avoid commissioning large print runs,” adds John Chris, director of business development. “Traditional gravure foil printing requires much larger runs and lead times, but our option allows you to order what you need when you need it.”
Levine adds that its servo-driven presses use the metric scale, allowing its foil products to accurately match up to the metric-based tooling frequently used by European blister packaging machinery. “We feel this is unique among narrow web printers” adds Cheringal. In addition, given the company’s forty year history as a cGMP pharmaceutical/healthcare printer, Control Group maintains Drug Master Files with FDA and Canadian authorities.
Two-sided blister foil printing can be used to drive patient compliance, says Chris. “It could be used as an alternative to wallet cards.”
Transition time and cost has often been an issue in delaying package improvements, but “our quick turnaround time could be a determining factor,” says Levine. “We can now print and coat in days. For companies with 20, 30, 40 SKUs, they need short runs and they cannot wait for twelve weeks’ turnaround time.”
Levine adds that customers that utilize Quick Foil have included those producing “impulse and OTC products with two to four tablets per card, which must have decorative graphics to show through the PVC blister. These products do not have secondary packaging, so they have to market themselves.”