Romaco Noack Blister Technology Used By Losan Pharma
Published: October 2nd, 2009
Losan Pharma (Neuenburg am Rhein, Germany) manufactures and packages oral-dosage forms. The firm offers complete services for pharmaceutical companies as well as develops its own products, which are then licensed worldwide to pharmaceutical companies. In total, Losan employs about 400 people, including 36 in R&D and 188 in production. Losan Pharma runs a machine park with 18 production lines and 14 packaging machines.
Losan aims to make oral-dosage forms easier to take and be as pleasant as possible for the patient. Losan concentrates on the development of products with improved bioavailability and improved availability of active ingredients (API performance). Platform technologies for classes of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used to improve the absorption and to control the release of active pharmaceutical substances. The analgesic Ibuprofen, for example, has a slow rate of dissolution, which results in the active ingredient being absorbed very slowly. The maximum blood concentration, the Cmax value, is only achieved after about 80 minutes in standard products. Losan Pharma has been able to significantly increase the solubility of Ibuprofen, used as Ibuprofen acid, in a patented procedure. With the new formulation, "Ibuprofen rapid," the analgesic effect occurs after less than 25 minutes.
Losan Pharma also provides soluble forms such as effervescent granules and effervescent tablets and stick packs filled with powder, granules or pellets, or orodispersible tablets.
Efficiency in manufacturing and packaging is paramount. "Investment in technology platforms has the great advantage that we can use the new procedure at any time to optimize active substances of the same class," says Dr. Georg Kokkinis, managing director of Losan Pharma, explaining the company’s strategy. "Our innovative strength is because of our ability to offer not only our development work but also the subsequent manufacture of the product at very competitive prices, thereby positioning ourselves successfully in the market."
Losan utilizes blister technology from Romaco Noack for packaging tablets and capsules in blister packs. Three modern Noack blister packaging lines are used in this contract manufacturer’s flexible production sector. In March 2009, a new Noack N 623 with an integrated Promatic PC 4200 cartoner by Romaco was put into operation.
With a maximum output of 70 cycles and 420 blisters per minute, the Noack N 623 blister packaging machine with its plate sealing is particularly suitable for the manufacture of small- and medium-sized batches. The machine thus accurately meets the requirements of Losan Pharma with an average output volume of 10,000 packages per batch. This size demands a flexible machine concept that can efficiently carry out frequent product changes. Shorter set-up times mean longer machine availability, as shown by its OEE value.
The Noack N 623 is designed to operate with few size parts per set. Tool-free part replacement accelerates the regular replacement of products and packaging.
In evaluating plant effectiveness, good cleaning ability also plays an important role. In designing the Romaco plant, particular attention was paid to the elimination of hidden corners, angles, and gaps. This significantly facilitates and accelerates the manual cleaning process. Furthermore, smooth surfaces and effective facings provide hygienic production conditions.
At Losan Pharma, two employees are responsible for the blister packaging line on each shift. The Noack N 623 and the Promatic PC 4200 are each operated using a touch-screen panel, which was developed according to ergonomic standards. In the programming of the software, particular attention was paid to providing a clear view of the menu navigation. The high degree of automation of this packaging technology is the most important condition that allows Losan Pharma to remain internationally competitive.
Fully automated processes in the packaging procedure are possible thanks to the single-panel concept of the Noack N 623. For example, the QuickAdjust servo-controlled station control system monitors the blistering at the sealing, perforation, and stamping stations. A laser light barrier in front of each work station determines the exact position of the film and automatically moves the complete station to the required position. Thermally ductile blister film has an extremely sensitive reaction to temperature fluctuations. Irregularities that occur during the production sequence caused by the material are compensated immediately using the innovative adjustment system.
At the end of the primary packaging process, the blisters are passed to the continuously working Promatic PC 4200 cartoner from Romaco, which has a maximum output of 400 folding boxes per minute. Here, the blisters are given their secondary packaging. The double positive carton opening system of the cartoner means that the packaging is handled particularly gently. The folding boxes are grasped by servo-operated sucker arms and actively opened. Material wear caused by grinding forces is thus prevented. Balcony structure eases access to all machine parts and guarantees safe and manageable production processes.
The Romaco Noack blister packaging lines at Losan Pharma run in three-shift operation. Continuous use requires reliable and robust machine design. "The Noack N 623 is impressive with its proven technology and is extremely flexible in its handling, which means our setup times can be significantly reduced," says Dr. Joachim Arlt, manager of the plant and logistics area, in justifying Losan Pharma’s purchasing decision. "Romaco offered exactly the right performance for our requirements."
Contract manufacturers such as Losan Pharma, who are measured by their adherence to delivery dates, must be able to rely on their equipment. As a result, the quality of service provided by the supplier is crucial. New size parts and replacement parts should be delivered within the shortest time. "We regard Romaco as a skilled partner, who can work out individual solution strategies together with us," says Arlt.
Losan Pharma has employed Romaco packaging machinery in its machine park since 2002. In addition to the blister packaging lines, three heat-sealing machines by Romaco Siebler are used. The commissioning of a fourth Siebler strip packaging machine is planned for 2009.
Subdivided into the areas of processing and packaging, The Romaco Group develops technical solutions for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries. The Romaco Group, with headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany, is part of the listed U.S. group Robbins & Myers Inc. (Dayton, Ohio). Romaco is represented in four European locations in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy through a total of seven brands: Bosspak, Macofar, Noack, Promatic, Siebler, and Unipac represent the Packaging business area; the processing sector is covered by the FrymaKoruma brand.