Space Invaders

Packaging is getting more compact, even as engineers continue to battle moisture and/or oxygen.
Sustainability initiatives have pharmaceutical and medical device packagers working to optimize their packaging. Many package designs are getting a second look as engineers seek ways to eliminate extraneous volume and material.
“Space is a trend,” says Mark Florez, marketing and communications manager for Süd-Chemie Performance Packaging (Belen, NM). “During our recent customer workshops, engineers told us that they have to integrate adsorbents into constrained spaces. This is an increasing reality as packaging gets smaller to reduce materials and to optimize space in cartons or pallets."
Desi-Sheet can be used to package diagnostic devices or blisters.
Süd-Chemie has been working to integrate the right amount of materials with adsorptive properties into smaller spaces. Its rigid canister solutions, which range in sizes from 0.5 gram to 3 grams, are already pretty compact, according to Florez. “The uniformity of the canister already suits optimization projects, when compared with the elongated nature of the packet,” says Florez. “And they can be optimized if needed.”
The company also offers its flat Desi-Sheet desiccants in thin profiles, making them suitable for placement in flat pouches or sachets. “Desi-Sheet is made from bentonite, which we consider to be environmentally preferable when compared to calcium oxide.”
For a more custom approach, Süd-Chemie has desiccant-impregnated polymer. “To optimize space in medical devices, you may need to create special shapes. We can change what used to be a traditional plastic component and transform it into a functional component,” says Florez.
Producing active-component polymer compounding, Süd-Chemie can create adsorbent parts, caps, and diagnostic kit housings. “We can work with almost any polymer as well as different molding processes,” he says. Süd-Chemie is also looking at how masterbatches from its new parent company Clariant can be used. “We are looking at synergies and what technologies can be coupled,” he added.
Süd-Chemie continues to look at a number of vehicles for specialized sorbents. “In these customer workshops, we consider the container-closure system. We consider ingress through the seal and container as well as the headspace at the time of packaging. We evaluate how adsorbent caps and stoppers and other adsorbent polymers can help. We are also looking at using desiccant canisters double as anti-theft devices for further functionality and optimization. When it comes to custom projects, we can go as far as needed,” says Florez. 
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