Uncovering the Layers of Peelable Packaging Technologies

Medical device manufacturers selecting peelable packaging for their devices often choose between heat seal coatings and peelable films. Increasingly, their choice will be peelable films, says Brian Ingraham, Product Development Manager, Amcor Flexibles Healthcare.

Camilla Andersson

As MDMs move towards peelable technologies because of the benefits when it comes to sustainability, costs and sterilization, packaging providers struggle to keep up by providing the same performance parameters as MDMs are used to.

Ingraham will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of heat seal coatings versus peelable film at a presentation at WestPack, which takes place February 11-13, 2014 in Anaheim, CA. During the Learning Labs Session “Peelable Technology for Medical Device Packaging”, Ingraham will outline how the different technologies impact factors such as sterilization, packaging costs and porosity values. The presentation will also focus on sustainability issues, including carbon footprint, nonrenewable energy and water consumption.

“There is a big push within the industry to focus on products that are more sustainable,” says Ingraham.“ The elimination of processes can actually play a pretty sizable role in reducing carbon footprint and reducing emission. If those kinds of drivers are involved, moving away from coating and going towards more film-based products can be a benefit…

“As our MDMs fine-tune their processes, and they look to us as the sterile packaging manufacturer to help drive cost out of their processes, I think we are going to see a push to eliminate coatings. Not only does that eliminate processes on the manufacturing materials, but there is also potential to improve sterilization cycle times which can be a significant cost saving as well for the MDM.”

Eliminating coating is typically easy for the MDMs, because their process doesn’t change much (except for when using form-fill seals). But a packaging supplier may need to tackle many obstacles, says Ingraham. Heat seal coatings often fail to offer the same performance parameters as peelable films. Some equipment is better suited for coatings than peelable films. But as packaging companies aim to meet the demand for peelable films, they will adapt by overcoming some of these obstacles.

“There will always be challenges when you are looking at changing the way you do things,” Ingraham says. “In my experience there really is no true drop-in, especially when you are talking technology. The best we can do is minimizing those changes to make it easier to move to the new technologies.”

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By  Camilla Andersson, Freelance Journalist

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