Universal Tray Enhances Product Protection, Reduces Package Weight

Perfecseal, a Bemis Company, has been awarded the Gold Medal, Roll Fed–Medical Category, in the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) 2010 Thermoforming Competition. Collaborating with Ascent, a division of Stryker, the two companies redesigned the packaging for Ascent’s Gyrus ACMI device. Several criteria were identified for the redesign, including devising a universal design for nine device models, reducing overall size and materials used, restricting device movement within the package while eliminating a separate retaining component used by the OEM, and more, while still supporting aseptic presentation.

Ascent: A Stryker Sustainability Solution is a leading provider of FDA-approved reprocessing and remanufacturing of medical devices, also offering comprehensive recycling and redistribution initiatives. Its packaging development process includes a detailed assessment of OEM design to identify opportunities and enhance the packaging for aseptic transfer, performance, sustainability, aesthetics, and branding to differentiate from the OEM design.

In comparison with the new design, the previous Ascent packaging materials for the Gyrus consisted of a primary sterile barrier peel pouch with insert, a secondary shelf carton, and additional cushioning materials in the tertiary packaging. The new PETG tray sterilizes and ships in a reduced shipper size and without the need for any additional materials.

Perfecseal’s Mankato, MN, team engineered a snap-fit design featuring strategically located aggressive undercuts to aid in stripping the tray from the mold. These undercuts also aided in product removal from the tray, the companies report. The design evolved to include gussets that reduce flexing in critical areas, which prevents the product from dislodging from the tray. Reorienting the devices in a criss-cross pattern in the tray reduced the hinge points in the design, enhancing the impact resistance of the tray and succeeding in reducing overall package size. Essentially, this tray acts as a shock-dampening system enabling the product to withstand the rigors of distribution while maintaining a sterile barrier.

“Perfecseal understands the importance of sustainability and the value of collaboration to ensure our stringent performance needs are met. They did a remarkable job producing a finished part that exceeds expectations,” says Mike Proleika, senior R&D packaging engineer at Ascent.

The new tray reduced primary packaging material weight by 20% versus the OEM design, eliminated tertiary cushioning materials, reduced packaging labor by about 500 hours per year, reduced shipping costs to the end-user, and provided a 100% recyclable tray suitable for nine different device models.

“Our new Gyrus packaging demonstrates Ascent’s overall commitment to protect the quality of patient care while helping to preserve the environment,” says Lars Thording, senior director of marketing and public affairs for Ascent. “To some, redesigning our packaging may seem like a minor change, but when it comes to reducing the environmental footprint of healthcare delivery, making small changes can make a big difference.”

The tray development team consisted of Tad Kinyon (project engineer), Dave Wirig, and Lloyd Greve, from Perfecseal, Mankato, MN; with Michael Proleika and Chris Sarantos from Ascent (Lakeland, FL).

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