Dhuanne Dodrill, president of Rollprint Packaging Products (Addison, IL), says that the decision to move from using premade bags and pouches to running a FFS machine “really comes down to economics.” Dodrill says that the point where it makes sense to make the change will be dependent upon a number of factors:
• The differential between the cost of a premade pouch versus the cost of a FFS package. In general, the cost of materials used for FFS applications are less than those for used to make premade pouches. Premade pouches also have to bear the cost of the additional converting required to produce them.
• The size of the package and therefore the material requirements generally decrease when moving form premade pouches to FFS.
• Improved efficiencies that can be achieved in loading and sealing when moving to FFS provide for additional cost savings.
• This needs to be weighed against the capital costs of the FFS equipment. If the medical device manufacturer already has this equipment, the volume needed to justify a change is obviously much lower than if new equipment must be acquired.
Because of the differences in the materials used to make premade pouches and FFS packages as well as the finished package itself, the transition requires a full material and package qualification, says Dodrill. “The expense of doing this work should also be factored when considering the economics.” Considerations include:
• How should the FFS package be sized.
• What materials should be evaluated.
• What equipment manufacturers should be considered.
• Quality measurements of the post-formed package including corner-wall thickness, post-forming puncture resistance, thickness distribution, and post-forming barrier.