In a distribution agreement, CCL Label Inc. and ACG Pharmapack look to tighten the supply chain.
The recently announced distribution partnership between CCL Industries and ACG Pharmapack (www.acg-pharmapack.com
) will help manufacturers streamline supply channels, establish uniformity of materials across regions, and reduce costs. The agreement between the two global suppliers of packaging components will also support development of new functional structures for pharmaceutical and medical device packaging, the companies say.
As the exclusive distributor for the U.S. and Canada of ACG Pharmapack film and foil products, CCL Label Inc. (www.ccllabel.com
) has built a 25,000-sq-ft addition dedicated to the film and foil business at its pharmaceutical label converting facility in Raleigh, NC.
Equipped with wide-web slitting and converting technology, Raleigh will receive master rolls from ACG Pharmapack for custom slitting and printing to customer specifications. Materials will be fed to CCL Label’s eleven pharma converting plants in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, says Rob Ryckman, vice president of sales worldwide, CCL Label Healthcare Solutions Group. “The space was built with expansion in mind. The equipment is installed and validated, and we are open for business,” Ryckman says.
The CCL/ACG pact supports a CCL Label strategy of expanding its portfolio of pharma packaging components. Pune, India-based ACG Pharmapack benefits as a supplier into CCL Label’s global network with a U.S. base for distribution of its film and foil products.
“Having ACG Pharmapack’s products available to our customer base furthers our strategy of being a full-service provider of packaging components. It has been our strategy to not only provide solutions but also meet customers’ internal goals,” Ryckman says. “Customers want to work with a reduced supply base, shorten their supply chains, and keep costs in control.”
ACG Pharmapack manufactures a full range of films and foils—from PVC to complex laminates—at its ISO certified and cGMP compliant factory in Shirwal, India. “This partnership will benefit our common customers in the pharmaceutical industry by aligning two world leaders and their product portfolios. For our pharmaceutical customers in the US specifically, this will result in easier access to printed and unprinted films and foils for blister packaging using ACG’s products with the great customer service they have come to expect from CCL Label,” says Michael Franklin, CEO, ACG International.
The collaboration will be advantageous to global pharmaceutical firms looking to rationalize their supply chains, as both companies offer a broader range of product into more regions, Franklin says.
“CCL Label’s global presence across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia is very appealing as customers want standard, uniform supply across markets. Pharma companies are trying to leverage their buy with fewer strategic suppliers for scale, better pricing, and better rebates,” Franklin says.
“If you look at a blister in a box, CCL has supplied everything except the printed film. Now they can offer one-stop shopping,” he adds.
CCL Label’s main distribution point at Raleigh will supply its regional label converting facilities with films printed and cut-to-order for local customers. “We typically hear from our customer base that lead times can be too long, and converting or printing costs on medium to shorter runs can be too high. By having the material in-house, with typical turn around times in our printing network of 14 days, we can shorten the lead times and make medium and short runs more cost effective for printed structures,” Ryckman says.
The agreement is “a very transparent relationship. When we are interacting with a customer, we make it clear we are working together,” says Remco van Weeren, director, business development, films and foils, ACG North America LLC (www.acg-northamerica.com
). “Literature and spec sheets will be co-branded and we are doing trade shows together. The feedback from CCL Label customers has been very positive. We are seeing an interest almost on a daily basis to pursue projects. The relationship with CCL has given us access to customers that are looking for solutions.”
Printing on PVC, PVdC, and other film/foil structures is nothing new to CCL Label. Stretch and shrink sleeves are a major product line and the company has experience printing on thicker gauge materials, and in tray vacuum forming.
“We have huge knowledge in the shrink and stretch sleeve printing business which we have been doing for many years. I think these will become more and more in use because they are cost-effective solutions for delivering product to market, whether medical devices, or Rx or OTC pharmaceuticals,” Ryckman says.
“Some of the technologies used to handle the unsupported films apply to printing other thin gauge films or thicker films outside of traditional label products,” Ryckman says.
Besides offering a full line of films for blisters, the ACG portfolio includes standard products that can be used for medical packaging, including formable bottom webs. In addition, ACG is developing solutions for pouches, and trays such as in APET and PETG, van Weeren says.
The companies foresee a much more complete product line for drug and medical device packaging. “Medical device packaging is one of our targets. There are a lot of pouching applications that are a really good fit for the capabilities we have or can develop. Flexible packaging for
single-use syringes is one example. On the thermoform side, many of these structures are increasingly printed. We can use the ACG product line to make more functional structures for different applications,” Ryckman says.
In addition, OTCs in liquids, powders, and gels are moving to pouches as a cost effective method for delivering very high quantities of material, he adds.
“We are also relatively well known in the industry for making very functional and challenging multi-layer type solutions, in which films and foils are critical,” he adds. As an example, CCL Label produces multi-layer film, foil, and label structures for children-resistant, senior-friendly blister lidding.
“We have had good success in growing the CR label business with those special structures. Our relationship with ACG gives us access to more materials that will allow us to be more creative in those constructions,” he says.
The partnership even yields potentially synergies with ACG Pharmapack’s New Jersey-based blister and cartoning machine business. “While we have no plans at this time we also feel this is strategic. As their equipment line grows in different regions of the world, they will be growing that base with many of our customers,” Ryckman says.