New machinery offers support for greater efficiency and sustainability, among other trends.
Manufacturers of form-fill-seal (FFS) machines, eager to meet the market needs of their pharmaceutical and medical device customers, are developing new machines that support initiatives such as sustainability, flexibility, and turnkey solutions. More than buzzwords, these factors can help companies meet their goals to cut costs and increase efficiency, two current priorities across all businesses.
Packaging professionals are managing shorter production runs and rapid product changeovers, while seeking to maximize up-time, observes Michael Dann, director for Rose Forgrove, a HayssenSandiacre brand. Medical device packagers, however, must also maintain “very clean environments.” To address such needs, the company, which markets hygienic flow wrappers, will be showcasing its new Merlin Blu machine at the upcoming Pack Expo International.
In 1964, Formost Packaging Machines took the radical step of packaging bread in polyethylene bags instead of traditional waxed paper despite resistance from the food industry. This year, as Formost celebrates its 50th anniversary, its role in the medical packaging industry is fairly unique as well. The company’s flow-wrap form-fill-seal (FFS) equipment offers an alternative to traditional thermorming FFS machines.
To support today’s medical device packaging requirements, equipment manufacturers are working diligently to customize packaging lines, especially those including form-fill-seal machinery. “Most device manufacturers have their own requirements, which we must blend into the design of any line,” says Bob Koch, director of sales for Multivac Inc. “This is the norm, not the exception.” Multivac provides thermoform-fill-seal and vacuum-sealing machinery as well as ancillary equipment for feeding, printing, and inspection.
For printing static and variable data inline, Bell-Mark (www.bell-mark.com) at WestPack introduced the InteliJet HD piezo ink-jet printer. Compactly designed to fit on horizontal form-fill-seal machines, blister packaging machines, and flow wrappers, the unit features the highest resolution ink-jet print head technology available, says Doug Buch, director, marketing/IT.
By Marie Redding
LHB Industries, also known as Lighthouse for the Blind, is a non-profit organization that provides employment, education, and support services for the legally blind—and the company is just beginning to find its place in the medical packaging industry. Headquartered in St. Louis, LHB offers turnkey medical packaging services, including auto pouching, tray sealing, vacuum sealing, and a variety of kit assemblies.
In Booth 5201 at WestPack, Multivac will present attendees a variety of packaging options. Among key highlights will be Multivac’s first-ever thermoformer built on a full Allen Bradley/Rockwell control platform and drive system. WestPack will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA, February 8-10.
When investing in form-fill-seal machines, medical device and drug packaging professionals seek machinery that can help streamline their packaging operations. Given the size of the investment, these packagers need systems that can carry sizeable workloads reliably. High product volume may not be the only driver; users may need to run packaging, printing, inspection, and other functions all on one line, with minimal manual labor.
Ampac Flexibles (Cincinnati), the flexible packaging division of Ampac Packaging LLC, has launched its Flexi-Free High-Speed (HS) Laminate Films for high-speed form-fill-seal applications. Sealing at temperatures 40 degrees lower than standard laminate materials, the films enable FFS operators to shorten dwell times and increase machine speed. The films also offer a low-temperature option for products that are heat sensitive.