People overlook the amount of thought that goes into effective pharmaceutical packaging, says Dividella product manager Eduard Lorenz. Many questions have to be answered before a pack can go into production.
"Do you want to guide the patient through a process that he needs to take up?" asks Lorenz. "Does it need to be easy to open for a handicapped person? Will it become a hospital pack, which has different requirements again? How about the marketing of the product: how much billboard space do you need? What about child-resistance; do you need some specific features there?"
The package that eventually results can appear relatively simple in design, but it's the product of a meticulously designed production line. If it was for a parenteral product, there's a good chance it was assembled on a Dividella packaging machine. The Swiss company, which specialises in top and side-loading cartoning systems for the pharmaceutical sector, has been supplying modular packaging systems for the past 30 years.
"Dividella's main focus is to use mono-material, optimised pack sizes - especially for cold chain products - and also a high grade of product protection," explains Lorenz. "By doing all of this, we can achieve a low cost of ownership for clients."
The firm's NeoTOP group of TOPLoader machines enables clients to scale up production as they see fit, whether they're interested in only producing small batches to high-speed manufacturing of up to 24 million packs a year.
The NeoTOP x, for example, is ideally suited to producing proprietary cartons that include integrated partitions from flat banks, at a rate of up to 45 packs a minute. This machine, Dividella claims, is an ideal proposition for a manufacturer seeking to produce small-to-medium batches.
The NeoTOP 1604, meanwhile, is capable of producing packages ampules, vials, syringes, and blisters at the rate of 160 a minute. For a low volume production you can start with a semi-automated machine that includes a manual loading module for the products to be loaded into the carton.
After the manual loading a product presence inspection proofs the content of the manual loaded goods. If demand for that product rises to a degree that was not predicted beforehand, Dividella can add an automated feeder.
These machines are not limited to their pre-sale specifications. Dividella is happy to assist in adding on new features at a moment's notice. A good example lies in facilitating the production of packages for prefilled syringes.
"If demand rises, and customers are asking for an injection pen feeder to be added, the manufacturer is able to add a module that automatically feeds those into the package at a later stage," says Lorenz.
"Dividella responds to those requests quite often, and so its after-sales department will add such features to the machines at a later stage."
A whole host of new features can be added on to Dividella's packaging machines. This not only grants packaging manufacturers a new degree of flexibility in the production process but also saves on capital costs, as original Dividella production lines can evolve over time, instead of eventually needing to be replaced outright. "This will save the asset," says Lorenz. "This is a great differentiator."