In the pharmaceutical industry, today’s packaging needs are driven as much by the demands for flexibility and consumer choice, as they are by the traditional requirements for safety, hygiene and traceability.
High levels of competition have led to innovation in drug delivery devices and a move to satisfy the demand for individual portion packs and single-dose packaging. The effect of this has been a multiplication of the product offering and consequent reduction in batch sizes. To accommodate the additional packaging styles, production lines are now required to be highly flexible.
It is to meet these requirements, that RNA has developed the Quick Release Bowl Feeder. This feed system allows rapid and tool-less changeover of bowl top in a matter of seconds, through a specially designed pneumatic clamping mechanism. In cases where there are different batches or sizes of component a traditional bowl feeder has sometimes proved to impractical, particularly in a clean room environment.
Ease of cleaning and quick change over of components which almost eliminate downtime are key features of the system. Cross contamination of batches is greatly reduced and new products can be added to the production line at a later date. Another benefit is the ability to switch to a spare bowl during the autoclaving process; again with very little impact on production downtime.
The increasing use of Vision Guided Robotic Systems is another potential solution to the need of flexibility. These are increasingly used in small-batch pharmaceutical packaging lines. Generally the need is for a “tried and tested” modularised or near standardised system. RNA can meet this challenge through their association with SVIA, leaders in providing solutions in this field of technology.
Once again, ease of changeover between products and components is a feature of the system. The operating and control system has been developed over many years and its simplicity is such that operator training is relatively minimal, when compared to other systems on the market. In a world where the life time of products is diminishing, the SVIA range has the capability to handle significant changes or new products with minimal set up changes, thereby protecting the value of the investment going forward.
Within the pharmaceutical production and packaging industry, many operations between process steps are still performed manually. Increased use of automation is a key opportunity to bear down on costs and RNA has been a ready participant in providing both bespoke and standardised solutions to the industry. Our back catalogue of applications demonstrates expertise in handling many pharmaceutical products, including syringes, blister packs, medical devices and tubes and bottles. The SpaceFeeder, mentioned above is another option which can be used to handle the pouch and strip pack formats in the pharmaceutical industry.