INTERPHEX presents innovations in pharmaceutical packaging

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Returning in person to the Javits Center, exhibitors present containers, components, equipment and services to fill, ship, protect and optimize the packaging process.

With the pandemic remaining a priority, parenteral products are at the center of INTERPHEX 2021 (October 19-21, Javits Center, New York, NY). Demonstrations throughout the exhibit showcase filling / finishing, labeling and inspection systems for vials, cartridges and syringes. There is also great interest in the fight against counterfeiting and serialization.

Filling equipment

To take it to the next level compared to manual filling, TurboFil Packaging Machines introduced a benchtop syringe filling machine. Offering full control of filling parameters in single or dual operation, the TipFil unit manages up to 12 syringes / min. It can accommodate a variety of syringe sizes and fill liquid or viscous products through the tip. Feeding scenarios include hoppers and tanks, as well as an optional accessory for filling via bottles and flasks. Suction control helps improve filling accuracy, and all wetted parts are made from single-use, fully disposable plastic. Filling occurs when a servomotor driven plunger mechanism pushes the needle back through the plunger. The distance the plunger is withdrawn dictates the amount filled. This design eliminates the need to clean a doser and ensures accurate and repeatable filling (1).

TurboFil will also showcase its SimpliFil syringe filling and assembly system. Suitable for small to medium batches, the unit accurately fills syringes via a ceramic plunger, peristaltic pump or direct draw from a reservoir bag. The indexing of the balance allows intuitive operation and simple recipe-based change. For increased accuracy, TurboFil’s TipFil technology allows syringes to be filled through the tip, which is a step-saving innovation eliminating the need to insert plungers after filling. Rated at 36 syringes / min, the SimpliFil system smoothly handles syringes with tips fitted with pressure caps and luer caps, as well as safety caps for oral syringes. An optional labeller can wrap syringes with pre-printed labels or print and apply labels for drugs requiring variable labeling. An automatic syringe loading system is also available, as is filling and labeling verification (1).

Another new filler designed for small batches, the Versynta FFP from Syntegon, has an integrated isolator. Suitable for powerful pharmaceuticals, the modular and configurable system with 100% in-process control accurately fills liquid pharmaceuticals into vials, syringes and cartridges at flow rates up to 60 containers / min, and it can be converted into different filling systems, including single use. The Pharma Handling Unit, a four-axis robot developed by Syntegon, safely and gently transports containers without glass-to-glass contact (2).

For combination products, Comecer and ATS have teamed up to present a Comecer aseptic isolator equipped with SuperTrak Gen3 Pharma linear motion technology to handle ready-to-mix filling and assembly of combination products. The flexible system can also handle dry powders and pills as well as a range of rigid and flexible packaging formats. Linear motion offers faster speeds than pendulum or other transport systems and reduces particle generation due to minimal moving parts (3).

Labeling, printing and control exposed to INTERPHEX

Vial labeling is evolving to accommodate high-speed glass vial lines producing COVID-19 vaccines and other products. The WL-1-RT wrap-around labeller from MG America, the US subsidiary of Italian MG2, accurately applies labels at speeds of 600 vials / min. A journal system allows positive control of the vials. The machine can be integrated with thermal transfer and laser coding and is preconfigured for on-board vision inspection with optical character recognition and verification. Non-compliant labels are rejected before application (4).

The Antares Vision Group AV Print Inspector, a high resolution vision system, easily integrates into new or existing labeling, printing or packaging machines and provides 100% inspection for print-on-demand applications. According to the company, the system provides entire label inspection at speeds up to 80m / min and supports all major vision system tools for quality control over a wide range of layout features.

To automate parenteral inspection of products, the Stevanato Group has developed a vision robot unit ready for artificial intelligence. The stand-alone module is able to automatically inspect cosmetic and particulate properties without human intervention. The human-like robotic inspection system combines flexibility and efficiency of automation to meet the emerging needs of smart factories and improve the reliability of the control process of biotechnology products such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines and freeze-dried drugs (5 ).

For serialization purposes, WIPOTEC-OCS plans to demonstrate two traceability modules compatible with checkweighers: the TQS-SP serialization unit and the TQS-CP aggregation unit. The TQS-SP serialization unit applies tracking and traceability data to individual cartons and can handle up to 600 cartons / min. A specially designed double-guided top belt system ensures stable positioning. The TQS-CP aggregation unit provides semi-automatic aggregation of manually repackaged folding cartons to provide a reliable parent-child relationship. ConfigureFast software controls all components, including the camera, printer, and transport system, and speeds setup and change (6).

The references

1. TurboFil, “AT INTERPHEX NYC, TurboFil to Showcase Module for Simplified, Automated Syringe Filling and Assembly,” Press Release, October 8, 2021.

2. Syntegon, “INTERPHEX 2021: Syntegon to Showcase New Lab and Small Batch Solutions for Solid and Liquid Pharmaceuticals,” Press Release, September 23, 2021.

3. Comecer, an ATS company, “Comecer at INTERPHEX 2021 for pharmaceutical automation”, comecer.com.

4. MG America, “At INTERPHEX NYC, MG America at Premier Precision Wraparound Labeler for Vials, and Robust 10-Lane Capsule Checkweigher,” Press Release, October 8, 2021.

5. Stevanato Group, “AT INTERPHEX NYC, Stevanato Group to Demo Robotic Inspection Unit, Present Modular Assembly Solutions and Recent After-sales Expansion,” Press Release, September 9, 2021.


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