By Dr. Ralph Blum, Mediseal GmbH, Schloss Holte
In numerous pharma companies, the following problem is being posed: shrinking lot sizes are constantly worsening the ratio of packaging system set-up time to running time. The contribution below brings into question the current customary 1:1 linking of a blister machine, inline printing system and cartoning machine and looks at the feasibility and possibilities of partially decoupled packaging processes.
Falling lot sizes are increasingly presenting the pharma packaging industry with a challenge. The ratio of set-up time to running time is constantly worsening, with the result that in may cases line efficiency is below 30%. The conversion, cleaning and clearing process is being consistently tightened up, but the improvements which are achieved are not in themselves sufficient to solve the structural problem of shrinking lot sizes. With today's standard 1:1 combination in the pharma industry of a blister machine, an inline printing system and a cartoning machine, every partial conversion — not to mention every fault — shuts down the entire packaging line.