The Swiss company specializes in the development and production of extended-release or modified-release medicines. In order to be able to package them safely and efficiently at the Schopfheim site in southern Germany, Develco uses a BEC 200 blister line from Uhlmann Pac-Systeme, which has two special and surprising features. In addition to longitudinally divided containment zones on the blister machine, a special development has now been put into operation. It enables Develco to serialize and carton bottles in the cartoning module of the blister line as well. "Together with Uhlmann, we have created a line like a Swiss army knife - maximum functionality in the smallest possible space," explains Dr. Thomas Koy, Managing Director Production at Develco Pharma.

Paperless, fully integrated pharmaceutical packaging line

The unusual packaging line is based on a BEC 200 blister line. With an output of max. 200 blisters and 150 boxes per minute, the combination of a blister machine and cartoner module offers an economical entry into pharmaceutical packaging. Together with the Uhlmann serialization platform, a Stretch bander, the semi-automatic Uhlmann aggregation platform and a SCADA control system, it is integrated into a line that is controlled via an integrated operating system. The paperless process including serialization and aggregation is completely captured in one system.

Longitudinal separation for high degrees of cleanliness and hygiene

The containment concept that Uhlmann implemented especially for Develco is unusual. Since very potent drugs such as opiates are packaged on the line, the blister machine is sealed, equipped with an air management unit and installed in a separate clean room with air extraction. This room is divided longitudinally into two zones. The primary zone is home to the blister machine, while in a secondary zone, a protected area has been set up for the forming and lidding film feed. There is a further secondary zone where cartoning and further end-of-line packaging takes place. Thanks to this design, Develco achieves maximum cleanliness and hygiene as well as optimum protection for the operating personnel. At the same time, the cleanroom area can be kept small.

Special solution packs bottles in boxes

Even more unusual is the second solution that Uhlmann designed especially for Develco. In addition to the BEC 200, a line packs solid products into bottles. To save space and achieve high efficiency, these bottles need to be packed and serialized with the blister line’s cartoner. Uhlmann's team of experts adapted the BEC 200 accordingly, and as a result the cartoner processes both blisters or bottles. "Uhlmann has been able to implement all our requirements in high quality. This is complemented by the excellent service and support during commissioning and training, which enables us to package our demanding products both safely and efficiently," says Dr. Thomas Koy.

For maximum protection of operating personnel and a high standard of hygiene, Develco had Uhlmann develop a special containment concept in which the primary zone along the line is divided into two areas with different protection zones.

As a leading system supplier for pharmaceutical packaging, Uhlmann's team of experts is also able to meet special requirements. At Develco, a line for packaging solid products in bottles was connected in such a way that the cartoner and serialization of the adjacent blister line can also be used.