In different distribution channels, there are often different requirements for the packaging of pharmaceutical. In hospitals, folding boxes are usually sufficient as secondary packaging for solid products. In other cases, pharmaceutical packaging needs to be both childproof and seniorfriendly. This might involve, for example, wallet packaging.
In one of the most extensive joint projects to date between Uhlmann Pac-Systeme and KOCH Pac-Systeme, this was exactly the case. The customer, an US pharmaceutical manufacturer, offers medications in twelve blister formats and three blister sizes containing tablets with different dosages. The particular challenge was that two of the three blister sizes had to be delivered in folding boxes to hospitals, with the third size going in wallets and folding boxes to pharmacies.
The packaging is designed in such a way that the tablets can only be pressed out of the blister once the wallet has been broken open in a specific position and a perforated tab has been removed. The action is senior-friendly, but difficult for children to carry out.
For an integrated line to be developed, two subsidiaries of the Uhlmann Group pooled their competencies and implemented a line consisting of a blister and wallet machine alongside a cartoner.
The close collaboration between KOCH and Uhlmann under the joint umbrella of the Uhlmann Group ensures not only perfectly-matched facility components and processes, but also highly-efficient project work.
Cristian Reiter, CTO & Managing Director at Uhlmann
Innovative solution for maximum plant flexibility
In complex projects such as this, the Uhlmann Group has a decisive advantage in that experienced experts from the various subsidiaries specialising in packaging solutions can be brought together into one team. When designing the blister wallet line, Uhlmann and KOCH worked hand-in-hand. With Uhlmann’s decades of pharmaceutical expertise and KOCH’s skills in the field of special mechanical engineering, the two companies complemented each other perfectly. The result shows what is possible when two specialists combine their strengths: a blister wallet line that perfectly combines the blister machine B 200 from Uhlmann, the wallet machine KS-PL from KOCH and the cartoner C 200 from Uhlmann. The project team implemented a solution that is far more than the sum of its parts:
1. The basis for this is the blister machine B 200 from Uhlmann, which produces up to 200 blisters in three sizes with several different blister formats. All of them differ in terms of the number and positioning of the aluminum pockets per blister. The SimTap feeder reliably places tablets in up to three different dosages per blister in the correct aluminum pockets.
2. Since the tablets in the aluminum blister are no longer recognizable following the sealing process, a digital printing system marks the cover foil of the blister with a 2D code.
3. Blisters for pharmacy distribution go directly to the KS-PL wallet machine from KOCH. A scanner checks each individual 2D code. This ensures that only correctly filled blisters are packed into wallets. The blisters intended for hospitals are sent via a bypass directly to the Uhlmann cartoner C 200.
4. The KS-PL wallet machine from KOCH seals the blisters with front and cover cards to create childproof, yet seniorfriendly wallets.
5. A completely newly developed folding system allows many axis movements and can handle the enormous variety of blister formats.
6. The wallets are transferred in stacks of seven to the Uhlmann C 200 cartoner, which processes up to 200 blisters in folding boxes or 13 folding boxes with seven wallets each per minute, depending on the format.
Wallet projects always have a very individual character, with the requirements differing from project to project. In the case of this order, the planning was particularly demanding due to the customer’s many different wallet variants.
Kai Kunzmann, Product Manager at KOCH
The advantages for the customer are clear. Despite the enormous variety, all product variants can be packaged on one line and the process can be controlled via an unified, consistent operating system. This greatly reduces complexity for the operating personnel. If required, blister packaging, wallet machine, and cartoning can be operated independently of each other – for maximum plant flexibility.
The intensive collaboration within the Uhlmann Group contributed significantly to the success of the project and this is a fact of which Cristian Reiter, CTO & Managing Director at Uhlmann, is very certain, “with such complex assignments, it is not just the know-how of those involved that counts, but also the communication and a common understanding of project work. Here, too, Uhlmann and KOCH are a perfect match.”
Bundled packaging expertise in the Uhlmann Group
The companies in the Uhlmann Group offer a wide range of high-tech packaging machines, services and digital solutions for the pharmaceutical, healthcare, consumer goods, food and agricultural markets. In addition to Uhlmann Pac- Systeme and KOCH Pac-Systeme, Cremer Speciaalmachines, Wonder Packing Machinery and Axito also belong to the group of companies.
The special machine engineering company KOCH Pac-Systeme GmbH has been part of the Uhlmann family of companies since 2006. Founded in 1969, today more than 450 employees in Pfalzgrafenweiler and eight subsidiaries worldwide develop and manufacture customized packaging solutions and services for medical products, contact lenses and consumer goods. Thanks to their modular design, the blister and packaging machines and lines enable sustainable automation solutions tailored to customer requirements.