As a leading contract packager for the world’s top pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, Quality Packaging Specialists International (QPSI) is focused on quality and efficiency at every step
They searched for new cartoners where high speeds, consistent performance and ease-of-use ruled and chose the Stealth™ horizontal cartoners from MGS Machine.
“Before we selected MGS, we considered multiple suppliers. We compared reliability, changeover time, speed to market, ease of doing business, transparency and price,” said William Hamilton Jr., Senior Vice President of Operations at QPSI. “MGS gave us everything we wanted and more. From the beginning, they’ve worked to establish a long-term relationship with us rather than simply looking for a sale. They act like a partner instead of a vendor.”
With six production facilities across the U.S., QPSI has a great deal of experience with different packaging machines and suppliers. Their Macungie, Pennsylvania plant alone has 24 packaging lines and two Stealth cartoners. One Stealth is cartoning bottles of over-the-counter (OTC) and regulated solid-dose pharmaceuticals with one, two or three bottles to each carton. The other is cartoning blister units of OTC and regulated pharmaceuticals with one or two collated units to each carton.
MGS’ Stealth is a high-performance servo-driven continuous-motion horizontal cartoner, which maintains speeds of up to 400 cartons per minute in a compact footprint. A variety of standard and customised infeed modules can be provided to accommodate almost any primary package – bottles, blister cards, tubes, vials, pouches and more. It handles cartons from 19 x 10 x 48 mm to 101 x 76 x 203 mm in size and produces a wide range of carton styles such as all types of tuck and hot melt styles in addition to special closures.
“The servo motors on the Stealth contribute to the machine’s reliability. These cartoners offer accurate and repeatable performance that requires less maintenance and less operator intervention,” noted Hamilton. “The consistency of these systems means our operators can be doing something else.”
In addition to servo technology, the Stealth features direct drives that achieve superior accuracy at high speeds and a vacuum carton pre-break and rotary carton setup mechanism that guarantee a perfect carton set up every time. During carton size changeovers, mechanical adjustments are eliminated with quick-change carton magazine masks, plows and guides that are simply dropped in place. These drop-in change parts, along with phase-able flights, quick release handles and mounted scales, enable the Stealth to be changed over in less than 30 minutes.
While the servo motors, direct drives, product-specific tooling and lack of mechanical adjustments make changeovers fast and easy, they also help the cartoner run consistently from day to day. This reliability maximizes production efficiencies and produces the highest quality packages.
Our Stealth cartoners are doing more than cartoning
“Our Stealth cartoners are doing more than cartoning. MGS equipped each machine with an inspection system that scans the pre-printed 128 barcode or 2D code on the carton to confirm the product is going into the right carton. These cartoners also have embossing units that add the lot and expiration date to each carton. One Stealth is inserting literature,” said Hamilton. “Because MGS supplied all these options, the systems are seamless.”
“It’s easy to set the system up to recognise a new barcode via the cartoner’s color touchscreen. Once we’ve established a new barcode for the first time, it becomes part of the product’s recipe that’s saved in the cartoner’s memory,” explained Hamilton. “If somebody tries to run the wrong carton, the machine stops. This feature helps perfect the operation.”
“It’s nice that these machines have a no-product, no-carton capability built into them. If it doesn’t see product, it doesn’t feed a carton, and if it doesn’t see a carton, it doesn’t feed product. This minimises waste,” said Hamilton. “We also have an open-flap detection system, which helps ensure product quality.”
“Accessibility is one stand-out feature on the Stealth cartoner. Everything is right in front of you, so it’s very easy to make changes and get to parts for maintenance purposes. This easy access also facilitates sanitation. Everything is readily accessible during cleaning, and there aren’t many hot spots that can trap product,” noted Hamilton. “The operator controls the machine through the touchscreen user interface, so our mechanics can go work on other machines.”
“With cartoners, we measure success by analysing reliability and uptime, equipment versatility, machine safety and the amount of scrap created. The supplier adds value by providing quick and informative customer service,” concluded Hamilton. “We’re very happy with our Stealth cartoners. We consider MGS to be a partner. We’re on a journey with them.”