Schubert-Pharma combines thermoforming and carton packaging in a TLM system for its customer IDT Biologika saving space and increasing efficiency
The combination of thermoforming and cartoning is usually carried out on two single machines. The Schubert-Pharma TLM system combines these tasks enabling the customer to achieve highly efficient capacity utilisation.
IDT Biologika is an international contract packer for pharmaceutical products and part of the Klocke Group. With over 1500 employees, IDT is the largest company in the group and specialises in the production, filling and packaging of vaccines and high-quality biologics.
The service company covers all development, production and quality steps from active ingredients in bulk form, through sterile filling, to packaging processes and cooling chains. To this end the company uses state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging technologies.
The increasing complexity of packaging solutions, changing customer ordering behaviour, as well as the trend towards smaller batch sizes pose new challenges to production technology and led IDT to implement a new manufacturing strategy in the field of assembly.
The packaging applications at IDT include cartoning vials of various sizes, numbers and configurations, with or without partitions, as well as blistered syringes and combination packages of syringes and vials, which are combined into kits. A recently added application is to package and carton medical devices in thermoform packages. The customer approached various machine manufacturers with these requirements.
Raimund Merkel from the Klocke Holding, said: “We want to achieve greater flexibility with fewer packaging lines over the long term, while increasing capacity utilisation.”
Karin Kleinbach from Sales and Project Engineering at Schubert-Pharma, said: “The decisive factor for Schubert-Pharma was its ability to realise the required processing operations within a single line. Other suppliers could not offer a system concept in which all the necessary functionality was available in one machine from one manufacturer. Creativity and flexibility were required from all involved parties and this is what made the project especially exciting.”
In spite of the complexity and the many applications and formats, the machine is very compact. This ensures outstanding operability, serviceability and a clear machine layout. When packaging the devices, the thermoform trays are first produced in Schubert’s thermoforming module.
Since IDT Biologika packs a wide range of products on the line, proper line clearance between batches is an absolute requirement. This process runs automatically in the TLM machine and offers the customer significant time savings, considerably increasing the system availability.
System control is handled by Schubert’s own VMS packaging machine control system. By means of confirmations and counter-checks, it is ensured that no products from the previous production are still on the line. A sensor automatically checks whether all transporters are empty and passes this information on to the machine operator.
Together with its customer, Schubert-Pharma harmonised all existing packaging and product formats and, using its expert team, also planned additional formats for future applications. As a result, IDT is ideally equipped to package new products for its customers quickly and flexibly in the future.