A Syringe maker relied heavily
on suppliers for help in designing an automated
packaging solution for its unique syringes.
a prominent medical device manufacturer decided to
enter the United States marketplace in 2001, executives knew
they'd need help from their suppliers. Much of the assistance
they needed came from Multivac, whose engineers helped design
an easy-to-use thermoformed package that also protects healthcare
professionals from needlestick, that is, accidentally sticking
themselves with the syringe needle. The thermoform/fill/seal
packaging system designed by Multivac to pack the syringes
helped the company enter the competitive U.S. market efficiently
and profitably. Three of these systems now operate for the company, two in California and one in the South.
We have specific needs for our packaging to be
durable, says the company president and CEO. We need to ensure the sterility of
the product all the way through to the end user,
as well as ensure that our cost of goods is
favorable. Multivac really chipped in and did
a fantastic job working with us in designing
our packaging. They gave us great advice as
to not only the kind of equipment, but the kind
of film and other ancillary products, even down
to the printers on the machine.
The company's syringes comply with the Needlestick
Safety and Prevention Act passed by Congress in
2000. They feature a one-hand operation, require
minimal training, and are easily locked and unlocked
with a built-in safety sheath to discourage reuse
and to prevent injury. According to the company president, it
was essential that the packaging be equally safe
and easy to use.
It has to be durable enough to prevent the sterility
from being compromised, he says. Assembling
the equipment to cost effectively and quickly
produce these packages was the real value in
working with Multivac. Because we didn't have
a packaging engineer and were new to the U.S.
market, we needed a partner who would work with
us to assemble a total packaging solution. We
were able to determine what type of packaging
features we needed in an end product, and they
helped us design a complete line to create it
quickly and cost effectively.
The packaging consists of a clear forming web constructed
of a coextrusion of polyethylene and nylon. Lidding
material is a 25-lb paper with 2-mil peelable
sealent that is printed with the company's logo
and product information. Both top and bottom webs
are supplied by Perfecseal.
The company chooses not to identify packaging speeds.
But a company spokesperson emphasizes that achieving current speeds
was made possible not only by the Multivac equipment,
but also by other packaging equipment in the line
that contributes greatly to overall efficiency.
Efficiency at work
Currently the company is running one Multivac Model
R330 and two R530 machines. The most recent installation
that went into production just more than a year
ago is the R530. Located in the firm's California
plant, it's equipped with a Motoman pick-and-place
In that application, syringes are conveyed out of
the automatic assembly machine in pucks that are
six up. The robot uses mechanical grippers to pick
the completed syringes out of the pucks and place
them in pockets formed 10 across by the Multivac
With the syringes in place, the containers are ready
for application of the lidding material. As the
lidstock leaves the unwind stand, it moves past
a Bell-Mark Flexprint
II flexo printer that prints logo,
visual instruction aides, the bar code, and needle
size in two colors.
The two webs then come together in a heat-seal station
that marries them. A short distance later, a lot
number is printed on the lid by a Videojet ink-jet
printer. This second in-line printer is required
because of the unique lot number.
According to the company spokesperson, it's not practical to make
printing plates for the Bell-Mark
for every lot that's produced. The ink-jet printer,
easily reprogrammed at a keypad when a lot number
changes, makes more sense.
Individual packs are cut free from each other by
knives. From there, the packs are conveyed to a
station where they are hand packed for delivery.
Afterwards, e-beam or gamma sterilization is conducted
by an outside party before shipment across the country.
According to the company president, the new equipment in the California
plant has been every bit as satisfactory as the
machines installed in the other two plants.
service and integration support provide the production
edge we needed to compete in this industry. Our
products have to arrive in pristine condition,
and Multivac's packaging systems and service have
helped us to accomplish our goals on time and
Available nationwide, the company syringes continue
to gain market share since their 2001 launch in
the United States. ALR