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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, May/June 2015

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Page 29 of 43 • Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News May/June 2015 30 Heat Sealers Heat Sealers: Reducing Errors through Automation A new system employs automatic pouch handling and optional product loading to reduce operator-related errors. By Daphne Allen Editor W hen it comes to tradi- t i o n a l m a n u a l h e a t - sealing processes, most mistakes can be attrib- uted to the operator, reports Lynne Barton, senior account executive for SencorpWhite. "Operators get distracted, and one part of the process is not satisfied, lead- ing to improperly packaged products," Barton told PMP News at Healthpack. Common mistakes include improperly sealed packages, unsealed packages, and wrongly labeled packages, she adds. T o r e m e d y t h e s e e r r o r s , SencorpWhite decided to "take the operator out of the process of handling pouches," Barton says. At MD&M East 2015 in June, the company will be updating prospective customers on the status of the new APM12 Auto- mated Pouch Sealer. The modular sys- tem features a pouch dispenser and product loading and sealing stations. Seal inspection, RFID, label print-and- apply, pouch printing, and bar coding can be added as optional upgrades. A constant-heat bar sealer provides "highly repeatable two-sided heat using a closed-loop temperature con- trol system and probe-style thermo- couples," Barton says. "A load cell is used to verify that the appropriate seal force was reached for the mini- mum amount of time." The APM12 automatically picks pouches that are horizontally stacked and reorients them vertically. Independent asynchronous carriages index pouches to each station. An optional static elimina- tion bar "sweeps" the pouches to ensure pouches do not attract particulates. Operators load products into the vertically positioned pouches, and a sensor monitors and records load- ing. The product load process can be achieived via automation as an option- al upgrade if desired. "If the pouch leaves the seal station and all conditions have been met, the system discharges the pouch as accept- able," Barton explains. "Otherwise, the pouch is sent to a reject bin." Barton expects that most exist- ing pouch designs will work with the APM12, "as long as there is enough headspace for grippers to hold the pouches," she says. The grippers automatically adjust to pouch widths, which can range from 5.5 to 11.5 Multiple automated asynchronous carriages transport the pouches through the new APM12 Automated Pouch Sealer from SencorpWhite.

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