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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, May/June 2015

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39 May/June 2015 Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News • PharmaPaCk North ameriCa 2015 A draw to the eyedropper is that it uses up all the liquid supplied within, adding to its sustainability reference. "It is easier and less bulky to carry one multidose bottle needed for a month treatment than a full box of unit doses," Sellier said. "On top of the convenience, it is also more economical and sustainable to use a mul- tidose eyedropper than unit doses as it consumes up to eight times less plastic, 25 times less liquid, and nine times less energy needed for transportation." studying New blister Materials Pharmaceutical manufacturers are ready for new blister packaging mate- rials, believes Georgia Mohr, Market- ing Director–Pharmaceutical, for Bemis Healthcare Packaging. "Engineers are asking for new materials, but they are also concerned about costs," she says. Bemis will be exhibiting at Pharmapack North America in Booth #4001. Mohr understands that new materials will need to be proven, so the company will be studying potential alternatives at its Bemis Innovation Center (BIC; Neen- ah, WI). The BIC is currently under- going an extensive two-year renovation expected to be complete later this year. The center itself has been in place for several years, and Bemis had acquired it in 2010 after its Alcan Packaging acquisition."The BIC is a customer des- tination that enables them to come in and test materials," says Mohr. "We now have over 120 engineers at the center along with ofces to support all regions around the world." Mohr says the center runs trials on equipment similar to what customers use themselves, and one of its recent installa- tions is a new Uhlmann B1240, Bemis's first blister forming machine. "We will use this machine to define process parameters for forming webs as well as to teach processors how to form our materi- als," she says. "It will allow them to per- form product development with us, see how various materials perform, gain con- fidence, and go back to their companies with enough knowledge to be successful." Michael Priscal, Product Development Manager at Bemis Co., purchased the Uhlmann B1240 for Bemis to support the R&D work he is heading up in blister forming. "It is an important development tool that allows us to help our customers succeed," he says. Priscal hopes to build on the success he says Bemis has had in food barrier packaging. One of the determining factors in Bemis's purchase of the B1240 was a new in-line inspection system for monitoring blister forming, the FormChecker. "The B1240 had a unique offering that we plan to take full advantage of—the Form- Checker for 100% in-line inspection," explains Priscal. "It reads the formed material thickness so that we'll be able to determine whether barrier is distributed evenly during forming." In addition to monitoring distribution, the system can also identify "blowout or holes in formed materials as well as look at heat, air pressure, and plug assist factors," explains Christoph Lehmann, Director of Visiotec GmbH (Uhlmann's sister company and maker of the Form- Checker). "It is always a struggle to deter- mine whether problems are related to the machine or the material. The Form- Checker can help users identify and cor- rect such issues during production." FormChecker inspects formed cavities right after forming, before filling and seal- ing. "The measurement is based on light (sender) penetrating the thermoformed and/or flat material," Lehmann told PMP News last year. "The receiver is con- verting the transmitted signal information into thickness in microns (µm)." "It is good that a material supplier goes beyond to understand customer struggles with blister forming," adds Lehmann. "The B1240 is a real produc- tion machine." Priscal expects the new machine will help his team examine new options. "PVC has traditionally dominated the blister market, and it has done a good job. Packaging machines are even designed around PVC," he says. "But we are looking at materials not commonly used in pharma at all. We are working to achieve a higher barrier to value metric, meaning more barrier for less cost, while reducing or removing chlorine and fluo- rine content. Having this machine is our way of getting real serious about these alternative materials." He adds that the in-line inspection will be "much easier and more accurate, without the human error associated with of-line inspections." With the new machinery, Mohr says that Bemis intends "to break paradigms, not only with materials, but also with package design. We are looking at the future of blister packaging, even looking at new options for lidding. We feel it is important to come up with solutions, not only for forming web performance, but we also have a vision for new blister lid- ding webs, for a complete solution." The pharmaceutical industry has been a key focus of Bemis's for the last five years. (Mohr joined the company five years ago). In 2013 it launched Perfec- Form SkyBlue to provide a PVC-free alternative sandwiching a barrier layer between copolyester, and the company continues to test next-generation materi- als, says Priscal. In addition, commercial- ly available Barex alternatives have been developed, and sealants will continue to be studied at the BIC, adds Mohr. 0 Novelia is already commercialized.

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