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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, November/December 2015

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Page 23 of 35 • Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News November/December 2015 24 Rigid Packaging Using Uncoated Lidding with Thermoformed Trays A new coextrusion offers medical device manufacturers a chance to use uncoated Tyvek lidding with trays. by Daphne Allen Editor W hen it comes to using trays, medical device manufacturers are accus- tomed to needing a heat-seal-coated lidstock, explains Brian Rosenburg, VP of sales for Technipaq. A new coextrusion for thermoforming medical packaging, how- ever, may ofer an alternative approach. TEQ (Thermoform Engineered Qual- ity) is now thermoforming a coextruded polymer called TEQconnex that can be heat sealed to uncoated Tyvek lidding. TEQconnex consists of HDPE coex- truded with a thin layer of a proprietary polyethylene that can seal directly to the uncoated Tyvek, rather than requiring a traditional adhesive coating on the lid- ding, Todd McDonald, director of sales and marketing for TEQ, told PMP News at Pack Expo Las Vegas. McDonald reports that the thermo- forming process is very similar to tradi- tional HDPE thermoforming. "We do need to design the tray in such a way that the thin seal layer of the TEQconnex is opposite the tool side," he says. TEQ- connex builds upon the 100% recyclable solution TEQethylene launched by TEQ in 2012, and TEQethylene customers can leverage existing tooling to transition to a TEQconnex, he adds. TEQconnex ofers a number of ben- efits, most notably total package cost savings, continues McDonald. "Our research is showing that the added cost of applying the adhesive coating to the Tyvek lid is more than the addition of the seal layer to the TEQethylene (HDPE) extruded sheet. Our TEQconnex mate- rial is a coextrusion done all in one pro- cess, when the current model for adding adhesive is that it is a secondary process that also includes a freight component." Rosenburg, too, sees "an opportu- nity for a nice cost savings, without sacrificing functionality." His team at Technipaq tested the seals between TEQconnex trays and three diferent grades of medical-grade Tyvek (Tyvek 1073B, 1059B, and 2FS), and all dem- onstrated "an equal if not greater aver- age seal strength compared with that of conventionally coated Tyvek during tensile testing and burst testing." The samples also showed "clean peelability," says Rosenburg. In addition, the solution helps avoid adhesive flaking that can occur with coated lidstock, adds McDonald. "The adhesive that is applied to the Tyvek can sometimes flake of, be scratched of by abrasion or vibration, and if the device is in contact with [the] underside of the lid during the heat seal process can adhere to the lid," he says. Rosenburg also notes good seal trans- fer: "Normally when you peel open a lid sealed to a tray, you visually inspect the seal flange for transfer. This solution pro- vides the same visual indication and shows the remnants of where the seal was." Tom Misik, VP of sales for Belco Packaging, concurs. "It is a diferent peel aesthetic, but you do see the seal trans- fer. It should help MDMs comply with ASTM F1886 "Standard Test Method for Determining Integrity of Seals for Flexible Packaging by Visual Inspection." And using an uncoated lidstock s h o u l d n ' t i m p a c t o t h e r p h y s i c a l strength characteristics, Rosenburg adds. "The strength comes from the substrate, not the coating," he says. The uncoated Tyvek can also be print- ed on both sides, which could also help Thermoformable TEQconnex (shown above and on facing page) consists of HDPE coextruded with a thin layer of proprietary polyethylene that can seal directly to uncoated Tyvek.

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