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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, October/Fall 2016

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News pmpnews.com • Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News Fall 2016 12 generally require modifications to a proven standardized blister machine. We have a modular approach to build- ing machinery, and we rarely build finalized machines the same way." Hahn-Schickard and Rohrer began working together to develop the proj- ect using a specific machine, Rohrer's R760, and Rohrer handled tooling design and engineering. Rohrer modified its R760 blister- forming machine to thermoform disks with channels down to 50 microns deep. "The system has to apply the right amount of pressure and preci- sion in heating during the forming pro- cess," Birkicht says. "We also had to design the system so that there would be absolutely no air bubbles under the film or foil when forming. And the cooling system had to extract heat at the right point during the cooling pro- cess so we wouldn't destroy the formed disk." Critical geometry parameters of the thermoformed disk are optically verified using sophisticated measure- ment equipment. Typical blister thermoforming lines produce between 20 and 100 cycles per minute, but because of the man- ufacturing precision needed for the disks, this modified machine is capable of producing one cycle per minute. The cycle time, however, is compet- itive with that of injection molding, Birkicht says. With an in-house, dedicated R760 machine, the team is working to get the cycle time even lower. Birkicht says that the project needed a material that turns "almost liquid" during thermoforming "without getting destroyed." The material needed to be durable enough to withstand exposure to high pressure during the forming and vacuum process. The team identi- fied a 10-mil-thick cyclic olefin polymer (COP) as the ideal material. In addition to being suitable for the high-tempera- ture, high-pressure thermoforming pro- cess, Mark from Hahn-Schickard says that "for us, COP (and COC) proved compatible to the optical and bio- chemical requirements for most of our applications." Adds Birkicht: "Because the speci- men extractions are read optically, the disk has to be transparent. The very thin, transparent material offered a huge advantage." When asked how Rohrer's thermo- forming technology played a role in enabling Hahn-Schickard's innova- tions, Mark says that "as [we are an] R&D service provider 'from visions to products,' it is very important for us to supply our customers with a perspec- tive beyond the prototype." "With the new, industrial fabrica- tion process for thermoformed disks, our customers can perform trials [and] clinical studies and are also ready for market entry with the prototypes we develop together with our partners," he says. Hahn-Schickard is "currently enter- ing discussions with our customers to bring first products to market in the near future," concludes Mark. "As a creative R&D service provider, we still have many ideas for improvements to make the products of our custom- ers more powerful and even easier to manufacture. Rohrer has an excellent technology background to support these ideas and bring them to indus- trial fabrication levels." Nelipak Corp. Expands into Puerto Rico Thanks to Acquisition N elipak Corp. has acquired ther- moforming company Tegrant Alloyd Brands of Puerto Rico Inc. (TABPR), a subsidiary of Sono- co Products Co. Located in Juncos, the business will now operate under the name of Nelipak Healthcare Packaging. " T h e a c q u i s i t i o n b r o a d e n s Nelipak's footprint in an important r e g i o n f o r t h e c o m p a n y a n d i t s c u s t o m e r s , " S e á n E g a n , g r o u p m a r k e t i n g m a n a g e r a t N e l i p a k Healthcare Packaging, tells PMP News. "Puerto Rico is home to several g l o b a l c u s t o m e r s o f N e l i p a k i n b o t h t h e m e d i c a l d e v i c e a n d pharmaceutical markets," he says. " B e i n g i n P u e r t o R i c o a l l o w s N e l i p a k t o b e t t e r s e r v e t h e s e customers and to take advantage of growth opportunities in the broader Caribbean region. The move has been welcomed by several companies wishing to extend their partnership with Nelipak." TABPR thermoforms packaging s u c h a s t r a y s , c l a m s h e l l s , a n d blisters primarily for medical device and pharmaceutical customers in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. " T A B P R b r i n g s t h e s a m e enthusiasm and desire to provide best-in-class services to the customer that they currently experience from t h e w i d e r b u s i n e s s , " E g a n s a y s . "We look forward to working with them to bring new levels of service to customers in Puerto Rico and the wider region." N e l i p a k ' s c u s t o m e r s f r o m t h e r e g i o n w e r e p r e v i o u s l y b e i n g served from its facilities in Phoenix; Cranston, RI; and Costa Rica, Egan says. "Nelipak brings production in Puerto Rico to the same high level of cleanroom manufacturing standards customers have come to expect of Nelipak across the organization. At the same time, customers have access to Nelipak's design and production facilities network in the Americas and Europe—allowing a number of customers to transition product into the new facility from other locations for cost and lead time advantages," he says.

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