Pharma

Fully integrated pharmaceutical packaging machine – as a turnkey solution

Schubert developed a format-part-independent erecting process for the inner box compartments.

Five pipettes are each loaded onto a mover in the Beckhoff transport system.

A robot removes one pipette for each box with a vial.

The labelled vials are loaded into the boxes.

REQUIREMENTS

Fully integrated line for pharmaceutical manufacturer Lundbeck

Pharmaceutical packaging machine for ampoules and vials – as a turnkey solution from Schubert

To modernise the packaging of its medication for neurological diseases, Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck was looking for a new packaging system for ampoules and vials. In the tendering process, Schubert-Pharma, the Schubert Packaging Systems business unit that specialises in serving the pharmaceutical industry, emerged as the winner with a fully integrated turnkey solution.

Because the new pharmaceutical packaging machine was to replace a previous line, all products were already established on the market. In other words, the machine-compatible packaging for the medication with all the folding chutes and compartments already existed and did not need to be developed. This accelerated the tendering process to just four months before the contract was awarded to Schubert Packaging Systems. When it came to the requirements for the new pharmaceutical packaging machine, it was especially important for Lundbeck to be able to work without large buffers in front of the packaging area. To achieve this, only a few products could be in transit between the pre-process and packaging. Conventional feeding technology for the pharmaceutical products was therefore out of the question.

 

SOLUTION

How does the solution meet the requirement?

Pharmaceutical packaging machine as a turnkey project

To set up the entire packaging process as efficiently and securely as possible, Schubert-Pharma supplied a fully integrated line. All pharmaceutical packaging machine components were procured by Schubert itself and processed as a turnkey solution. The line now includes a cartoner from Schubert, a B+S labeller and a Pester bander, carton packer and palletiser. Schubert-Pharma solved the challenge of feeding ampoules and pipettes with piece-by-piece accuracy up to the point of loading the boxes by means of a small buffer and the Beckhoff XTS transport system. Thanks to the flexible design of the transport system, the pillars at Lundbeck’s installation site no longer represented an obstacle. In view of implementing the entire process of labelling the product, packing it into cartons, applying the banding, packing into transport cartons and palletising in the production hall in one solution, a U-shape was chosen for the pharmaceutical packaging machine. Schubert also developed a universal erecting process for the various inner compartments, which is independent of the format and therefore does not take up any time when the format needs to be changed.

AT A GLANCE

  • Reliable, secure packaging process from feeding to palletising
  • Flexibility through format diversity and simple format changes
  • High process quality thanks to Schubert’s pharmaceutical expertise

WORDS OF EXPERIENCE

“Thanks to the high flexibility of the packaging line, pharmaceutical manufacturer Lundbeck can now benefit from a significant competitive advantage in the market.”

Technical details

Flexible and process-safe packaging solution in a single line

The pharmaceutical packaging machine is designed to pack ampoules of two different sizes into boxes of one, two, five or ten pieces each. Furthermore, vials, some with pipettes, are packed individually into boxes in four different sizes. Separator inserts or inner compartments are used with all formats to protect the glass bottles from damage. A leaflet or booklet is also enclosed with each box, which is then labelled.

The entire process in the pharmaceutical packaging machine, from erecting the cartons and the inner compartments, to loading the pharmaceutical products and package inserts, to closing and labelling, is handled with the aid of the Transmodul transport robot. This creates a secure, closed packaging process. Schubert’s experience in the pharmaceutical sector and advanced robot technology enable it to ensure that all product and packaging tolerances specified in the specification are met.

Piece by piece feeding with the Beckhoff system

A special feature of the pharmaceutical packaging machine is the feeding of the ampoules from the labeller and the pipettes from the sorting bowl: The XTS feed system from Beckhoff delivers the products quickly and accurately from the pre-machines to the cartoner’s loading area. Even short buffering is possible with the process-safe feed. Thirty so-called movers, small independent transport modules, move alaong the rail-based system. They are equipped with corresponding format parts for transporting the ampoules and pipettes. After automatic separation, five products each are loaded into a mover. Then eight movers group up at the Schubert cartoner’s loading robot. The robot’s tool can pick up 40 ampoules or pipettes all at once and pre-group them into groups of ten. From these pre-groupings, another robot then takes the required number for the boxes waiting in parallel on the Transmodul. The vials, already labelled, are then placed individually into the boxes. After the package inserts have been added, the cartons are closed and labelled, then they run into a banding machine, a carton packer and finally to a palletiser.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE

  • Turnkey plant from Schubert-Pharma
  • 17 formats with ampoules and vials
  • Format changeover in 30 minutes
  • Output of up to 420 products per minute
  • Transmodul in use