The seamless, automated packaging of pharma­ceuticals

In a packaging line from Schubert-Pharma, a robot places a glass vial with other pharmaceuticals in the erected display box.

Secondary packaging for pharma­ceutical products is subject to stringent product protection and labelling requirements. A consistently high-quality, reliable, safe and controlled packaging process is therefore absolutely essential in the pharmaceutical sector. With the robot-assisted digital top-loading machines from Schubert-Pharma, pharmaceutical manufacturers benefit from a fully automated, highly efficient packaging solution in a single line. Even third-party units can be seamlessly integrated into the modular systems. To this end, the packaging machine manufacturer develops secondary packaging that is perfectly matched to the process and which also meets sustainability requirements for recyclability and resource conservation.

Especially for medicinal products and other pharmaceuticals, both manufacturers and end customers have to be able to rely one hundred percent on the quality and integrity of the products. Secondary packaging is therefore just as important as primary packaging for product protection during transport, storage and ultimately handling. This is why Schubert-Pharma has specialised in top-loading applications in pharmaceutical end-of-line packaging for over 20 years and has steadily evolved into a major partner of the international pharmaceutical industry.

Johannes Schubert, grandson of company founder Gerhard Schubert and Managing Director of Schubert Packaging Systems

Johannes Schubert, grandson of company founder Gerhard Schubert and Managing Director of Schubert Packaging Systems, has also headed the Schubert-Pharma unit since July 2021.

Schubert-Pharma under the direction of Johannes Schubert

Manufacturers such as Lundbeck, CSL Behring and LTS Lohmann Therapy Systems rely on the expertise of the packaging machine manufacturer and benefit from customised, safe and reliable packaging solutions. As a unit of Schubert Packaging Systems GmbH, Schubert-Pharma has been under the management of Managing Director Johannes Schubert, the grandson of company founder Gerhard Schubert, since July 2021. Karin Kleinbach has also joined the team as Sales Manager. Through her previous work experience, she contributes a great deal of expertise and dedicated industry knowledge.

Karin Kleinbach, Sales Manager at Schubert-Pharma

As Sales Manager, Karin Kleinbach is responsible for the team at Schubert-Pharma.

Top loading for secondary packaging, seamlessly in a single line

Whether vials, pens, ampoules, patches, infusion bags, syringes, devices or combination products – packaging in the top-loading process is ideally suited for a wide range of pharmaceutical products. Karin Kleinbach explains: “The more complex the packaging process is in secondary packaging, for example with products that consist of several components or with combination packs, the more efficient and cost-effective top-loading is.” Schubert-Pharma not only offers innovative packaging systems, it also accompanies each project individually under the umbrella of Schubert Packaging Systems with an extensive range of engineering services. These extend from machine and line design, through general project management and consulting services, to optimisation of the supply chain and performance of existing packaging lines.

On request, Schubert-Pharma can also act as a general contractor and provide complete manufacturer-independent turnkey solutions. “We develop customer-specific solutions that bring out the very best in terms of safety, reliability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Depending on the requirements, we also use machines or units from other manufacturers, which we integrate seamlessly into a line,” says Karin Kleinbach. This enables a wide variety of processes and functions to be implemented within a single line. In addition to the erection of boxes and inner compartments and the careful loading and sealing of secondary packaging, this often includes, for example, all processes for labelling, quality control or serialisation.

In a pharmaceutical packaging machine, robots use the top-loading process to place compartments in boxes that have already been erected.

With its flexible machines, Schubert-Pharma specialises in the top-loading process in the area of secondary packaging.

Robot-assisted, flexible packaging machines

Schubert’s digital packaging machines are robot-assisted. This ensures controlled, efficient packaging processes from A to Z. The use of proven hardware and software modules from Schubert’s own portfolio guarantees a high level of product safety. The interface-free solutions for track & trace and serialisation also comply with all existing global regulations for pharmaceutical packaging regarding counterfeit prevention and product traceability.

At the same time, the Schubert lines offer pharmaceutical manufacturers a high degree of flexibility thanks to their modular machine concept. “A format changeover usually only takes about half an hour,” reports Karin Kleinbach. The exchange of the robot tools via plug & play, saves the time-consuming start-up after a format change and results in the best packaging being produced immediately upon start-up. For the fast production of new format parts, customers can produce 3D-printed parts themselves: Schubert’s complete PARTBOX system consisting of a streaming platform, 3D printer and filament material, delivers a reliable high quality printing process.

A Schubert robot fills a previously erected box with pharmaceuticals using the top-loading process.

Expertise in the field of packaging and the integration of all packaging steps into a single line make Schubert-Pharma’s solutions exceptionally efficient and ensure a consistently safe and reliable process.

Expertise in packaging development and optimisation

In the pharmaceutical industry, achieving a flawless packaging result also requires that the packaging and the line are perfectly coordinated with each other. Only then can processes run efficiently and at high performance. The earlier Schubert-Pharma is involved in a customer project, the more the pharmaceutical companies benefit from the packaging experts’ know-how. This enables processes and the packaging design to be defined together with the customer right at the beginning of the collaboration and adapted or optimised as required. Indeed, the choice of packaging material, the dimensions, the cut and the machine operability play a significant role in determining the processes in a fully automated system. With comprehensive expertise in this area, Schubert-Pharma can not only make recommendations on the selection of materials and the design of the packaging, but can also develop customised cardboard packaging as an alternative. With well thought-out solutions, it is also possible to reduce the time and effort involved in changing formats or to switch to more environmentally friendly packaging. “Our overarching expertise in the areas of packaging, systems engineering and consulting promises our customers future-proof, high-performance solutions from a single source that more than pay for themselves in the long term,” says Karin Kleinbach.

Project management from a single source

“From a single source” also means that every customer project at Schubert-Pharma is under the responsibility of a dedicated project manager. He or she is the contact person for any questions, from cost planning, timing, the necessary suppliers and the involvement of external companies, to the validation of the packaging machine and the smooth commissioning in the manufacturer’s production facilities. During the FAT (Factory Acceptance Test), i.e. the acceptance of the line at the Schubert factory, the entire line is tested, documented and validated. Based on these protocols, customers are given transparent information on all tests and can therefore be sure that the machine fully meets all pharmaceutical, regulatory and hygienic requirements. With one-week practical seminars on machine operation, the customer’s staff will also receive the required training or follow-up training to operate the machine expertly and autonomously.

The combination of state-of-the-art machine technology, packaging expertise, comprehensive engineering and consulting as well as many years of experience in the packaging of pharmaceuticals, makes Schubert-Pharma a reliable, trustworthy partner for highly efficient and cost-effective top-loading solutions in the secondary packaging sector.

Packaging machine for pharmaceuticals


Maximum product and process reliability thanks to the seamless integration of individual components and functional implementation with Schubert’s TLM technology platform.

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