The blister pack production line that suits you is the best choice

To choose your own blister packaging line

For blister packaging machines, which sealing method is better, is it a drum seal or a flat plate seal? For the entire blister packaging line, which system is better to choose, is it an integrated system or a modular system? When referring to the blister pack production line, this is a question that every pharmaceutical company must consider repeatedly.
In fact, the above options all have their own advantages. The key is to see which one is more suitable for you. In the following, we will talk about these two issues that bother you.

About drum seals and flat seals

Sealing is an important factor affecting the quality of blister packs, and it is also a particular concern for pharmaceutical companies when choosing blister packaging machines. There are currently two alternative basic sealing methods: one is a drum seal, which uses a heat-sealing roller for sealing, and the other is a flat-plate seal, where the heat-sealed part is a flat plate type.

Both of these methods have their advantages. The advantage of the drum type sealing system is that continuous product operation can be carried out during the feed of the product, which greatly improves the yield. But American packers seem to prefer flat-panel seals. Another reason for this is related to the aesthetic: In most cases, flat-panel sealed blister packs are more attractive.

“From an aesthetic point of view, I am more satisfied with flat-panel sealed blister packs and the integrity of the flat panel seal is also slightly better.” said Jim Buchanan, engineering and technology manager at DPT Laboratories Ltd. (DPT Laboratories Ltd. is a contract pharmaceutical manufacturer and packager based in San Antonio, Texas, USA)

Size is another reason why the US Department of Packaging prefers flat seals, because US blister pack cards are generally larger than those in Europe. For example, in the United States, a standard medical drug packaging card is approximately 70 x 115 mm in size; in Europe, it is approximately 40 x 60 mm. Larger packaging cards work better on flat panel sealing systems, and also reduce the system's low yield. So most U.S. companies usually use larger flat plates and can handle as many package cards as possible.

In addition, the type of blister packaging machine companies choose depends on the structure of the blister package itself. Many CR blister packs have backing paper, which requires more heat to seal. Conlon said that plate seals can easily provide heat, while rotary seals may have to use a preheating device.

About integrated system and modular system design

Pharmaceutical blister packs come in many forms and can meet different needs such as over-the-counter medications, single-use medications, and hospital dispensing. The diversity of users' needs has determined that blister packaging machines, like most other packaging equipment, also have high requirements for flexibility. Like most packaging equipment, blister packaging machines also use servo motors to meet the diverse needs of users. Because it can more easily convert molding, sealing and punching spacing parameters, the equipment can handle a variety of different changes.

The diverse needs of users also influence the relationship between the blister packaging machine and the downstream equipment, especially the rear cartoning machine. Some suppliers use these devices in an integrated way: combine several processes (such as boxing and inspection) into a mechanical frame that is identical to a blister packer. Uhlmann Packaging Systems has a fast blister packaging line that combines thermoforming, cartoning, and other functions at a rate of 100 blisters per minute. Such a blister pack integration system has the advantages of simple control, small footprint, simple process flow, and easy simultaneous operation. In most cases, the cost of such a system is lower than the cost of multiple equivalent individual components.

IMA SpA also has such a blister integration pipeline, said Stefano Baccinelli, manager of blister packaging at IMA North America. “The idea of ​​integration is to shorten the production line and make the cleaning, conversion and setting of the production line faster and easier.”

But more manufacturers use a modular design approach to separate the blistering thermoforming system from boxes and other equipment. This method also maximizes the speed and flexibility of the system.

Bernie Conlon, sales and marketing manager at IWKA PacSystems, said “The modular design can effectively synchronize two separate devices.” The key to modular design is to synchronize the devices, both electronically and mechanically. Electronic synchronization can be easily accomplished through each unit's programmable controller (PLC) or other controller. Of course, mechanical synchronization is slightly more complicated than electronic synchronization.

The cartoning section is a focus of the modular blister packaging line. Conlon said that "many companies will think that the connection from the bubble device to the cartoning machine is the biggest challenge." Because the traditional method is to transfer the blister pack cards to a top-loading magazine, the magazine then fills them one by one from the bottom into the cartoner. In this way, the system can easily cause blockages.

The method used by IWKA and other suppliers is to transfer one blister pack card to one conveyor at a time and then fill it into the cartoner. This method is more reliable and easier to control because the number of blister pack cards and the number needed for the cartoner can be easily matched.

Understand the above issues, I believe you will inevitably realize that: two different blister packaging machines have their own advantages, two different blister packaging systems also have their own characteristics, only according to the actual situation of the company to choose The most suitable blister packaging production line is the best choice!

Source: Packaging Machinery

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