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CP's custom cartoner handles challenging carton

New equipment helps pharmaceutical contract packager meet its customer demands and stay within its budget.
New cartoning equipment helps Anderson Packaging accommodate the challenging tolerances of cartons such as these from TAP PharmaNew cartoning equipment helps Anderson Packaging accommodate the challenging tolerances of cartons such as these from TAP Pharma

Although Anderson Packaging has nearly 40 years of contract packaging experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors it’s the future that causes its corporate pulse to race.

To help meet its customers’ ever-changing needs Anderson Packaging officially opened a 148-sq’ facility in February in Rockford IL for primary and secondary packaging of prescription and over-the-counter products. Assembly Drive Plant 2 is the seventh Anderson location in Rockford its headquarters city. Dedicated to pharmaceuticals Plant 2 includes current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)-compliant packaging clean rooms with independent environmental controls and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. In the past five years Anderson Packaging has invested more than $50 million in plant and equipment expansion.

Several of its plants are equipped with cartoning and other packaging equipment from MGS Machine Corp. “We have a variety of their equipment in our plants including our new facility” says Justin Schroeder the marketing and business development manager at Anderson Packaging. A critical addition to some of the plants including the new facility is the Stealth™ continuous-motion cartoner. “We’ve worked extensively with MGS to develop these Stealth machines” he says. “They give us a competitive advantage.”

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Anderson Packaging began working with MGS in late 2002. “We were looking for a specific piece of equipment that could handle some specific tolerances” Schroeder recalls. “We discussed those tolerances with several vendors and scared them all. But MGS was confident they could do it and it turns out they were very successful.”

Award-winning applications

The tolerances Schroeder describes pertain to MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging’s Dosepak® carton. Two of its customers use Dosepak in applications that recently earned AmeriStar Best of Show awards from the Institute of Packaging Professionals.

One was for TAP Pharmaceutical Products’ Prevacid NapraPAC (see In this instance the blister packs contained Naprosyn for arthritic pain and Prevacid for stomach problems. TAP’s Dosepak includes a folded insert of MeadWestvaco’s 12-pt EasySeal Plus an SBS with extrusion coating contained in a 24-pt SBS carton printed offset in four colors. A thermoformed polyvinyl chloride tab on the insert prevents the blister-carded insert from being removed until a red circle portion is depressed on the carton to release it. Anderson not only contract packages TAP’s product it also thermoforms the blister pack to which the insert is affixed with a foil laminate.

The other Dosepak award winner was for Procter & Gamble’s Actonel 35-mg Senior Elite pack (see The package provides child-resistance and incorporates a pocket that lends print space and a storage area for a patient information leaflet.

Dosepak is a challenge to carton. The MGS Stealth erects cartons from a magazine. After sealing one end of the carton shut the Stealth inserts a carded blister sleeve into the open end before using a Nordson hot melt glue system to seal the carton shut.


Schroeder says the Stealth machinery usually runs at least five days a week on multiple shifts depending on demand. Autumn is usually the busiest time in advance of the winter “cold season.” Then the equipment may run 24/7. Line speeds and volume details are considered proprietary.

“MGS was very willing to work with us to design the machine” says Schroeder. “The confidence level they had in the equipment they produce was a big factor. The challenge with Dosepak was that everybody loves it but nobody had found a way to automate it. We were the first working with MGS and we were able to do so cost-effectively.”

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