Innovations unwrapped at The Packaging Conference
Contract packagers as well as the brands they serve must keep up on the latest trends. Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor of Packaging World, provides insight into many such trends and innovations in her coverage of The Packaging Conference 2013, the sixth annual event sponsored by Plastic Technologies, Inc., and consultancy SBA-CCI, Inc.
The event, held Feb. 4-6 at The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, was developed to “motivate the audience, stimulate discussions, and introduce packaging innovations not yet released to the public,” Mohan writes. Among those innovations: the technology behind the Absolut Unique project, opportunities in digital package printing, and initiatives around PET recycling.
One of the presenters, Joe Angel, publisher of Contract Packaging and Packaging World, provided attendees with 13 packaging trends to watch out for in 2013, including the rising importance of food safety, the growth in third-party logistics (3PL) suppliers and contract packers, serialization in the pharma market, and workforce issues, among others.
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Almac launches U.S. commercial packaging operations
Almac announced the successful inspection of its new U.S. Commercial Packaging Operations located in Audubon, PA, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The inspection took place Jan. 9 and 10, 2013, from which the agency concluded that the site is fully compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices.
Almac’s first U.S. commercial packaging client, a U.S.-based diversified healthcare company, is an existing long-term client partner of its U.K. operations for both formulation development and contract commercial manufacturing services. Initially, Almac will supply three commercial products with bulk tablet and capsule manufacturing taking place in Almac’s EMA and FDA-approved commercial facility in the U.K., with final bottle and blister packaging in Audubon.
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Serialization and track and trace
Serialization, the assignment and application of a unique verifiable product identifier to an individual pack (i.e., the smallest salable unit), is of critical importance to pharma packagers, including contract packagers.
Jim Chrzan, VP and Publisher of Healthcare Packaging, returned from Pharmapack Europe with highlights of a 90-minute workshop on serialization conducted by Optel Vision. Optel’s Jean-Pierre Allard began the session by polling the crowd, asking them to categorize their level of involvement. Very few were just starting out on the serialization journey, and a handful considered themselves “experts” on the topic. The vast majority placed themselves in the intermediate category. Some highlights follow:
• Serial numbers must be provided to contract packagers by the IT department, not by the contract manufacturers, packagers or other facilities. Electronic Product Code Information Service (Epcis) standards allow all vendors to communicate the information to partners in the supply chain.
• Serialization is the assignment and application of a unique verifiable product identifier to an individual pack. (There was some dispute here to what level, but most accept it is the smallest salable unit).
• One point of confusion is there are different mediums available and different countries are selecting between a 1D bar code, a 2D bar code, a human-readable code, and an RFID tag (mostly applied at the pallet level due to continued cost issues).
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On a related topic, pharma packagers are encouraged to download the Healthcare Packaging Serialization Playbook.