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Blister lines speed changeovers for German contract packager

Handle 15 million blisters a year, while new horizontal cartoner can switch between intermittent and continuous motion as needed by C.P.M. Contract Pharma GmbH.


C.P.M. Contract Pharma GmbH & Co. KG refers to itself as “one of the biggest pharmaceutical contract manufacturers in Germany.” The Temmler Group company’s Web site notes, “Besides the production of solid, semi-solid and fluid forms of administration, we can also handle the complete development and project management of your products through to validation.” The company packages ointments, creams, gels and pastes.

Recently the company employed three Noack N 921 blister lines from Romaco that speed product changeovers and increase line efficiency. C.P.M. also added a Romaco Promatic cartoner that switches from continuous to intermittent operation.

The contract packager operates out of two facilities, in Feldkirchen-Westerham and Bruckmühl. At the latter site, each of the three Noack blister lines produce approximately 15 million blisters a year, the equivalent of 40 and 50 different orders a month.

Frequent product and batch changeovers are essential, so C.P.M. opted for a standardized line concept based on identical machines. Seamless compatibility from one machine to the next has the advantage that the various formats and tools required can be flexibly integrated into each of the Noack lines. That gives the company extra latitude when it comes to planning and utilizing production capacities efficiently.

Machine operators can work on all three blister lines without any additional training, as mechanical, software, and process parameters are transferable, which easies technical documentation. That standardization enables processes to be more quickly set up and validated than in the past. Shorter retooling times have increased system availability and improved the efficiency of the line concept.

“Our goal was to configure all three Romaco systems with the same format parameters,” says Hermann Brandstetter, responsible for project management tasks and technical coordination at C.P.M. “The ergonomic machine design also supports quick and easy format changeovers.”

Cartoner mode flexibility

For the first time, a Promatic PC 4200 horizontal-motion cartoner--that can switch between continuous and intermittent operation--has been integrated into one of the Noack blister lines at C.P.M. Such switching is recommended if blister stacks with 10 or more strips need processing. Intermittent destacking entails placing the blisters in the cartoner's bucket chain in two steps. The stacks are dropped from a lower height, making blisters easier to align and center. Moving between operating modes creates more stability and efficiency.

“The switchable cartoner mode is the outcome of our collaboration with Romaco,” says Brandstetter. “Together we came up with a way of making our packaging processes more reliable.”

C.P.M. alternates between continuous and intermittent cartoning four or five times a week on average. Low stacks are packed in continuous mode, while intermittent operation is preferred for high stacks. A maximum output of 230 folding cartons/min is achieved when the Romaco system is operated continuously or a maximum of 60 packs in intermittent mode.

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