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Live from Interphex NY 2011: Day II

Packaging machinery, material developments merit attending trade shows such as Interphex.


The Pharmaceutical Pavilion at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 is already sold out, with approximately 40 pharmaceutical packaging machinery vendors set to exhibit equipment in a clearly defined area at the Sept. 26 – 28 show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Set up by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), the Pharmaceutical Pavilion will include a pharmaceutical lounge to better permit networking among pharmaceutical professionals throughout the supply chain. “Ask the Experts” sessions and social media will also be developed for pavilion attendees.

Why such attention to the pharmaceutical packaging community? “The specialty area will be a hub of pharmaceutical processing and packaging solutions providers. Located in the Central Hall, it will be easy to find and a clear starting point for attendees searching for solutions in the pharmaceutical arena,” said Charles D. Yuska, president & CEO, PMMI, when announcing the pavilion earlier this year.

During a press briefing March 30 at Interphex, this editor spoke with a PMMI spokesperson who said that pharmaceutical sector professionals represented one of the three largest attendee groups at Pack Expo. The Pharmaceutical Pavilion illustrates an intensified level of customer service that Pack Expo/PMMI refers to as “customer-centric.”

Seeing packaging equipment, such as the Famar blister thermoformer shown with this article and distributed in the U.S. by MG America, is always a highlight when attending packaging trade shows.

As is often the case, some of the equipment exhibited at the show is already sold. At the Groninger USA booth, for example, a vial filling/capping system was shown via video that was already running at United Therapeutics. The Silver Spring, MD company was the focus of “Aseptic Processing Facility Design and Machine Integration: A Unique Case Study,” tour by Interphex/Integrated Project Services. The tour also stopped at several other Interphex exhibitor booths whose products were part of the packaging line at United Therapeutics. Another example: At the Robert Bosch Packaging Technology booth, a GKF 2500 ASB capsule machine was labeled as going to Halo Pharma in NJ.

An eye-opening press briefing this editor attended was with Charles Roberson of Product Animations, who discussed the training benefits of animation. Through the use of digital photography and videos taken of packaging machinery, the company develops models of that equipment that vividly demonstrate how to set up, change over, and manipulate virtually any part of any packaging machine “to promote performance efficiency by providing operators of manufacturing and packaging machines with the visual best practice standard operating procedures,” according to that company’s Web site.

The “live from Interphex” videos on the Healthcare Packaging Web site demonstrate several of the machines in action during Interphex New York. But innovation certainly isn’t limited to machinery.

As many savvy pharmaceutical pros know, sometimes it pays to see what’s going on with consumer product packaging and see if aspects of that packaging make sense in the pharmaceutical venue. As Constantia Flexibles explained during a booth visit, a Scandinavian liquid yogurt product closure helped inspire Constantia to develop a system that’s not yet commercial. Fitting into a closure, a consumer/user could open the cap and dispense just one or two pills or tablets through a small hole in the liner, preventing excess product from falling out.

Whether material or machine, packaging innovation is alive and well. So allocating money to a trade show, either as an exhibitor, and/or as an attendee, can generate ideas that can provide a solid return on investment.

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