The U.S. Government’s Operation Warp Speed has been tasked with increasing domestic production capacity of safety needles and syringes. Meeting projected COVID-19 surge demand means these producers must rapidly scale supply inventories far in excess of routine healthcare consumption levels. Harpak-ULMA’s thermoforming platforms, robotic loaders and case packing automation are ideal for urgent, time-sensitive programs such as Operation Warp Speed that demand swift deployment, maximum scalability and extreme throughput. The company was already deploying its solutions to support COVID testing kits (swabs, vials, etc.)
Harpak-ULMA’s thermoforming and flow-wrapping platforms offer the highest throughput available, employ a variety of tooling to maximize flexibility, and utilize a modular design that allows rapid component substitution to meet unique configuration requests. Harpak-ULMA's end-to-end solutions incorporate both high-speed autoloading and secondary packaging automation, a key consideration for commissioning a high-speed medical packaging line in the shortest possible time frame. Human productivity is another consideration, impacting both scalability and time to market. Even in highly automated environments, accelerated learning curves for operators and maintenance teams have a direct impact on meeting such aggressive throughput expectations. Harpak-ULMA’s recently announced Augmented Reality capabilities, which result in rapid and quantifiable improvement in staff work instructions execution, was a key selection consideration for one of the multiple producers involved in the initiative. The company’s AR capabilities are founded in Rockwell Automations’ Allen Bradley (AB) automation controls and PTC’s Vuforia suite. Employing AB controls helps to assure widespread compatibility with many producers' corporate IT standards, as well as ubiquitous parts and service availability – both key to rapid adoption and scalability.
The company expects its platforms will be commissioned over the coming months, as these producers ramp safety syringe production to meet potential demand related to COVID-19 vaccine production. “We are focused on helping numerous producers address the critical need for medical supplies brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kevin Roach, Chief Executive Officer of Harpak-ULMA. “Our involvement highlights the significant role of packaging in life sciences and our ability to quickly enable manufacturers to scale production at the highest levels of quality demanded in the medical device industry through advanced technologies.”