Today it is a well-known truth that pharmaceutical manufacturing is becoming less efficient. Small batch sizes are and will be the trend on the horizon. The primary reasons for this is the rise of personalized medicine. The regulations (stated by the WHO) also requires that all pharmaceutical products shall be serialized and the local market has their specific packaging requirements. A true challenge!
Personalized medicine increases
The pharmaceutical industry is changing at an unprecedented rate. While small molecule drugs dominated in the past, today’s treatments count much more complex compounds.
For years, the “one size fits all” approach had been the standard in the healthcare industry and while some therapies worked for certain patients, they did not work for others. However, today, medicine is getting more personalized and medical treatments are now tailored to smaller patient groups.
Exploring new ways of pharmaceutical production
The traditional production systems are not flexible enough to meet the growing demand for small batches. The high-speed packaging lines are inefficient for packing drugs in small volumes due to the long changeover times. Thepackaging machines stand more still than they are up and running.
In response to the growing complexity of pharma products and the volatile market conditions, manufacturers are exploring new ways to operate more efficiently.
“The bright stock” alternative
One way to increase efficiency is to separate the high volume production line from the final packaging and labeling. This is referred to as “bright stock” manufacturing which means that products are efficiently produced in large batches and stored for future labelling and case packing. This can, however, lead to expensive warehousing costs and it also demands a correct forecasting.
“The short changeover time” alternative
Another way to increase efficiency is to shift focus from high production speed to short changeover time in- between batches. This alternative has the potential to lower the cost per unit, reduce downtime and start-up times. It also reduces the time-to-market.
Packaging lines that can realize a close-to-zero changeover time has the highest overall equipment efficiency on the market.
Graniten, a global leader in automation solutions, has been fast to respond to these trends in the pharma industry. They offer efficient, flexible, and fully automated packaging systems for small batch production. This enables manufacturers to significantly cut changeover time to, making the equipment perfectly suited for running several different orders.
The new era of pharmaceutical packaging machines
We asked Marielle Andersson, Test and Validation Engineer at Graniten, to tell a little bit more about the packaging machines that Graniten develops and produces.
“We have different sorts of Casepacker-Palletizers. The uniqueness with this design is the small footprint, that it has few moving parts. It is also extremely flexible regarding incoming products and packaging patterns. We also have the Flexline packaging platform that can handle packaging of vials, bottles, syringes, auto injectors etc. The customers invest in a product that are very flexible to their needs and truly modular for future needs” says Marielle.