End-of-line packaging may seem simple, as there is a wide range of equipment available on the market. However, in the pharmaceutical industry packaging is a critical part of the manufacturing process, and special attention must be given to ensuring that the often-valuable products are properly marked and packed. We developed a combination case-packer/palletizer (EoL) for American boxes with some specific requirements.
We had to overcome several obstacles with this machinery solution. Because the client is in the pharmaceutical industry, hygienic design and meticulous labelling and tracking features were crucial. The use of robots was key to successfully completing the mission.
The end-of-line packers are produced and sold by Graniten and have been a success story with a number of installations at well-known pharmaceutical companies.
The order had a number of requirements. It had to be possible to quickly clean the solution at batch changes and line clearances. This is done by hygienic design and by minimizing the use of mechanical parts. The use of robots replaced the need for complicated mechanics. It also allowed the format changeover to be mainly program-controlled, reducing the action time to a matter of minutes.
The use of robots replaced the need for complicated mechanics
Furthermore, there was a need for flexibility in terms of packaging patterns. A robot builds a product pattern before loading the complete contents into the shipper box. This enables almost any pattern to be configured, even in the future.
Another requirement was the labelling and marking inspection. Box marking is crucial for product security. New markets and regulations need new versions of markings. Often there is need for more than one marking on a shipper box. By using robots for box handling, the labelling and marking control can be carried out at any position on the shipper box.
Increasingly more markets require high product security by uniquely marking each product. During packaging with aggregation, all individual markings are registered and stored. Most available packaging equipment comes with such systems. The EoL is open to the integration of any Track & Trace system.
The Track & Trace system is one example of new requirements that can require more equipment in an existing production line. Keeping in mind the constant struggle for factory floor space, the packaging equipment is designed to have a small footprint.