Michele Leonardi, sales manager, Packaging Division for MG America, discusses some of the key trends shaping packaging equipment and the capabilities needed for today’s pharma/biopharma products. –KB
Contract Pharma: What pharma/biopharma trends are impacting packaging equipment needs?
Michele Leonardi: For the past few years, the pharma packaging machinery market has been heavily influenced by looming serialization mandates. Increasingly, manufacturers and CMOs are realizing that successful compliance requires the implementation of additional and/or updated pieces of equipment on each packaging line. With enforcement of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act approaching in November, we expect this trend to continue for the better part of 2018.
Also in 2018, the introduction of new products will inevitably continue to require increasingly sophisticated packaging lines. The opening of additional manufacturing sites, as well as the relocation or consolidation of others, also will generate new opportuneness for packaging equipment providers. Now as always, it’s all about matching machines to evolving needs.
CP: What capabilities are needed for today’s pharma/biopharma products?
ML: In the past, equipment lines were specifically dedicated to the packaging of a single format. Over the years, the industry has moved to handling different formats on the same packaging lines. MG America has responded to this by introducing equipment able to handle a vast array of formats, and designed with tool-free changeover features.
Also significant, has been the introduction of rules and regulations that impact general machine design, accessibility and ergonomics, as well as the logic and software controlling them. MG America has responded to these industry requirements, embracing the challenge and adapting the equipment to the increasingly strict parameters set by the pharmaceutical industry.
CP: Are there any specific challenges clients are looking to address?
1. More and more components (Dosing units, literature, coupons, etc…) per sellable unit (Robotic is helping solving this issue);
2. More and more products to run on each line (smaller batches for more SKU's);
3. Serialization requirement (customized equipment);
CP: What are some of the latest advances in packaging equipment?
ML: Robotic solutions are currently widely used, allowing for simpler, more compact and reliable handling/feeding of any kind of product, as well as connections between machines composing a line.
CP: What type of equipment is most in demand among clients?
In general: Compact footprint, reliable, high efficiency operations, flexibility, and wide format range. End-of-line equipment for serialization and aggregation are also “hot”. (MG America will exhibit an AGGREGATION READY side-load case-packer for cartons at Interphex, April 17-19, in New York).