As active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) become stronger the amounts needed for effective treatment are falling. As a result drug volumes are being reduced, forcing process developers to find efficient ways of handling fiddly and fragile containers.
ESS’ extended Monoblock system has been developed to address just this problem, according to company spokeswoman Kim Norris.
She told in-PharmaTechnologist that the firm had been approached by an industrial customer asking for a platform capable of filling and sealing 13mm diameter bottles with 1.5ml of a liquid diagnostic reagent, an operation that could not be run effectively with existing technology.
ESS’ solution was to integrate a bottle feeder, star wheel and infeed conveyor into the line to orient the bottles upright and move to a conveyor sized to keep the bottles upright as they moved to the filling station.
The small bottle handling capabilities that ESS developed are now being applied as standard across the firm’s Monoblock range.
Norris explained that: “The key benefit to the small bottle infeed system is the precise and accurate feeding of bottles into the high speed filler and capper. Small PET bottles are very light, and the minute footprint makes them very likely to topple over in the infeed before they are under precise control.”
She went on to say that proper infeeding allows the system to be run at optimum efficiency and reduces any potential bottle damage, thereby cutting down on waste and lowering the risk of production line contamination.
Norris added that the system, which is already being used by a major pharmaceutical firm, can be applied to pharmaceutical industry applications that require the precise handling of small amounts of a liquid drug or diagnostic reagent.