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    Dividella NeoTOP toploading vaccine packaging lines from Körber

    products-servicesKörber Pharma Packaging
    August 2nd 2021

    Körber has seen intense demand for the highly efficient packaging of vaccines in vials since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, with at least 15 vial packaging lines supplied over the past 12 months.

    The modularity and scalability of Dividella NeoTOP toploading packaging lines, along with their 100% monomaterial packaging material/cartoning, have made them ideal in responding to the challenges in vaccine vial packaging at unprecedented speed and scale.

    Looking further ahead, the same modularity and adaptability also make the Dividella NeoTOP ideal for responding to calls for supply of vaccines in pre-filled syringes to support global vaccine programs, as well as the more general trend towards parenteral administration in pens, autoinjectors, etc.

    Vaccine packaging challenges

    Vaccine manufacturers in North America, Europe, India, Russia, China and elsewhere have so far concentrated their packaging on little glass vials, typically 10 ml vials, for shipping and distribution to injection sites.

    This vial-centric response to the CV-19 vaccine challenge has raised some particular issues, including lack of supply of glass vial bottles in general and sterilized empty vials in particular in the early stages of the vaccine roll out from November 2020. Regulators have been reluctant to authorize vaccine packaging in plastic vials as a response.

    The coronavirus emergency has also placed a premium on toploading vial packaging that can be performed within highly controlled temperature and sterilized environments and at very high speeds to meet global demand for at least 20 billion doses. At the same time, this vial packaging has to be performed with very high precision in feeding, handling and cartoning, with no spare capacity for wastage.

    The scale of the vaccine response and number of vials to be packaged also places a premium on monomaterial card and paper based parenteral cartoning solutions that are inherently far more cost-effective and sustainable, with ever-lower global tolerance to plastic packaging in general.

    Feeding and handling adaptability

    Like all systems and solutions from Körber, the feeding and monomaterial toploading packaging systems from Grabs Switzerland embrace modular design and engineering to deliver standardization and customization.

    The power of the Dividella NeoTOP cartoning solutions is in vaccine vial and medical vial packaging enhanced by modular feeding systems that allow packaging lines to be optimized and tailored for all packaging formats and objects.

    This begins with feeding (bringing various elements of the whole package to the production process in exactly the correct order and orientation) and extends to loading (the filling of a package with its contents and inserts).

    These feeding modules can be selected to support Top Loading or side loading of sensitive parenterals, including vials, syringes, pens, and auto injectors, or side loading of contents. In the case of the new Dividella NeoTRAY solution, both can be effected simultaneously.

    Modular concepts

    Modular design means that different feeding elements can be incorporated at will within the overall Dividella NeoTOP or Dividella NeoTRAY system to support any combination of needs, ranging from specific types of vial packaging formats to a wide range of different medicinal products and devices, parenterals or solid forms.

    Modular design also recognizes an environment in which requirements and regulations can change rapidly and radically, bringing need for significant reorientations in the production process. For example, it only requires addition of a single module to reconfigure a Dividella NeoTOP line from vial packaging to support either vial and/or syringe package production.

    These advantages work together to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Total Cost of Package (TCP).

    The modular concept will also prove vital in responding to future vaccine challenges in allowing Körber’s machines to adapt to handle syringes, mainly prefilled syringes or combipacks of medication vial plus syringe that will be required to support truly global vaccine administration programs.

    Körber’s solutions will allow just that in allowing ‘plug and play’ scale up or retrofit of a machine installed packaging vials by swapping the vial feeding module for syringe feed or extending the machine to package user selection of vials (including amber vials, autosampler vials, chemistry vials, sample vials, or serum vials), along with syringes, pens, or autoinjectors, thanks to multipurpose feeding and loading modules and highly adaptable monomaterial packaging formats.

    Körber feeding technologies

    One of the key challenges in parenteral packaging is to devise a feeding system that will apply gentle yet flexible handling for fragile items such as syringes, glass vials, pens, soft blisters etc. In this area Körber is able to apply a very wide range of feeding technologies.

    These include:

    • Prefilled Syringe Inserter: Syringes are delivered horizontally through a PUCK system for top or side loading.
    • Pen Insertion: A PUCK system delivers pens or Injectors standing vertically upright for top loading.
    • Syringes in trays: Syringes are pre-loaded into trays for delivery to the relevant feed-in inserting station.
    • Ampoule Infeed: Standing Ampoules are delivered via a feeding table to the ‘pick and place’ handling units
    • Standing Vial Insertion: Pick and place handling stations insert vials into open cartons.
    • Booklet Insertion: Booklets or pre-folded leaflets are inserted into the completed package prior to sealing

    Feeding is a particular challenge for fragile items such as prefilled syringes, small glass vials, pens and soft blisters. Here, Körber is able to apply a very wide range of feeding technologies and customized solution linked to upstream machines. New modular feeding system based on Körber’s many years’ experience of object handling allow up to 500 objects per minute to be aligned, spread and individually checked before insertion into the packaging line.

    Apart from the actual pharmaceutical products, placing inserts can present major challenges. The handling of inserts is a critical area, especially in the case of high-output machines such as the Dividella NeoTOP 804, which can produce up to 240 packs per minute. Körber has developed a wide range of scalable feeding systems for this purpose. Consequently, very large, thick inserts can be fed in at full speed, using minimum labor.

    Prefilled syringes

    Körber’s modular and highly flexible/adaptable monomaterial packaging platforms support are ideally suited to economical and efficient packaging of parenteral products, including the whole range of prefilled syringe types.

    Körber’s latest toploading solutions cater to pharmaceutical manufacturers looking to produce small batches – down to individual units – more efficiently with support for semi and fully automatic packaging of vaccine and medicine vials, syringes, auto-injectors and other parenteral products, even down to applying product labels to syringes.

    Over recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has increasingly embraced pre-filled syringes as a more user-friendly delivery format for parenteral drugs and vaccines, simple to handle and with minimal risk of spillage, contamination or, crucially, dosage error.

    This trend has been accelerated by the greater prevalence of biotech products with their greater therapeutic effect but whose active ingredients are frequently too unstable to be incorporated into solid-dose tablets or capsules. More than 90% of these products are therefore packaged as liquids in syringes, medical vials or ampoules.

    The most effective packing solutions for prefilled syringes therefore need to support highly flexible packaging schemes that can handle a wide range of different items and formats while at the same time providing sensitive handling and optimal product protection and delivering the flexibility for ‘on demand’ manufacturing that includes small, medium and large lot sizes. Körber has been able to show how a monomaterial syringe carton formed on its Dividella NeoTOP toploading solution can out-perform a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) blister pack and attendant end-load carton.

    There are further functional advantages from adopting a top-loading format, such as ease of access, immediate presentation of entire contents for user, better integration of patient literature or user labelling, superior integration of disparate elements such as additional needles and small vials, more evident tamper protection and ease of reclosure.

    Resources

    Click on Flexible Feeding Systems  to find out more.
    Click on Prefilled syringe packing for more information.

    Dividella NeoTOP toploading vaccine packaging lines from Körber

    Dividella NeoTOP x packaging machine for 100% MONOMATERIAL top-load cartons

    Dividella NeoTOP toploading vaccine packaging lines from Körber

    Monomaterial top-load cartons are formed from space-saving flat blanks

    Dividella NeoTOP toploading vaccine packaging lines from Körber

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