Bosch Packaging Technology has helped Tabuk Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest drug manufacturers in the Middle East and North Africa, renew its pharmaceutical powder-filling line to improve capacity. The maker of branded generics and licensed pharmaceuticals had been using stand-alone machines for its processes, resulting in a maximum output of 60,000 vials per day. To meet rising market demand, change was in order.
Bosch was enlisted to develop a solution replacing all the separate units in Tabuk’s 450-sq-m production area. “Producing and packaging on stand-alone machines means that the production process is interrupted several times,” a Bosch spokesperson tells PMP News. “So to increase its output, Tabuk Pharmaceuticals decided to replace its existing stand-alone machines through new ones. However, this was not an easy task due to restricted space on-site. Bosch offered a solution that exactly matched the facility space available by combining all equipment to a line concept.”
Bosch delivered a system split into two parts to Dr. Hussein Mahmoud, Vice President of Tabuk’s plant operation. “The complete filling process is in one line of 6 x 19 meters, including washing machine, sterilization tunnel, filling machine, and capping machine, as well as the connections with the water for injection (WFI) systems. The second part of the line includes inspection and labeling,” the spokesperson says.
The powder-filling line includes the RRN 2053 washing machine; the HQL 3480 sterilization tunnel for cleaning, sterilizing, and depyrogenizing the containers; the AFG 3020 powder filling machine using vacuum-compressed air to fill powder into sterile injection vials without any dust; and the VRK 2005 capping machine.
Bosch also delivered the WFI processing system and the steam autoclave for sterilizing format parts of the filling machine in order to prevent contamination. The company also incorporated third-party technology inspecting vials for container and product integrity, and a labeling system.
The equipment has tripled Tabuk’s capacity. “It now is possible to achieve the requested amount of vials per day,” says the Bosch spokesperson. “Moreover, production is smoother since all process steps of the line are linked to each other and can be monitored from one central office.”
The main challenge was to “switch from the existing to the new equipment without too much downtime, since the new line was installed in exactly the same production building as the previous equipment,” the Bosch spokesperson tells PMP News. “Bosch set up a suitable replacement scenario. They planned and coordinated all activities for the reorganization of the production area and the fast track replacement of the process equipment. For Tabuk, this engineering and management services was a main decision criterion, as the company did not want to risk long downtime and hence a stop in production.”
By matching the machines for all process steps, Bosch was able to install “new equipment that is able to operate smoother and faster than the stand-alone machines resulting in a significant higher output.”
With production down for only eight weeks, Bosch met Tabuk’s goal to restart production in December 2014.