Sterilization, integrity testing, anti-counterfeiting, logistics and supplier sourcing remain top concerns of packaging professionals at healthcare product manufacturing companies, based on page views during 2018 at PackagingDigest.com.
Our countdown of the half-dozen pharma/medical device top articles of the year starts with glass vials, which still represent about one-third of the glass packaging market share for pharmaceuticals. The purity of glass makes it a go-to packaging material for many drugs that are sensitive to contact-contamination. According to Grand View Research, “The global pharmaceutical glass packaging market size was estimated at US$12.84 billion in 2016. It is projected to witness a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 6.3% from 2017 to 2025.”
Kyle Hoff, applications engineering manager at Corning, describes three differences in the company’s new Valor Glass for pharmaceutical vials launched in 2017.
1. A different “network former” creates an aluminosilicate glass by eliminating boron from the composition. “Boron used in conventional glass volatizes during vial manufacturing creating different glass chemistry in the drug-contacting region of the container, which can lead to chemical attack and glass flake (lamellae) formation,” Hoff says. “The aluminosilicate glass does not have boron, so the volatilization mechanism does not occur, leading to a uniform and chemically durable glass chemistry on the entire inside of every Valor container.”
2. To increase the strength of the container, Corning opted for an “ion exchange” for a stronger glass. “It is a simple concept—ions exchange out of glass into a salt bath to reach equilibrium,” he explains. “We added a large ion, leading to higher compression strength.”
3. For damage resistance, an external coating with a low coefficient of friction minimizes glass particles from shedding and wearing away components on filling lines, and maximizes manufacturing throughput because the vials slide past each other.
NEXT: Leveling about logistics