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Articles from 2016 In October

Rotary filler access and changeover improved

Rotary filler access and changeover improved
Improved access makes cleaning, maintenance and tool-free changeovers faster and easier on this rotary filler.

This stainless steel Rotary Filler has been redesigned with a smaller, streamlined base of support with full access to the drive system and change parts. The improved access makes cleaning, maintenance and changeovers faster and easier; all changeovers are tool-free. The high-speed system accepts rigid containers for a variety of dry products including spices and infant formula.

Clear Plexiglas doors run from the top of the machine to the floor to provide a clear barrier. When opened, the Plexiglas permits ample and easy machine access.

The filler’s patented detachable, no contamination magnetic funnels allow for quick cleaning and changeover.  Other features and benefits:

•             Independent vibration rails are isolated from the rest of the machine to enhance accuracy and reducing vibration-related mechanical complications;

•             Servo-driven timing screw, star wheel and turret change parts can be removed and cleaned quickly without tools; all driven by servo motors so timing functions can be set up electronically;

•             Augers can be raised, turned and lowered on the outside area of the filler for easy cleaning and to change tooling.

Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery (, Pack Expo Booth N-5436

Pharma and medical packaging technologies on display

Pharma and medical packaging technologies on display
Photo courtesy of Dara via NJM Packaging. NJM is the exclusive sales agent for Dara in the USA and Canada.

Pharmaceutical and medical packaging solutions will be on display at Pack Expo International 2016 and the co-located Pharma Expo, a joint venture with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), at McCormick Place in Chicago November 6–9. The event is produced by PMMI, The Association for Processing and Packaging Technologies. 

Twenty-seven associations are partnering with Pack Expo and four with Pharma Expo, along with 11 International Pavilion Organizers. One partner, the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC), will highlight the latest technical advancements in patient adherence packaging designs and materials. HCPC’s Compliance Package of the Year program winners will be included in the Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by Dow and featuring winning packages from a number of competitions.

In addition, ISPE will host a dedicated conference program at Pharma Expo on manufacturing operations, compliance trends, and pharmaceutical packaging. 

Several exhibitors will display the latest technologies in pharmaceutical and medical device packaging. For instance, NJM Packaging will be showing the new Dara Moduline Model NFL, a Nest Filling Line inside an isolator (shown above). The new system integrates Dara’s aseptic fill-and-finish system with Getinge La Calhene’s isolator technology for a Class 100 cleanroom environment when operating the system in a Class 100,000 cleanroom. By designing the top plate of the filler into the isolator and manufacturing them simultaneously rather than sequentially, Dara speeds delivery and reduces capital costs. According to NJM, Moduline is a family of compact and modular solutions for filling liquids and powders into vials, syringes, and cartridges at speeds of up to 100 units per minute in a footprint only 1150 mm (45 in.) wide and 3200 mm (126 in.) long. It doses volumes from 0.1 to 100 ml for liquids and from 2 to 1500 mg for powders while maintaining an accuracy of +/- 0.5%. Suited for small-scale clinical trials and mass production of a wide range of pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals including lyophilized products, Moduline ensures the safety of both product and people during the filling process. The Model NFL combines a decontamination module, which accommodates nests or trays of prepackaged ready-to-use (RTU) vials, with a vial filling/stoppering/capping module. NJM Packaging,

Visit Booth # S-3805 and W-703

Click to the next page to learn about a serialized blister/pharmaceutical cartoning solution from MGS Machine and Pharmaworks  

Serialized Blister/Pharmaceutical Cartoning Solution

MGS Machine and Pharmaworks will be exhibiting an integrated blister cartoning and thermoforming line in Booth W-738. Click here to see video of the line in action. MGS Machine Corp., and Pharmaworks,

Visit Booth #W-738

Click to the next page to learn about CCL Healthcare's Ascending Temperature Excursion Indicator Label


Ascending Temperature Excursion Indicator Label

A patented low-cost label features a highly reliable and validated chemical reaction to clearly indicate a temperature excursion beyond the designed threshold. The label indicates the temperature excursion by changing the indicator section from a white dot to a red dot or an appearing red human readable message such as “Do Not Use.” The label can be bought as a stock secondary label or printed as part of a primary custom label. When printed as a primary label, a custom human readable message or image will appear through printed product text without hindering the performance of the indicator or the functionality of the products label. The company states that the price point is much lower than that of electronic competitors. CCL Healthcare,

Visit Booth #W-445

Click to the next page to learn about labeling and cartoning equipment from Marchesini Group


Labeling and Cartoning

Marchesini Group will exhibit two stand-alone machines for the American market. The new BL A420 CW labeler (shown above) for Track & Trace requirements was developed by Neri, a division of Marchesini Group specializing in carton labeling and tracking machinery. A completely integrated load cell in its stepper conveyance system controls the weight of each carton; according to the company, this system is much more compact than the classic solution in which the weighing unit is coupled in-line and more compact than competitive solutions with weighing units with their own conveyance system and independent from that of the labeling machine. By integrating the load cell into the toothed belt system of the BL A420 CW, the unit is able to verify the position of the cartons at all times. If the weight is correct, the product proceeds through subsequent processes (serialization, marking, and sealing) then to the next machine. If the weight is incorrect, the subsequent processes are skipped and the carton is rejected, according to the “fail-safe” operating logic. All types of printing and vision systems can be installed on BL A420 CW. The BL A420 CW will be backed by cartoner model MA 80, developed for flexibility, ergonomics, and speed. The new MA 80 can process up to 120 cartons a minute, while the previous version could run 80 per minute. Marchesini Group,

Visit Booth #W-743

Click to the next page to learn how Optima Pharma is employing Virtual Reality


Virtual Reality

Optima Pharma will highlight pharmaceutical turnkey projects in 3-D using virtual reality. The exhibit will include large systems that Optima Pharma has implemented, for example, for filling and sealing under an isolator. In combination with freeze drying, various processing paths are available, which can be used in parallel. Sterile processing systems for syringes, vials, and diagnostic products will be shown in 3-D, as will the latest machine type: the Optima MultiUse filling and closing machine for processing nested and bulk containers. The modular system can process all types of nested syringe, vial, and cartridge formats and is equipped with an innovative transport system that processes large vial ranges at production rates of up to 150 products per minute without the need to change format parts. Also shown in 3-D will be the Optima TDC 125 from Optima Life Science, a machine for making all conventional transdermal patches and oral film strips on a laboratory or small production scale. Optima Pharma and Optima Life Science,

Visit Booth #N-6121 and #W-731

Click to the next page to learn about Mettler-Toledo's new checkweigher



The Mettler Toledo XS2 MV TE checkweigher performs four different brand protection and product safety functions. The system completes accurate checkweighing of packages weighing up to 300 g, then prints 2-D DataMatrix codes and verifies their presence and legitimacy, and prints unique item serial numbers for regulatory compliance. It then applies tamper-evident seals and visually inspects their presence and positioning with machine vision. Products not completely complying with any of these processes are rejected into locked bins to ensure they do not proceed and potentially enter commerce. DataMatrix and serial number codes can be printed using ink-jet or laser printing and verified by machine vision inspection immediately after printing. The XS2 MV TE has been designed to function with a wide range of available marking and camera systems to give end-users the option to choose components from suppliers already approved as “trusted partners.” The system also features very precise mechanical product handling units and extremely reliable marking, verification, and sorting devices that have been designed to process high production volumes with no negative effect on existing line operating equipment effectiveness and overall line efficiency. In addition, all components, including checkweighing, ink jet printing or laser marking systems, high-resolution verification cameras, mechanical transfer units and sorting devices, have been finely tuned to work in perfect unison to meet global serialization, E-Pedigree, and Track & Trace legal requirements and specifications. Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed,

Visit Booth #S-1700 and #W-637

Click to the next page to learn about Romaco Group's strip packaging machine


Strip Packaging Machine

Romaco North America will feature a compact eight-lane, balcony-style strip packaging machine capable of processing thousands of tablets or capsules per minute. The Romaco Siebler HM 1-230 heat-sealing machine packs pharmaceutical solids in air-, light-, and moisture-tight strip packaging. Configured with eight-lane product feeding, the compact, balcony-style machine processes up to 3200 tablets or 1800 capsules per minute. The rotary sealing system features thin-walled, detachable format sets that heat up rapidly and guarantee extremely precise temperature distribution on the sealing surfaces. And strip packaging can be made in different geometries if needed. Round or clover-leaf shaped packaging also is possible, too, as are standard rectangular forms. Siebler also offers highly flexible solutions for transferring the strips to a downstream Romaco Promatic cartoner. The Romaco Group,

Visit Booth #W-691

Click to the next page to learn about a full-color blister printing system from Hapa

Full-Color Blister Printing System

At Pack Expo, Hapa will premiere the BlisterJet CMYK (shown in the picture), the UV DOD piezo ink-jet printing system for full-color printing on blank blisters in a CMYK application process. According to the company, the new system drives opportunities in new blister design and product differentiation. In addition, alongside the BlisterJet CMYK, Hapa will exhibit a concept for printing foil in two colors, a modular, UV DOD system. Other Hapa printing systems will be displayed around the show: At Mediseal, an integrated, stand-mounted UV-DOD WebJet will be shown, and at Pharmaworks, a top-mounted 230 UV-flexo, printing system will be shown. And a Gottscho GO-Flex is in action at ACGPamPac. Hapa Ink, which develops and produces individual inks designed to exact client specifications for all foil substrates, plastic, aluminum, or labeling material of any kind, will also be at the show. The division can accommodate orders for any volume of ink, no matter how small. Hapa,

Visit Booth #S-2501

Click to the next page to learn about filling equipment from Cozzoli

Filling Equipment

Cozzoli Machine Co. will be featuring the following filling equipment: the FSV50 Mini Monoblock, the Versa-Fil Rotary Time/Pressure Filler, and the RPF Rotary Piston Filler. Tabletop equipment designed for laboratories and smaller production facilities will also be shown. The FSV50 Mini Monoblock processes vials in laboratory, clinical production locations, or other areas with limited space. Designed for use in a cleanroom with hood isolation and laminar flow in mind, the machine fills liquids or powders and then stoppers or caps the containers at speeds up to 50 vials per minute. It can suit a range of vial sizes from 1 to 100 ml. The Versa-Fil Time/Pressure Filler handles heavy viscosity food products as well as personal care products. Developments in nozzle design technology enable efficient filling of lighter products such as saline solutions, cough medicines, and barbecue sauces. The RPF Rotary Piston Filler handles a wide range of containers and products of most viscosities at high production speeds of 600+ per minute. Cozzoli Machine Co.,

Visit Booth #S-2142

For more details about the show, visit and


Immersion emphasizes end-user needs in healthcare

Immersion emphasizes end-user needs in healthcare
The Healthcare Packaging Immersion Event at MSU simulated an infectious disease outbreak. Image provided by MSU.

Packaging conferences typically don’t take attendees outside their comfort zones. Unless, of course, it’s the Healthcare Packaging Immersion Event. Held at Michigan State University (MSU) October 12-13, the two-day conference immersed attendees in slightly stressful simulations that encouraged them to re-examine how end-users interact with healthcare packaging. Faculty and students from the MSU School of Packaging, the Learning and Assessment Center, three of four medical colleges on campus at MSU, and even the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection joined FDA and industry to offer different perspectives on packaging’s role in infectious disease treatment, geriatric care, and other scenarios.

During day one, attendees were asked to don N95 masks during a simulation in which an audience member “fell ill,” potentially from an infectious disease that had just been “reported” on campus. The “patient” was whisked away and treated by paramedics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) suits. The audience watched a video feed of healthcare professionals as they struggled to see, hear, talk, and open packages while wearing the bulky suits. The participants then came together for a panel discussion. 

Participant Amy Crisp, MSN RN, told the audience that it was hard to open packages with small tabs or flaps while wearing PPE suits.  

Another participant, Kim Loomis, MSN RN, added that PPE gloves are one-size-fits-all, making dexterity hard for professionals with small hands. She also added that one “can’t hear and the temperature increased” inside the suits, further complicating the situation. “With a mask and a shield, you can’t see, and there’s a lot of reflection and heat and no airflow,” she said.

And with gloves on, “you lose tactile [feel],” she added. While opening sterile packages, “it’s challenging to know how much force is needed to open [them],” she said. “If it rips, I may need to bring in more products.” She also asked the audience to consider “the organization of a kit and how the nurse will remove items from it.”

Francie Pouch Downes, an MSU professor who joined the panel and dons the gear to run laboratory tests on collected samples, explained that “the face shield can make reading nearly impossible.” She asked for “larger and darker” fonts that aren’t fancy, and Crisp asked for text “printed on a contrasting background.”

Downes also added that suited lab technicians also need to maintain sterility when handling specimens, so they, too, face challenges when opening packages such as bottles and tubes of reagents.

When asked how often healthcare professionals wear PPE during their day-to-day jobs, participant Brent Davenport, a firefighter and paramedic who serves as a HAZMAT team leader, said use is “infrequent enough that we aren’t completely comfortable with the gear.” However, “if I‘m interacting with your product all the time, I’m familiar with how to use it. Even if I can’t feel it or see it, I know how to open it.” He spoke of being frustrated with changes in suppliers or packaging. 

Davenport expressed a preference for universally designed packaging. He spoke of situations for which they cannot anticipate the equipment they would need, so it would be helpful for packaging to be designed to be easy to use in all environments.

After the panel discussion, two audience members volunteered to don PPE suits for a few moments. They, too, spoke of the challenges hearing and seeing.

To further provide the audience with a suited healthcare worker’s perspective, MSU HUB researcher Eric Estrada wore a GoPro inside a PPE suit and attempted to open packages. The footage showed how humidity building up on the inside of the PPE shield impaired vision, making it difficult to see and handle products and packaging and to communicate with others. 

The simulation, GoPro footage, and panel discussion prepared the audience for the evening’s keynote speaker, Commander Mary Brooks, RN, BSN, MS, U.S. Public Health Service and Senior Lead Reviewer for FDA’s CDRH. She spoke about treating patients in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. She and members of her team received extensive training for suiting up and treating patients in a manner that would protect healthcare workers and patients from cross contamination.

Simulation participants struggled to open packages while wearing PPE suits. Image provided by MSU.

Day two’s simulation explored a very different situation: aging. Just before lunch, attendees were given immersive devices for use during the break. These included vision-restricting glasses to mimic eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and others as well as braces and canes to limit mobility and dexterity. 

While explaining the exercise, Laura Bix, Professor and ‎Associate Director at the MSU School of Packaging, said that the “healthcare system is changing to put the patient at the center, moving from piecemeal procedural reimbursement . . . to systems tied more directly to health outcomes.” Such changes mean that product development is moving from “product-centered design toward user-centered design.” One of the drivers, she said, is maintaining the health of the aging population.

Attendees then navigated a buffet lunch while wearing their immersive devices and were asked to open child-resistant medicine bottles and complete a written questionnaire. Attendees later spoke of struggling to serve themselves from the buffet and of difficulties in seeing and conversing with others and opening bottles. A few attendees described feeling “isolated,” and some said they helped others. 

After lunch, Bix told the audience that “packaging can be the difference between living independently and living assistedly. If you can keep patients living independently, it is more affordable, even if the packaging costs $1 more.”

The lunchtime immersion was followed by presentations and a panel discussion on home health and geriatrics. Speaker Erin Sarzynski, MD MS, MSU Assistant Professor, gerontology, encouraged attendees to consider the needs of senior patients, pointing out this article: “Are seniors top of mind when you design your packages?” 

Focusing on home care is essential, because the “future is outside of acute care,” added speaker Linda Keilman, DNP, GNP—BC, MSU Assistant Professor and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. “Hospitals are too expensive.”

Also, “patients want to be home . . . and maintain their quality of life,” she continued. “If people get ‘wrap rage’ when trying to get something out of a package, they won’t buy your equipment.” Some specific packaging suggestions she offered included use of bigger fonts, symbols, and color as well as opening features that require the use of a lateral pinch. “Less strength and dexterity is required,” she explained.

“It doesn’t work if you can’t get into it,” she said. 

Easy-to-use packaging could keep patients at home, especially after returning from a hospital stay. Sarzynski explained that she routinely works with patients in hospitals and says that “if there is any hope of their going home, they will need a caregiver to manage dressing changes and medications,” and they’ll need “easy-to-use packaging.”

Keilman listed a number of healthcare products often used at home, such as medications and products for wound care, catheterization, and GI stoma. The latter is a “really huge area because it is hard to get bags out of containers and not contaminate them,” she said. Other packaged products include oxygen and IV tubing, supplies for patients on respirators, and braces for shoulders, wrists, and knees. It is important for family members serving as caregivers to not spread infection, so improvements in glove and tissue dispensers would be helpful, too, she added.

“We need to cut costs of healthcare and improve quality. You are in the driver’s seat, because you can change healthcare with packaging,” she told the audience.

Debra Lindstrom, PhD, OT, Professor, Western Michigan University, told the audience that it is difficult for patients to get the same coverage for supplies in the home as they would in the hospital. When the panel was asked what could change that, Keilman told the audience to “do research. If you can prove packaging doesn’t cause wrap rage or cause secondary injuries, decreases frustration, and increases well-being. . .if you can prove something works, [payers] will be willing to pay.

“I sit on a CMS committee, and part of our hope is that baby boomers are outspoken,” Keilman continued. “But we don’t have numbers or statistics. CMS says we need numbers and to see outcomes. So do your focus groups and write it up. They didn’t cover wheelchairs before, so there’s hope, and we should try.”

Coverage for products that help improve health outcomes appears to be consistent with the mission of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which speaker Randolph Rasch described as transitioning the U.S. healthcare system from a “pay-for-service to a pay-for-outcomes” approach. Rasch, Dean of the MSU College of Nursing, said that the ACA focuses on “wellness, prevention, minimizing repetition, and reducing costs.” He noted that patients today are in the hospital a shorter time and then have to go home and manage their care. “Most of our care is moving into the community,” he said.

Regarding home healthcare, he suggested packaging products in ways that make them easier to use, but don’t cost more.

Such perspectives along with the simulations demonstrated the importance of researching how users interact with packaging, a topic explored by Shannon Hoste, Human Factors Pre-Market Evaluation Team Member in FDA’s CDRH. Speaking on human factors, Hoste said that it is “relatively new that we’ve been asking about it in PMAs,” but it “is part of design controls and part of the development process for packaging and labeling.

"The user interface [needs to] support safe and effective use. User error is considered a nonconformity,” she said.

Hoste advised attendees to determine “the critical tasks for packaging” and then “design a human factors study to look at critical tasks and simulate end use.” The study is “a dry run for your products to see what could go wrong,” she said. 

Other speakers examined healthcare packaging trends, challenges, and solutions. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Overall, Bix hopes that [healthcare] would move from “a system of fragmented siloed processes . . . to a comprehensive system that puts the patient at the center of everything.” 

New cold form foil reduces material use, offers alternative to other formats

New cold form foil reduces material use, offers alternative to other formats
A wide array of shapes and packages with FormFoil Lite

To help cold-form foil users minimize cost as well as carbon footprint, Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. is introducing FormFoil Lite, a next-generation product that’s developed from its long-standing FormFoil. FormFoil Lite features half the thickness of a traditional cold-form foil, specifically 1 mil of aluminum instead of the typical 2 mil. The thinner material not only allows users to downgauge from thicker cold form foil packages—it also requires less energy for forming, further reducing cost and carbon footprint. And it could even offer an alternative to other packaging formats, the company reports.

One FormFoil Lite user, a manufacturer of sutures, reduced its “environmental footprint and lowered costs,” reports the company’s director of manufacturing in a news release from Rollprint. “Rollprint’s FormFoil Lite has allowed us to downgauge our formable foil thickness.” All of this, he said, “Without sacrificing quality or shelf life.”

Dwane Hahn, vice president of sales and marketing, credits FormFoil Lite’s benefits to Rollprint’s proprietary lamination process. “We’ve learned a lot over the last 20 years,” he tells PMP News. “How you bond the layers together is as of equal importance as the thickness of the foil layer itself.”

FormFoil Lite can be customized through the use of different coatings and sealants as well as in terms of dimensional stability, he adds.

FormFoil Lite could also allow users to develop smaller packages when comparing formable formats with four-side-seal packaging, flow-wrapping, and pouches. “3-D packaging requires fewer square inches than does 2-D packaging,” says Hahn. Rollprint’s traditional FormFoil has allowed for “much deeper drafts as well as more severe draft angles,” he adds. “It is super forgiving compared with other cold form foils. FormFoil Lite is ideally suited for applications that have steep draft angles with standard depths.

“We’ve had success in a wide variety of cold-form shapes and formats across markets ranging from medical device to consumer applications,” Hahn states in the release.

For instance, FormFoil Lite can be used as the formable web in a peelable form-fill-seal package with Rollprint’s ClearFoil high-barrier clear lidding for content visibility. This package style is appropriate for the majority of applications that require product visibility, oxygen and/or moisture barrier, Hahn says.

Rollstock of FormFoil Lite

Rollprint has been working with Multivac to demonstrate the value of FormFoil Lite for sterile packaging designed for aseptic presentation. Rollprint will be distributing sample packages at its Pack Expo International Booth #6174 November 6-9 in Chicago.

For more information, visit Rollprint at Pack Expo or visit

High-speed labeler has automated variable height adjustment

High-speed labeler has automated variable height adjustment

The L-A 6000 labeler handles variable-sized cartons and boxes at high speeds with accurate shipping information. It uses the tamp-blow method to print-and-apply up to 40 labels per minute to products that vary in height up to 19.68 inches/500mm.

A sensor initially determines the height of the approaching product to move the applicator to the correct position. This development ensures accurate placement at speeds up to 50% faster than a label printer-applicator with a pneumatically driven cylinder.

The redesigned microprocessor controller is compact for easy integration onto the line. The modular construction allows easy access to components and interchangeable dispensing heads allow the use of different size labels. Using print engines from Zebra or SATO, it can print thermal-transfer or direct thermal-print labels. 

An ergonomically adjustable reel holder handles label rolls up to 13.7in./350mm in diameter to reduce downtime for label roll changes.

Weber Packaging Solutions (, Pack Expo Booth S-3541

Preparing for connected health

Preparing for connected health
Soligie Printed Electronics by Molex

The "smartphone has created a paradigm shift in healthcare, and it is becoming a healthcare device,” says Anthony Kalaijakis, strategic medical marketing manager for Molex LLC. “We’re seeing miniaturized devices monitoring drug delivery and other medical devices, and the smartphone is the engine.”

Kalaijakis spoke with PMP News during MD&M Minneapolis in September. A provider of electronic solutions for a wide range of markets, Molex had announced in August an agreement to acquire Phillips-Medisize Corp., a contract manufacturer specializing in medical device and diagnostics, drug delivery, and primary pharmaceutical packaging. Through this acquisition and others, Molex seeks to provide total solutions for connected health devices.

“In 2010, we saw interest in the convergence of med tech and electronics,” says Kalaijakis. “Along the way, we have acquired different pieces of business. We are not limited by the gaps.”

Molex had acquired ProTek Medical in 2015, and Eamon O’Connell, ProTek’s director of business development, told PMP News later that year that he sees “a convergence as the pharmaceutical industry seeks to deliver drugs in higher concentration to specific areas. Site-specific treatments are less demanding and achieve a desirable pharmacological response at the selected site, but with a site-specific delivery, you need a device. It requires capabilities from the device market. ProTek has developed the capability to support a Pharma company with the plastics design and manufacturing combined with a regulatory strategy that support the new drug application."

Speaking of the role he now plays in Molex, O’Connell says: “Our vision is to provide total solutions. Connected health will involve monitoring patients and medication compliance outside of healthcare settings. Our technology will allow such monitoring.”

Another acquisition, Soligie Printed Electronics, produces flexible electronic components using a printing press. “We can do a number of active circuits as well as fine pitches for consumables and sensors,” says Kalaijakis. “These components can be used for tracking package opening and temperature profiles, for example. We want to make it happen.” 

Kalaijakis says that Molex has seen and developed a lot of electronic technologies employed in other industries, such as telecommunications.

Regarding combination medical devices and drug delivery, Kalaijakis says that “the industry is looking for a leader, and perhaps Molex can serve as one." 

For more details, visit or see Molex and Phillips-Medisize at the following upcoming tradeshows: Compamed Dusseldorf November 14-17 in Germany, BIOMEDevice December 7-8 in San Jose, & MD&M West February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA.

Derma-E rejuvenates skin-care packaging design

Derma-E rejuvenates skin-care packaging design
Several of Derma-E’s more than 70 skin-care products that are dressing up in new-look packaging.

Derma-E’s redesigned packaging reflects the brand’s mission to provide simple, clean and modern science-based skin-care products.

The entire Derma-E skin-care line of more than 70 products is getting a refreshed look for the first time since 2012 to better reflect the company’s values with 100% consumer appeal.

“We are relaunching our packaging design starting September 2016,” says Barbara Roll, VP of marketing for Derma-E. “The new packaging will roll out through March 2017 into all stores.

First in the new pack is Hydrating, Anti Wrinkle Line, Firming and the company’s best-seller Microdermabrasion Scrub + Overnight Peel.”

Roll responds to our questions about the redesign.

Why the redesign now?

Roll: We have grown to become one of the largest natural facial care brands in the U.S. With the ‘natural’ industry growing quickly, in order to keep our position it was time to reinforce our uniqueness and story by incorporating it more into our packaging. We hoped to bring in our eco-ethical belief of being 100% vegan, cruelty free, recyclable with clean energy manufacturing and having cleaner products that exclude GMOs, soy, gluten, parabens mineral oils, sodium lauryls and more.

Our story is also now on our packaging as well. And our Southern California roots are incorporated in the feel, while keeping the nature and science efficacy feel.

What were the basic design goals?

Roll: We wanted the consumer to know that we take skincare and the environment seriously, but don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We want our true ethos to shine through.  We are friendly, clever, caring, inspiring, uplifting, confident, knowledgeable and trustworthy without being too clinical and self-important.

Our main goal was to appeal 100% to our consumer, we are updating our look and feel in our brand too, on social sites, at our website, in stores, and more. It is based on our heritage, mission and values, which have not changed. Our new brand look and feel is 100% Derma-E!

What are the most dramatic changes?

Roll: Those are an updated lotus graphic that represents the combination of nature and efficacy; a new bolder logo that is easier to spot on shelf; and a new eco-ethical stamp.  We have also updated our platform colors and added colored caps to certain items so a consumer can more easily identify the brand platforms.

Were any packages changed physically?

Roll: Physically the most dramatic change was with our skin care serums, which went to a taller, more elegant clear bottle. We moved to a more modern bottle shape to evolve with the times.

Can you comment on any initial feedback?

Roll: We conducted extensive focus groups for this new branding launch, and all of the feedback we received was extremely positive. 

Derma-E is sold in natural health food stores nationally from local stores to larger natural retailers including Whole Foods Markets and Sprouts Farmers Markets and is available at ULTA, CVS and Walgreens.  

The company’s website is Derma-E and Facebook page is found here.


Want to stay in touch with innovative packaging and graphics design ideas? Attend PackEx Montréal, November 30, 2016 to December 1, 2016, to assess containers, materials and more for your next project. 


Captain Morgan turns Cannon Blast bottle into a pumpkin

Captain Morgan turns Cannon Blast bottle into a pumpkin
The Captain Morgan Jack-O-Blast bottle is fully wrapped with impressive details on the textured shrink-sleeve label and offers a bonus when seen under black light.

Packaging for the seasonal Captain Morgan Jack-O-Blast limited-edition pumpkin spiced rum bottle looks and feels like a real pumpkin from the skin-tight orange shrink-film wrap to the rough-textured stem-like over-the-cap portion.

October is a time when the weather turns cooler, leaves turn color and pumpkins start showing up everywhere including in liquor stores.

While the latter usually means all varieties of pumpkin artwork on beer and other beverage packaging, Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand rum pushes the idea to the extreme: A limited-edition revision of its Cannon Blast cannonball bottle that converts it into a Jack-O-Blast pumpkin bottle that contains pumpkin-spiced rum.

“As much as we enjoyed tropical cocktails over the summer, it’s time to make room for the bold flavors of fall everyone enjoys,” says Linda Bethea, Captain Morgan vp. “Captain Morgan [Jack-O-Blast] is a must-have for responsible adult consumers during their favorite seasonal activities, whether it’s at football tailgates, Halloween parties or backyard bonfires with friends.”

Like the cannonball bottle before (read our 360-degree examination of the cannonball bottle from April, Captain Morgan bottle is a blast), the 750mL pumpkin bottle leverages the round bottle shape, but adds a few distinct and clever touches starting with a striking, full-wrap, skin-tight and wrinkle-free pumpkin-mimicking shrink-sleeve label.

Two other features on the pumpkin bottle include a flaming pumpkin and gold-green print pirate skull.

How a great is this pumpkin? Check it out as we play…Spin the pumpkin bottle to identify what’s new and different from the Cannon Blast bottle besides a realistic textured pumpkin-orange shrink wrap as we take it for a clockwise spin:

  • The Cannon Blast name is now the Jack O’Blast with the “O” a lit cannonball, all in a reflective gold color and with stenciled lettering;
  • The blazing ship logo on the wrapped cannonball bottle side is now a blazing pumpkin;
  • The white pirate-hatted skeleton logo from before is a greenish gold color;
  • The UPC “bomb” has been subtly improved, with a red lit fuse and black sparks that were all red prior; the UPC also extends into the bomb’s top unlike before.

Another special feature is seen only under black light; that’s when the shrink-sleeved bottle simulates the look of a carved pumpkin.

Other than using some modified colors, the rest of the visual artwork is essentially the same as before with one major exception that truly sets this bottle further apart as one of its most distinguishing features:  The textured, shrink-film band on the cap.


Replacing the rather bland red blast cap found on the cannonball is an awesomely realistic top stem right down to the film’s rough mottled green texture.

I can’t emphasize how closely the top matte-finish wrap portion mimics a real pumpkin stem other than to say it’s literally over-the-top impressive in look and feel.

The tamper-evident, perforated shrink film on the bottle neck is printed with Captain Morgan JACK-O-BLAST typography on two sides using a reflective gold ink.  

The Cannon Blast closure was a dull red-pigmented cap printed with plain black lettering and sealed with a clear shrink film, so this is a dramatic upgrade in several ways.

It adds a truly premium finish to an all-around classy and exceptional packaging design.

Packaging vendors identified

It is believed that PDC International supplied the equipment on which the package and other shrink-labeled Diageo packages are made. As an aside, PDC has a shrink lab often used for package development related to shrink-sleeve labeling including challenging applications like this one.

Additionally, we are confident that CCL Label ( is the shrink-sleeve-label supplier.

With two versions now under its belt, brand owner Diageo has crafted an iconic bottle it could continue to tap seasonally in fresh new ways. For example and if we extrapolate a trend here, we would predict that a round “ornament-al” bottle filled with a seasonal rum ahead of the holidays could be just over the horizon.

For now simply enjoy what is truly one of the greatest pumpkins you’ll see this or any fall in packaging.

The 750mL bottle has a suggested retail price of $15.99 and is currently available nationwide for a limited time this fall.

Diageo's press release about the product can be found at the brand's website. Ed Note: The on-package typography is printed as Jack-O-Blast, though the Captain Morgan materials refer to it as Jack O'Blast.


Want to stay in touch with innovative packaging and design ideas? Attend PackEx Montréal, November 30, 2016 to December 1, 2016, to assess containers, materials and more for your next project. 


4 ways smaller packaging operations accelerate growth with robotics and automation

4 ways smaller packaging operations accelerate growth with robotics and automation
Small- and medium-sized businesses are competing strongly in the marketplace by leveraging packaging automation.

Robotics and automation may be synonymous with the global manufacturing operations of large multinationals, but these technologies are not just relegated to large companies. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers are getting in on the action, leveraging robotics and automation solutions to speed packaging production and foster growth.

The Trends in Robotics Market Assessment, released in 2014 by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, notes that 75% of end users used robotics at some point on their manufacturing lines by 2014, compared with only 20% in 2008.

Now, another two years later, industry professionals continue to see this momentum across the spectrum. But what exactly does it mean for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs)?

For many of these SMB companies, robotics and packaging automation technologies can enable compliance with food safety regulations and enhance efficiency. Plus, these technologies are becoming even more accessible, and the resulting cost savings allow SMBs to invest in growing staff for support on more complex tasks.

1. Compliance with food safety: With the final provisions of the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) finally articulated, deadlines are set for compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventative Controls for Human Food.

The provision, published in September 2015, mandates that applicable companies establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventative controls with written food safety plan. While large manufacturers were deemed to comply in September 2016, small businesses with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees will have two years. Very small businesses (those averaging less than $1 million per year in both annual sales plus the market value of human food processed and packed, but held without sale) will have up to three years from the publication date to comply.

Robotics and automation provide many safeguards against contamination, whether it be the reduction of opportunities for human error or the advantage provided by advanced visual and sensor inspection systems. For small- to medium-sized manufacturers, the investment in these technologies is a worthwhile endeavor when the alternative could be a financially devastating product recall.

2. Greater efficiency: The move toward measuring overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) has also driven demand for robotics. Robots that can handle multiple tasks and can adjust to variations on the manufacturing line, like packaging sizes, provide a valuable solution for SMBs not just in the area of production speed, but also in the field of flexibility, which is a critical attribute to meet diversifying consumer demands.

Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) is another capability of automated technologies that can benefit SMBs by tracking operations in real time to identify and facilitate the correction of issues on the line. Ultimately, these advanced solutions can give smaller-sized manufacturers a competitive edge that levels the playing field.

3. Increased accessibility: Investments in automated packaging equipment and robotics can still be significant, but the costs to implement these solutions has begun to decline. According to a 2013 study by Stanford University, the cost of industrial robots may continue to drop by more than 20% over the next decade. Combined with the opportunity many of these solutions offer for strong return on investment (ROI) and cost savings gained through operational efficiency, robotics and automation may provide a strong incentive to SMBs.

4. Stronger community: While it was once thought that the use of robotics and automation on manufacturing and packaging lines could devastate SMBs, new technology has allowed these small companies to run more efficient lines and expand their business, including increasing their employment.

In an article by The Washington Post, the Baltimore-based wire and steel manufacturer, Marlin Steel, “increased its staff from 18 to 34 people in the past seven years because it began using robots.” These additions include administrators, sales and marketing positions and engineers. With the additions of robots on the line, SMBs are becoming stronger than ever.

As automation continues to take over manufacturing and packaging lines, SMBs are becoming major players as the use of robotics is increasing their efficiency and leveling the competitive playing field.

Fred Hayes is director of technical services at PMMI, The Assn. for Packaging and Processing Technologies and owner of the Pack Expo portfolio of trade shows. Hayes is an accomplished engineer and businessman who has built an international reputation as a passionate, high-profile participant in the standards community. See the latest in robotics and automation for packaging operations at Pack Expo Int’l 2016 (Nov. 6-9; McCormick Place, Chicago).

Photo credit: phil landowski at

Consider single-use processing for your next project, advises industry veteran

Consider single-use processing for your next project, advises industry veteran
Jerry Martin, pharmaceutical and life sciences consultant to PMMI

Single-use components enhance efficiency and minimize contamination risks during the processing of bulk active pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Despite these gains, the pharmaceutical industry has been slow until recently to extend single-use technologies to filling processes, reports Jerry Martin, pharmaceutical and life sciences consultant to PMMI, The Association of Packaging and Processing Technologies. Martin has been instrumental in the development of single-use technologies and standards for the pharmaceutical industry, having worked for a major sterile filtration manufacturer and later on for related trade associations. He recently retired after nearly 40 years in the pharma industry and will be at the upcoming Pharma Expo to educate attendees on single-use processing. 

The single-use manufacturing approach “first appeared for clinical batches for biologicals, and now 75% of all clinical batches are made with at least some single-use equipment,” Martin tells PMP News. And “most of the single-use activity during the last 15 to 20 years has been associated with the manufacture of protein-based APIs. 

“But when these products are finished in bulk, the bulk drug is typically shipped to contract filling companies that still use traditional stainless-steel transfer and filling equipment,” he continues. “And single-use systems have yet to make a huge impact for large-scale approved drugs. The next move is in the final formulation and filling.”

There are challenges with traditional processing. “Stainless-steel machines require cleaning between batches. Protein-based drugs stick to walls, so you have to develop adequate cleaning procedures and prove them,” he explains. And “the cost of developing validated procedures, along with the cleaning itself, is significant, in terms of water use and the energy needed to convert water to steam, then to condense the steam into distilled water that can be used for cleaning.” There’s also the cost of cleaning agents and their disposal to consider, he adds. 

Productivity is an issue, too. “Filling machinery is not in operation during cleaning and resterilization,” Martin notes. And operators have to enter the area for manual cleaning operations of some components, e.g. filling needles. “Ideally you’d want to eliminate operator involvement,” he advises.

The first step toward single-use processing would be to replace all stainless-steel piping with disposable tubing, and then, after processing, all fluid pathways involved in the run would be discarded and replaced with clean, sterile pathways. The challenge here, though, is that many machines currently in operation weren’t originally designed for such replaceable components, he says.

The good news is that some of today’s machinery suppliers are offering a range of options, such as disposable tubing and needles, and some can be provided with filling manifolds “prevalidated” for cleanliness and sterility.

Martin doesn’t expect companies to dismantle existing lines built on traditional approaches, but he does hope to see single-use technologies adopted for new factories and expansions. “The cost of building a facility goes down because you don’t need the water-processing equipment. So plants can be smaller, and you can reduce water and energy costs by 90%,” he says. 

Productivity of lines can go up significantly, which could benefit generic drug companies under pricing pressures, he says.

In addition, drug safety is increased by eliminating the risks of contamination, Martin says. He urges the sterile injectable generic drug industry to look into single-use filling as one solution for drug shortages. While single-use disposables may suggest higher costs, the overall reduction in downtime, energy, and cleaning costs, along with reduced cleanroom space requirements for expansions and new builds, can improve productivity and profit margins, he says, making manufacturing more favorable. To meet with Martin during Pharma Expo November 6-9 in Chicago, please email Palmer Roberts, public relations manager, at [email protected]