Teva unifies pharmaceutical packaging worldwide

Teva unifies pharmaceutical packaging worldwide
The hierarchy of information on Teva's global packaging follows the natural order of reading so key information is easy to find by product name, then by indication and dosage, and lastly by the corporate brand name.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. produces 120 billion tablets and capsules each year, for distribution into 60 markets worldwide. Driving the company’s success is a long history of corporate acquisitions in the Americas, Europe and Asia—a business strategy that also eventually led to disunity of packaging design in its global product lineup.

Israel-based Teva, the leading supplier of generics globally, set out to conquer this problem with a redesign that would unify its packaging around the globe.

Key considerations of the redesign included:

• building confidence and trust with patients and their caregivers,

• simplifying the patient and caregiver experience,

• reducing stress and frustration in patients with multiple chronic conditions,

• providing easy-to-understand instructions for product use, and

• delivering clear package navigation.

Teva’s new packaging design is flexible enough to accomplish all those things in every market in which the products are distributed—while at the same time complying with local drug packaging regulations and requirements.

Noa Shumovitch, vp of marketing, brand and integrated marketing communications (IMC) at Teva Pharmaceutical, answers Packaging Digest’s questions about the redesign.

What were the goals driving Teva’s global packaging redesign?

Shumovitch: Teva aligned on primary and secondary objectives to build a harmonized design for the new packaging. First was to address unmet needs of pharmacists, patients and caregivers and be relevant to the needs of all key stakeholders. The secondary objective was to harmonize Teva’s packaging, given the many acquisitions Teva had over the years. Up until the new global brand rollout, there was no centralized effort to unify all packaging under one corporate brand. As a result, many packages did not have the Teva brand at all.

What elements of the packaging design were changed to achieve these goals?

Shumovitch: The introduction of a strong navigation system was proven to help all stakeholders find the most important information on the packaging quickly. This system showed how the eye catches the details of the new packaging, creating a hierarchy of how a user views the package in a seamless fashion. This transformation provided organization while at the same time allowing flexibility for different markets to accommodate local regulations and business needs.

Before the redesign, Teva's products had widely different packaging designs.

How did Teva create a design flexible enough to work across all geographic markets and accommodate regulators globally?

Shumovitch: Teva’s new global brand positioning was developed using insights gained from speaking to more than 13,178 patients, 10,712 caregivers and 1,600 healthcare professionals from 24 countries between 2015 and 2018, all with a goal of understanding how health and illness are impacting people’s lives. These insights were used to inform the new packaging design, including a new brand logo, content for its digital resources and country-specific educational initiatives.

The new design was later fine-tuned and qualified by additional global research to address stakeholders’ needs of getting the most important information first. The design provides many areas of flexibility, such as color differentiation and product specifications to address specific local regulatory and business needs.

Furthermore, the global team works closely with each market to address any questions and assist when such flexibility is needed.

How does the new packaging design improve the patient and caregiver experience?

Shumovitch: Our packaging was not unified and did not meet the needs of our stakeholders. Oftentimes, it was unknown to the audiences if a product was, in fact, part of the Teva brand. When creating the new packaging, we needed to keep in mind the correct balance of continuing to build our brand recognition, as well as the rationale and functionality of unified packaging.

Through insights gathered from patients and carers, and pharmacists and physicians across key global markets, we found the most important aspect to improving the experience of our packaging was the ability to easily find important information. Knowing this, we worked with regulators in various markets to ensure our new design met regulatory requirements.

The new packaging design focuses on navigation—making use of a clear pack display that provides reassurance that the user is picking up the right product.

Also, the new bright and refreshing tones on the pack aim to alleviate any negativity the patient may already be dealing with and create a positive reaction by using designs pleasing to the eye.

How does the new design provide clear navigation to patients and caregivers?

Shumovitch: Findings via eye-tracking supported the outcome of quantitative research to show that audiences focused on the following key information first: product name, indication and dosage, followed by the corporate brand name. The design follows the natural flow of reading, making for a seamless experience for the user.


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Did Teva change the way use instructions are provided on-pack?

Shumovitch: The standard instructions were not augmented during the redesign. The table with medical information and instructions on how the medicine works remained intact in terms of verbiage, and there were no design changes to this part of the packaging.

How many countries were included in the redesign?

Shumovitch: The design will be rolled out globally across the majority of Teva’s branded products.

How many products were included?

Shumovitch: The packaging redesign impacts the entire Teva-branded portfolio of Teva’s products worldwide. The goal is to convert the entire portfolio, which will occur over time and result in one final unified brand.

When did the redesigned packaging roll out?

Shumovitch: Teva began rolling out the new packaging in 2018. The launch is done market by market, product by product, and is expected to see the last market change in the next couple of years.

Did Teva work with a creative agency to design the new packaging?

Shumovitch: The design concept development was done with the help of Conran Design Group and an internal Teva packaging steering group that had representatives from different markets.

Was this strictly a graphics redesign, or did Teva also make structural changes to the packaging?

Shumovitch: There were no significant structural changes to the packaging. The new design makes the packaging easier to stand up on its own; however, the redesign was purely two-dimensional.


WestPack-2020  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13

Medical Packaging

Versatile poucher teams up with cobots for medical packaging

Versatile poucher teams up with cobots for medical packaging
A cobot helps this small-footprint vertical form-fill-seal machine efficiently pack a variety of medical products, including kits.

For packagers of medical devices and other low- to mid-volume healthcare products, versatility—more so than speed—is a top requirement for vertical form-fill-seal (vffs) packaging. Vffs equipment must be able to handle a variety of pouch sizes and materials as well as a range of stock-keeping units and multipart products, such as medical kits.

The Kanga Poucher from RND Automation addresses these requirements, forming and filling four-sided pouches in sizes from 2x2 inches to 8x11 inches. Running at up to 20 products per minute, this small-footprint vffs machine can run a variety of materials specified by medical packagers. Machine options include printing, barcode verification, vision inspection, nitrogen purging, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) validation.

Collaborative robots, or cobots, from Universal Robots and Fanuc can be integrated with the machine for tasks such as product loading. In fact, “Any robot could be used in conjunction with the Kanga. These are just the two most popular cobots that we have been asked to integrate,” says Sean Dotson, company president/CEO.

Dotson answers some questions from Packaging Digest about the Kanga Poucher in this exclusive Q&A.

Is the Kanga Poucher in demand for pharmaceutical packaging as well as medical device packaging?

Dotson: Yes, there are certain pharmaceutical applications in which there is a need for a pouched product. This is usually for powders, granules, some pills or tablets, or a vial and syringe combination.

What other products are suited to packaging on the Kanga Poucher?

Dotson: The Kanga typically packages medical device and pharma products, but other categories include consumer products, over-the-counter (OTC) patches or bandages, and electronics packaged in anti-static Mylar (think RAM for your computer or custom-made circuit boards).

What tasks can cobots be used for, when integrated with the Kanga?

Dotson: While product loading is the most popular use of cobots on the Kanga, other tasks can include secondary packaging—cartoning, labeling and palletizing of the packaged pouches. The cobot can also be used to present the product to a vision inspection system prior to loading, to ensure the products are good before loading.

What other methods can be used to load products into the Kanga Poucher?

Dotson: Other loading methods include vibratory feeder bowls, auger fillers, liquid fillers and so on.

What is the benefit of using a cobot for product loading?

Dotson: The cobot is best suited for when the product can be picked from a pallet or magazine. It also allows you to pick a variety of products, versus a feeder bowl, for example, that is often dedicated to one size of product.

What FDA validation options are offered with the Kanga Poucher?

Dotson: We provide, as an option, external validation ports that measure pressure (force) of the sealing head, time of the seal and temperature of the heated dies. These are all process-control parameters that are necessary for FDA validation of the package.

What packaging materials are compatible with the Kanga Poucher?

Dotson: The Kanga can run a variety of materials, including Tyvek, polyester, foil or paper laminates. As long as the material has a sealant layer, we can form a validated pouch. We also have the ability to form pouches from materials that can be resealed after they have been opened.

Which materials are preferred by medical packagers?

Dotson: If the product is to be EO [ethylene oxide] sterilized, Tyvek or other medical papers are often the choice for one side of the product. Other popular films include foils and polyester laminates. It really depends on the customer’s sterilization and gas-/moisture-barrier requirements.

How do you perform barcode verification on the Kanga Poucher?

Dotson: We use a Cognex or Keyence barcode reader to verify that the 1D barcode or 2D Data Matrix is readable and/or a valid product. We also use higher-end cameras from these manufacturers to do optical character recognition (OCR) or optical character verification (OCV) on the product, to ensure all characters are printed correctly and are human-readable.

Can users customize the Kanga with a thermal printer to print barcodes and other track-and-trace codes?

Dotson: Yes, we use thermal printing on a variety of materials—foils, polyesters, Tyvek and so forth—to do either simple lot code/date code/ barcodes on preprinted material, or we can print 100% of the information onto blank films, including customer logos. With digital printing technology, we can print full CMYK [cyan, magenta, yellow, key/black] color on the films.




What sets the Kanga apart from other vffs machines in the medical device and pharmaceutical markets?

Dotson: Our system has the smallest footprint in the industry—36x36x39 inches. This is very important, as cleanroom space is often at a premium.

The Kanga offers optional dual heat dies, with gaskets as standard, to ensure the best possible seal. Other systems provide both as options.

The Kanga’s die tooling is easily removable with built-in tools. No unwiring of heaters or thermocouples is required, unlike other systems, allowing for hot-swappable dies and reducing downtime. This also lowers the cost of replacement or additional sized tooling.

The Kanga uses our patent-pending DieSaver technology, which uses dual pressures to ensure that no damage to the dies or the product occurs in the event of a misloaded product.

The Kanga comes standard with industry-leading Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller (PLC) and human-machine interface (HMI). Other systems require a sizable upcharge for these control platforms.

Other standard features include:

• Dual Opto-Touch buttons for operator safety.

• Magnetically coded, safety interlocked guarding.

• Closed-loop dual heater controls.

• Enclosed webstock to reduce contaminates or debris.

• Pneumatics located separately from the electrical enclosure.

Why is it important to keep the pneumatics separate?

Dotson: Some manufacturers put pneumatics in the same cabinet as the electrical components. Compressed air, by its very nature, has moisture in it. As we all know electricity and water do not mix.

It is standard practice, and meets common manufacturing standards, to separate pneumatics and electrical components.


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Packaging machinery and automation hits of 2019

Packaging machinery and automation hits of 2019

Robots, easy-clean machine designs and self-contained automation devices were on packaging engineers wish lists this year—as evidenced by their interest in news about packaging equipment delivering production benefits, thanks to these features.

Based on page views, here are the top three packaging-machinery-related articles we posted over the last year, starting from the third article and moving up to No.1:


OnRobot's Gecko Gripper.

3. 3 automation trends transforming packaging operations

After visiting exhibitors at WestPack 2019 and its co-located sister show Automation Technology Expo (ATX) West, we noticed this trio of trends changing the design and performance of your packaging lines:

1. Self-contained devices are easy to install and use, like these three we saw at the show:

• The Bosch Rexroth XDK sensor—called the Swiss Army Knife of sensors—is eight sensors in one box.

OnRobot’s VG10 vacuum gripper has a built-in pump so there are no hoses to work around.

• The concept of decentralized “power” extends to full packaging machines, too. For example, PDC Intl. is developing a steam tunnel for full-body shrink sleeve labels that has integrated boilers.

2. Cobot peripherals lead the way. One example is OnRobot’s Gecko Gripper (see photo above), which uses pressure and motion (adhesion by force) to pick up packages—without an air system.

3. Artificial intelligence (A-I) excels as an engineering aid…or does it?

In his presentation “The Power of Perseverance,” rocket scientist and inventive engineer Lonnie Johnson, CEO of Johnson Battery Technologies, hailed artificial intelligence for its myriad benefits. But when questioned about his own work preferences, he admitted that he doesn’t want to use AI because that would take all the fun out of solving an engineering problem. Do you agree?

NEXT: 8 impressive developments in packaging automation


2. 8 impressive developments in packaging automation

Packaging machinery, robots and engineering expert John R. Henry reports on the cool stuff he saw at recent automation and materials handling events he attended:

1. In the photo above, Olympus Controls demonstrated a Universal Robots collaborative arm mounted on an Autonomous Mobile Robot or AMR (also called automated guidance vehicle or AGV in the past). The addition of the robot arm allows the AMR to be completely autonomous, including loading and unloading.

2. A spring-loaded exoskeleton that mounts to a worker’s torso and arms aids different types of manual tasks, such as lifting boxes and loading pallets.

3. A head-mounted Android tablet with eyepiece/camera and microphone gives mechanics instant access to the information they need to do their jobs quickly, safely and properly.

4. Ecommerce sales are creating high mix/low volume (HMLV) packing operations dependent on a large inventory of different case sizes. Or you could use a “right-sizing” custom case packing system that measures the load and automatically cuts, scores, folds and seals corrugated board tightly around it.


WestPack-2020  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13


5. A power-assist “smart” cart can help efficiently replenish materials to and finished products from packaging lines.

6. Using a collaborative robot (cobot), this palletizer takes up next to no floor space yet will handle 50% or more of typical palletizing applications for consumer packaged goods (CPG).

7. Cobot-based case erector sets up multiple case sizes at random and reduces the required floor space—while maintaining most of the capabilities of a traditional robot case erecting system.

8. The Sawyer cobot from Rethink Robotics will continue to be made, sold and serviced by its new owner, Hahn Group.

NEXT: 10 new machines answer food packaging demands



1. 10 new machines answer food packaging demands

In advance of the 2019 Pack Expo Las Vegas show, we culled through press announcements and found these 10 packaging machines scheduled for display at the event. Not only were all these systems new, but they all targeted food applications. It just seemed natural to preview them to potential show attendees, as well as to the industry-at-large, in this informative yet fast-reading article. You must have thought so, too, because this became the top-read packaging machinery content of 2019.

1. JDD Rotary Pouch Machine from Triangle Package Machinery fills and seals Doyen bags, three-sided seal, flat and standup pouches, and zippered bags at speeds of up to 50 pouches per minute.

2. Peregrine robotic cartoning system from JLS is designed to cut down on changeover time and meet the production needs for small batches.

3. Revolution flow wrapper with Robotic Loading System from Campbell Wrapper features a servo-driven, stainless-steel infeed conveyor that eliminates harborage areas for easy, effective sanitation and allergen cleanup.

4. Halopack trays produced on the SKR machine (see image above) from Proseal incorporate high-barrier properties designed to preserve food quality and extend shelf life. This first fully hermetic paperboard modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) tray is made with board that comprises more than 90% recycled material.

5. lightline Flowpacker from Schubert is an integrated system with advanced sealing technology to gently pack heat-sensitive products into flowpacks.

6. New Contura S600 leak detection technology from Inficon uses a proprietary differential pressure method to detect both gross and fine leaks, with faster, easier and more quantifiable performance than other methodologies.

7. P300 portion pack form-fill-seal machine from IMA/Hassia features a new frame and guarding package to improve accessibility of the hygienic low-acid aseptic system.

8. 4Sight automatic print inspection solution from AutoCoding / SICK enables users to handle varying levels of inspection ranging from print presence to full optical character recognition (OCR). Operators have the freedom to set acceptable print quality tolerances to define good, bad or no read on a per-product basis.

9. New SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine from GEA offers a reinforced modular design and combined production output of up to 500 bags per minute. Two parallel forming tubes run from a single drive, a design that achieves up to four times the speed of conventional baggers.

10. Eagle Pack 240 HC compact X-ray machine from Eagle Product Inspection is designed for easy use and cleaning in meat, poultry, dairy and other food packaging applications where daily sanitation is required.


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Packaging engineers look to WestPack’s smart manufacturing ideas

Packaging engineers look to WestPack’s smart manufacturing ideas
Photo credit: adobe.stock.com

The packaging education and training opportunities at WestPack 2020 (Feb. 11-13; Anaheim, CA) will be numerous and diverse, with much to offer packaging production engineers interested in the smart manufacturing tier of automation.

WestPack’s expansive conference program comprises three multi-track channels—the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit, the 3D Printing Innovation Summit and the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West Conference. Click here for the conference overview.

In addition to keynote panels and conventional sessions, each track includes non-traditional session formats such as Lightning Workshops, roundtable discussions, Tech Talk Panels, Tech Theater presentations, sponsored education sessions and lunch-and-learns. At the Meet the Speaker Lounge—new at WestPack 2020—attendees can interact with speakers outside of sessions.

WestPack attendees can also learn about packaging for cannabis products at the Cannabis Packaging Summit expo and conference. This first-of-its-kind event will debut at WestPack 2020.

The following sessions from the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit and 3D Printing Innovation Summit will be of particular interest to packaging production engineers:

• Welcome and Opening Keynote Panel: Tech Disruptors Transforming the Robotics Revolution.

• Factory Reboot: Introducing New Technology and Blood into Your Operation.

• Tech Talk Panel: How Connected Is Too Connected: Privacy, Security and Ethics in AI [artificial intelligence].

• Securing Your Connected Factory.

• Collaborative Technology Spans More than Just Robots.

• Artificial Intelligence Meets Additive Manufacturing.

• Design for Manufacturability: The Power of Using Simulation in Additive Manufacturing.

• Is Generation Z Ready for Plant Floor Technology?

Register now to attend WestPack 2020 and any educational sessions on tap.


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Top 10 food packaging developments of 2019

Top 10 food packaging developments of 2019
This year's food packaging highlights include AR engagement, better date codes, sustainably-enhanced meal kits and greener packaging.

Augmented reality, moldable paper, smart caps, inverted pouches, better date codes, sustainable meal kits and other innovations were featured these past months.

As with most fans of college football, I like to watch my favorite team on TV and read how their success is reflected in the latest polls. Polls are not perfect, but they're the best way to rank and compare teams unless they’ve played each other…and even at that there’s much debate.

Which is totally unlike Packaging Digest’s website metrics that permit precise identification of how the many dozens of features posted since January 1 have performed and how they compare with one another. Thus, these end-of-year top-read lists are ideal for readers to make sure they haven’t overlooked must-read features that resonated with a considerable number of packaging professionals.

What is a large must-read market for a majority of PD’s audience is that of food packaging. According to one report, the global food packaging segment was valued at $293 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach a value of $423 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of around 5.4% between 2019 and 2025.

Revealed in reverse order, the opening article in our 2019 best-read lists kicks things off with a smart packaging application, specifically one using augmented reality. At one time a rare novelty, due to the ubiquity of smartphones and Quick Response codes the tech is growing exponentially; a September 2019 report pegs the AR market at a CAGR near 56% to reach $149 billion by 2025.

A case study example of a brand leveraging AR’s capability is pasta sauce maker Francesco Rinaldi, which recently updated its products in a way that allows consumers to interact with brand spokesperson Mrs. Rinaldi.

The Francesco Rinaldi AR App (available via the Apple Store or Google Play) permits consumers to pick up the jar from the shelf, scan it and hear the story of the product directly from brand mascot Mrs. Rinaldi.

“Through AR, we are looking forward and focusing on technology, while staying true to our traditional pasta sauce recipes and Italian culture,” says Mary DeMarco, creative and branding director for brand owner LiDestri Food and Drink. “The app enables us to reach a new generation of pasta sauce lovers by being innovative and disrupting tradition a little.”

Link:  Augmented reality brings pasta packaging to life



#9 Pack Expo breakthroughs...

In addition to serving as a catalyst for the inverted pouch series, the innovations-rich Pack Expo 2018 in Chicago also provided a springboard for this next article that reported on eight innovations that bring something new and different to the food packaging table, an octet that’s accompanied by beverage packaging breakthroughs as well.

The listing starts with a barrier tray that looks and feels like kraft paper with the distinct advantage that it can be molded into trays that are recyclable and ends seven developments later with two-in-one summary of two innovative booth displays. In between these bookend references you’ll find smart caps, holographic aseptic cartons and a several others worth checking out.

Link:  Pack Expo 2018: 8 advancements in food and beverage packaging



#8 A topsy-turvy disruptive format...

The second in Packaging Digest’s inverted pouch series—and the second to make this list—center on Pro Pouch Squeeze, ProAmpac’s entry into the space. It’s reflective of the rich history of innovation in the flexible packaging market from the company’s the two forming companies, Ampac and Prolamina, which became an integrated whole in a 2015 merger.

Sal Pellingra, vp global application and innovation development, ProAmpac, says the company’s Pro Pouch Squeeze can replace squeeze bottles as well as thicker tube packaging for both food and non-food packages, specifically liquid food and condiments, health and beauty and industrial chemical markets.  Pellingra discusses the benefits, options and status for the fast-growing format.

Link: Inverted pouch trend upends food packaging: ProAmpac



#7 Clarifying a very confusing date...

No less than three U.S. key regulatory agencies agree: We should standardize the voluntary date-code labeling for food sold in the United States as part of a new strategy to fight food and packaging waste.

In April 2019, the federal government announced the launch of an interagency effort called the “Winning on Reducing Food Waste FY 2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together on the strategy.

Contributing editor Kate Bertrand Connolly identified the agencies’ six priority areas and pinpointed which one that food-brand owners and their packaging suppliers will be watching closely: 4. Clarify and communicate information on food safety, food date labels and food donations.

Link: Best If Used By date code recommended for food labeling



#6 Meal kits made sustainable...

It is possible for meal kits to deliver an exciting unboxing experience for ecommerce food shoppers and do so using sustainably optimized packaging? Yes, says Carol Zweep, manager of packaging, NSF Canada, who shared her insights and personal experiences with a packed and attentive audience at a conference session during PackEx Montreal last November.

In Montreal, Zweep noted market trends, drivers and shared specific examples of brands that developed sustainable meal kit solutions and then augmented her event presentation with custom input especially for Packaging Digest readers in this follow-up feature.

Link: Delivering sustainably optimized meal kit packaging




#5 A different kind of inverted pouch...

The third feature in Packaging Digest’s inverted pouch series details the introduction of Uncle Dougie’s Organic BBQ sauces that also marks the debut of the StandCap premade pouch from Glenroy.

The brand owner wanted packaging that could make a difference for its new line of sauces. At the same time, vendor Glenroy sought a brand-owner customer that would be the first to bring to market the StandCap inverted pouch in a turnkey, ready-to-use low-cost-to-entry premade format that had just be unveiled during Pack Expo Intl. in Chicago a few months earlier.

The partnership proved highly fortuitous for both companies with the launch of a product line that laid claim as the first sauce in a squeeze pouch.

Link: Inverted pouches upend food packaging: Uncle Dougie’s and Glenroy




#4 Trendy snacks…

What happens when a veteran packaging reporter turns her attention to discerning on-trend snacks packaging? PD Executive Editor Lisa Pierce went shopping and spied with her discerning eyes a dozen dazzling packages that appeal to today’s snackers. Whether it’s touting portability, one-hand functionality, portion control, a health message or deserved indulgence, these packs sell consumers on the value of a quick pick-me-up in their busy lives.

Link: 12 trendy snack packs



#3 A Top 5 makes the year’s Top 3...

Readers love lists and similar compilations, which is why we do them regularly—a single article where they can find content that scored well with a wide audience, and this one hit  all the right notes. Posted last December, the Top 5 food packaging articles of 2018 messaged food safety, show-time innovations and advancements, the value of packaging-powered smiles and sweet and savory improvements.

Link: Top 5 food packaging hits of 2018




#2. A global CPG company discloses its sustainable plans...

Last January Nestlé laid out its vision and plans for accelerating the global packaged food provider’s sustainable packaging goals. Highlights included eliminating all plastic straws from its products, rolling out paper packaging applications for several products including pouched foods, increasing the recycled PET content of its bottles and collaborating with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene (PP) from plastic waste feedstock.

Packaging Digest conducted an exclusive interview with Nestlé USA packaging sustainability manager Walt Peterson, who discussed the pathway to make 100% of the company’s packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 with a focus on avoiding plastic waste and joining progressive initiatives including Loop, which enables reusable packaging.

Link: Nestlé clarifies its sustainable packaging vision



At #1 innovation on a global scale...

Notable breakthroughs from Packaging Innovation Awards 2019 winners were drawn from nearly 250 submissions around the world open to brand owners, retailers, packaging designers, converters and technology providers across the entire packaging value chain.

Shown is the Diamond Award-winning, glass-like DNP Functional Film Complex PET Plastic Bottle that's lightweight, recyclable and virtually unbreakable, and can be produced with an oxygen barrier. The other eight winners, recognized with Diamond Runner up and Gold awards, run the gamut from collapsible bottles to thermoformable paper and six other world-class innovations.

Link: 9 innovative food and beverage packages from around the world


Medical Packaging

3 packaging concerns in 2019 for pharma/medtech

3 packaging concerns in 2019 for pharma/medtech
Photo credit: adobe.stock.com

Digital healthcare, the opioid crisis and updates to ISO standards for medical packaging headlined our pharmaceutical and medical coverage in 2019. Based on page views, here are the top three articles of the year related to pharmaceutical and medical device packaging:


3. Notable changes to ISO medical packaging standards explained

In 2020, the EU Medical Device Regulation will go into effect. Here in the U.S., ISO 11607 and ISO TS 16775 standards for packaging of terminally sterilized medical devices are being updated.

Notable changes include:

• A provision that directs packagers to complete a documented usability evaluation for aseptic presentation in either a real or simulated-use environment.

• The stipulation that designs allow for easy and safe handling and…prevent microbial contamination, and that the integrity of that packaging is clearly evident to the final user.

• Formal inclusion of risk management.

• A new annex on ways to differentiate a sterile barrier system from protective packaging.

• A new section on visual inspection.

• A section on design changes and validation.

• A revised section on process validation that includes the new concept of a process specification.

• A new annex on environmental aspects according to ISO and CEN guidance.


2. 3 packaging designs that tackle the opioid crisis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking packaging solutions—such as fixed-quantity, unit-of-use blister packs—to help prevent opioid abuse as allowed by the new Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities regulation, which is better known as the SUPPORT Act.

One of the last articles published in 2018 presented three new examples in this area.


1. How digital healthcare and packaging benefit users

The best-read healthcare packaging related article of 2019 on PackagingDigest.com looks at how the trend of digital devices in healthcare will impact the packaging requirements. Two pharmacists on the Faculty of Pharmacy at Clermont-Ferrand in France thoroughly explain the market drivers, then focus on primary and secondary packaging that can enhance distribution safety, improve compliance and perhaps offer an alternative for drug manufacturing.

Other popular articles from co-author Dr. Pascale Gauthier, who is known for her impeccably researched and detailed reports, include:

“5 advances and packaging trends in the beauty universe” published in May 2017.

“The Asian influence and digital mutation in cosmetics packaging” published in July 2018.


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Medical Packaging

Packaging ‘basics’ popular with healthcare professionals

Packaging ‘basics’ popular with healthcare professionals

You need a strong knowledge base to build a career on. In the highly regulated field of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, we can help. Several “Packaging 101” articles scored well with readers this year, earning mention as some of the top topics of 2019 even though they were published in earlier years.

Here are the five notables that can help you succeed in your profession:

Anti-counterfeit packaging

5. What you need in anti-counterfeit packaging today and why

While not limited to use in pharmaceutical and medical markets, anti-counterfeiting features for packages used by these markets help protect patients and profits.

In March 2018, experts from leading security microstructure technology company Optaglio summarized critical general guidelines, starting with three basic strategies for product protection from counterfeiters:

1. Use law protection and enforcement to prevent counterfeiters from getting to the markets.

2. Track and trace each individual product from production through distributors and stores...up to second hand shops.

3. Add protective elements so that a customer can differentiate between genuine and fake on his/her own.

They recommend you use anti-counterfeiting packaging solutions that are discriminable, self-destructive and unique.


4. 3 steps for designing the ideal medical device packaging system

In this January 2017 article, an executive with CleanCut Technologies LLC (now Oliver Healthcare Packaging) breaks down a trio of tips for developing a successful package for your medical device:

1. Start packaging design early in the product development process.

2. Properly size packaging components.

3. Use a robust testing protocol.

Go now and create!


3. Determining a valid sample size for package testing

Surprisingly, there is no clear guidance from regulatory agencies or standards bodies on the number of packages medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers should test to guard against failures and prove design integrity.

This December 2017 article helps packaging professionals determine and justify their sample size decisions.

The first step in selecting an adequate sample size is to calculate risk. A common approach to calculating risk is known as a Risk Priority Number (RPN), which is explained in this article.

Then also consider the cost of manufacturing the product and the complexity of the packaging design.

This October 2019 article might also be helpful: “How to determine a valid sample size for testing your medical device package”


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2. Strength and integrity, part two: Basics of seal-strength testing

This June 2002 article (1) explains what seal-strength testing for medical device packaging is and (2) outlines the different types of testing addressed in ISO 11607.

(1) “Seal-strength testing evaluates the mechanical strength of the seal, ensuring proper material bonding to maintain package integrity throughout package life. Data acquired through testing can be used to validate the package design as adequate for maintenance of integrity, to monitor process performance, and to confirm shelf-life performance.”

(2) Pull it apart: “The tensile seal-strength test (ASTM F88)…produces specific force results for peelable packages. However, only single sections of a seal can be evaluated at one time, providing no information on whole-package integrity and slowing testing.”

Blow it up: “Inflation seal-strength testing (ASTM F1140 and F2054), including burst, creep, and creep-to-failure (CTF) testing, requires pressurizing the entire package and measuring the peak rupture pressure (burst test) or the time to failure at a constantly held pressure (creep and CTF). These tests provide a whole-package minimum seal strength and are equally applicable to peelable and nonpeelable seals.”

Restrain it: “Restrained package testing (ASTM F2054) is a refinement that has several advantages. It has been shown to define the minimum seal-strength area of pouches more consistently. It provides more-consistent loading on the package seal, and it correlates well with tensile seal-strength tests in defining the minimum seal-strength area.”

It’s necessary to keep up with changes in the regulation, as this April 2018 article does: “Harmonizing ISO 11607 with the EU's Medical Device Regulations”


1. Medical packaging 101: Basics medical device companies need to know

Our top pharma/medical device packaging evergreen article of 2019 is also the one in this list published most recently. This June 2018 piece covers the design, sterilization, testing requirements and validation processes medical device companies need to consider when tackling a packaging project.

Bottom line: “Because packaging involves many design and testing aspects, it is best to start its development as soon as possible in the product’s development.”

Good advice.


When packaging UV-sensitive drugs, can LED lighting save you changeover time?

When packaging UV-sensitive drugs, can LED lighting save you changeover time?
During PCI's facility tour of a new packaging suite but before the packaging equipment was installed and commissioned, the subject of energy-saving LED lighting came up, with an unexpected benefit.

Changing to amber lighting in your packaging production room when running pharmaceuticals that require protection from ultraviolet (UV) light takes valuable time that could be better spent producing good product. Is there an easy alternative? Perhaps so.

During a tour on Sept. 19 of a newly built—and now just completed—pharmaceutical packaging suite at PCI Pharma Services in Rockford, IL (see photo above), an interesting conversation about this subject came up with PCI’s Brian Keesee, vp/general manager, Global Clinical Operations & Supply, and Russell Stevens, director, facilities engineering and maintenance.

As part of its sustainability efforts in building this facility expansion (see photo above), contract manufacturer/packager PCI opted to install LED lights, which don’t emit UV rays. So, there is a possibility that LED lights can save PCI time—hours, in fact—between product/customer changeovers by not having to reset the packaging room with amber lighting for UV-sensitive drugs if allowed by the regulations and by its customers.

I was curious to see if it would be allowed by the Food and Drug Administration and reached out to the regulatory agency with two questions:

1. What are the current regulations regarding amber lighting in a packaging operations room/facility for UV-sensitive drugs?

2. Has the FDA considered updating the current regulations to allow for packaging UV-sensitive drugs in rooms with LED lighting? Why or why not?


WestPack-2020  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13


Charlie Kohler in FDA’s Trade Press Office replied: “The CGMP [current Good Manufacturing Practices] regulations only require that ‘adequate lighting shall be provided in all areas’ (see 21 CFR 211.44) and do not prohibit or prescribe the use of any type of lighting. Manufacturers may use any lighting that satisfies the CGMP regulations, which means the lighting used must be adequate to enable operators to perform their manufacturing responsibilities, and special lighting conditions or controls be used when needed to preserve product quality.”

Basically: Yes, LED lighting is suitable for packaging areas handling pharmaceuticals that need to be protected from UV light, according to the FDA.

Earlier today, Dec. 4, 2019, PCI announced completion of this latest plant expansion—which includes four high-potent compound capable suites, three new secondary packaging areas, three new coolers and a freezer—to handle specialty drug products for cancer and hormonal therapies, as well as other treatments.


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Beer Packaging

Molson Coors shrinks plastic packaging’s Beer Print

Molson Coors shrinks plastic packaging’s Beer Print
Molson Coors' plastic-reducing tactics for innovating beer packaging include innovative new multipacks, ring carriers and plastic bottles.

The brewer talks sustainable packaging strategies and tactics including 3-layer plastic bottles, paper sleeve cartons, fiber-based multipack rings and more.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. introduced in August a set of new global packaging goals to reduce plastics in its packaging, aiming for 100% of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

“As a global brewer with a strong family heritage, we have always taken seriously our responsibility to brew a more sustainable future,” said Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter. “Plastic waste poses a clear environmental challenge, and as a consumer-packaged goods company, we play an important role in helping to solve the global waste crisis.”

The company’s new packaging strategy has four main goals:

  1. Innovate: Make 100% of packaging reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. The strategy includes plans to move from a five-layer PET bottle to a three-layer bottle in the U.S. to enhance its recyclability.
  2. Accelerate: Incorporate at least 30% recycled content in plastics packaging. While plastics comprise less than 2% of global packaging mix by weight, the company seeks to achieve at least 30% recycled content in its PET bottles, plastic film wrap and plastic rings.
  3. Collaborate: Improve recycling infrastructure and support a better recycling system for communities, government and industries.
  4. Climate: Reduce carbon emissions from packaging by 26%, which includes both internal changes and external partnerships.

Managing the company’s entire sustainability program is Kim Marotta, global senior director of corporate responsibility, who points out that founder Bill Coors’ mantra of “waste is a resource out of place” has long been part of the company’s DNA. She’s well-suited for the heady task, having been hired in 2004 to develop a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy for Miller Brewing Co. during the MillerCoors U.S. years before being promoted to lead CSR globally at Molson Coors. “The purchase of MillerCoors by Molson Coors at the end of 2016 was a better opportunity to enhance our sustainability strategy including for packaging,” she says.

That lead in 2017 to the introduction of the “Beer Print 2025” strategy, the company’s vision for the environmental, social and economic space. “Beer Print is the notion that every time a beer is lifted up, there’s an imprint left behind,” Marotta explains. “We want to make sure it’s a positive one on our communities and environment.”

It also meant addressing internally the external outcry against a packaging material that is widely under siege, plastics.

“There’s heavy pressure to eliminate the use of single-use plastics,” Marotta explains.“India was the first country to announce abandoning single-use plastics, which starts in 2020. Similar public sentiment and regulations are taking shape in the European Union that were soon followed by Canada as it moved faster toward abandoning plastics. San Francisco banned plastic bottles in their airport, and in many places plastic bags cost consumers extra.

“As a consumer packaged goods company and global citizen, we need to tackle those issues related to the plastic crisis with new ideas, innovation, capital and new costs of goods sold if the solutions aren’t there. We’re working with our suppliers to increase recycled content in our plastic rings and shrink wrap and in PET bottle—it’s all about what works for consumers in local markets. Some plastics will remain, while others will be switched for other materials. We’re coming at it from different angles and making a lot of progress.”

Among those promising angles that Marotta is most excited about is a development that she calls “a major breakthrough in plastic beer bottles.”

Next: A better-to-recycle PET bottle and shrinking shrink wrap use


In presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more,

WestPack 2020 February 11-13 is co-located with several shows including PLASTEC West and offers the Cannabis Packaging Summit, all held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________

Currently the company uses a 5-layer oxygen barrier beer bottle in 32- (shown) and 40-oz sizes, but the shortcoming is that “in some municipalities those bottles are hard to sort and recycle,” Marotta acknowledges, which is why Molson Coors has given that packaging a lot of attention and now has good news to share.

“We’ve been working with our supply stream for several years looking at what new technology that will help us be sustainable, protect the quality of our beer and also help recycling in our communities,” says Marotta. “We’re excited to announce we are moving from 5-layer to 3-layer bottle in the U.S. that will help us to achieve our reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable goal because the new bottle’s reduced nylon barrier layer that makes it much easier to recycle at a municipal recycling facility.”

The production of a 3-layer bottle requires a more precise barrier than that for the current-5-layer barrier bottle, Marotta points out, but the company’s R&D team determined that it’s possible through a new co-injection approach.

All that’s left is consumer testing to confirm the results they expect “and then we can continue moving forward with it,” she adds.

Paired with that new plastic bottle structure is the news that Molson Coors partnered with Loop Industries to reduce the reliance on virgin polymers through a chemical process that converts recycled PET into an rPET bottle with the same durability and quality as 100% virgin PET. Loop’s patented technology depolymerizes no- and low-value waste PET plastic and polyester fiber including plastic bottles, textiles and more into the base monomers. Those monomers are processed into Loop-branded PET resin and polyester fiber suitable for food-grade packaging.

“We’re really excited about that opportunity with Loop as a step toward a circular economy,” she enthuses.

And that’s just the start of things.

Mariotta appreciates that the fundamental challenge to any plastic reducing or elimination program is to replace plastic with an alternative than can perform as well. And one of those basic plastic packaging formats is shrink wrap used to bundle multipacks.

“Plastics’ appeal for a very long time has been for consumer friendliness and ease of use,” she admits. “We’re testing the paper-based alternative to learn about the interaction with consumers and what works in the U.S.”

That particular initiative comes under the Accelerate goal. Marotta discloses that before April 2021 Coors Beer will switch to 100% recyclable paperboard sleeves. “We made a commitment to remove plastic wrap by 2020 from large multipacks replacing with kraft paper, a new alternative that’s been in the market in UK with Coors Light and Carling.”

In the U.S., a pilot for one of the company’s craft brands, Colorado Native, is the first of the company’s brands to test a new plastic-free, fiber-based six-pack ring for beverage cans. The eco-friendly rings are made from post-industrial recycled fiber and are 100% bio-based, recyclable and compostable in commercial composting facilities.

It’s not a one-size fits all proposition.

“While we try for global solutions, consumers trends and needs and regulations are different by market and location,” she says. “We want to respond and address these needs appropriately.”

This past summer is early in testing phase.

“It’s a different look for the packaging, and it’s quite obvious to consumers with the switch from plastic to fiber that a change has been made.”

In November, Marotta shared the results with Packaging Digest: “The Colorado Native fiber rings are performing well, and we plan on converting 100% of our plastic rings to fiber on all of our Colorado Native beers.”

The company is also testing a bioplastic ring unitizer for cans.

Next: Carbon footprint reduction and more


In presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more,

WestPack 2020 February 11-13 is co-located with several shows including PLASTEC West and offers the Cannabis Packaging Summit, all held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________

This year Molson Coors launched a new target to cut the carbon emissions from packaging by 26%, based on a 2016 baseline. At 26%, packaging is the largest source of carbon dioxide across the company’s value chain.

One venue to achieve that is for all 28 of the company’s brewing and major manufacturing facilities send zero waste to landfill by 2025. Marotta reports that during 2018 another three facilities achieved that target, bringing the company’s current total of zero-waste plants to 17.

Other methods to lowering the carbon footprint is to increase the recycled content of glass and PET bottles and aluminum cans and to lightweight packaging.

As part of the packaging emission reductions program, the brewer held summits with its Top 100 global packaging suppliers to discuss new innovations, new technology and learn what the vendors were doing to reduce their own carbon footprint. For example, packaging suppliers Ball Corp. and Crown have committed to using 100% renewable electricity. “What they do affects Molson’s Value chain,” Marotta notes.

The company, which also operates one of the largest solar arrays in the U.S., is exploring carbon credit offsets as part of an aggressive goal with what Marotta calls a large “menu” of tactics to hit 50% emission reductions within its operations by 2025. These include energy- and self-sufficiency.

Molson Coors recognizes that for its and like programs by others to be regionally successful requires numerous participant stakeholders. In reaction, the brewer joined The Recycling Partnership, a group of 45 leading brands promoting more jobs in the circular economy, more material recovery and stronger, more equitable communities within the U.S.

Foundational to these and other efforts is grassroots participation by communities in reducing litter and collecting and increasing recycled content.

“We need to help solve the plastics waste problem as a company for our own products including how we use new technology and innovative solutions, but we also need to work in our communities and collaborate with other organizations—the government, nonprofit groups, and other key stakeholders,” Marotta explains. “We want to help take any confusion and obstacles to success out of recycling.”

And it’s not just for plastics packaging.

“We’re working in Denver with Momentum Recycling where glass recycling in municipalities is not a problem,” she says. “We have a joint venture with Rocky Mountain Bottling Company Recycle Colorado, an Owens-Illinois company, that recently over six months targeted places that were hard even for glass bottles to be recycled, like including apartments, bars and restaurants. We were successful to get the material to RMRC’s other locations so that recycled content could be made into new glass. Moving forward, we are looking at local solutions that focus on recycling infrastructure.”

For Molson Coors, the Beer Print 2025 plan is the current itinerary on a sustainable journey the company has traveled for decades.

“We have a foundation to work from—but there’s a lot more work for us to do as a company and for consumers to do in general,” says Marotta.


In presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more,

WestPack 2020 February 11-13 is co-located with several shows including PLASTEC West and offers the Cannabis Packaging Summit, all held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________