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Articles from 2019 In June


Top 3 AmeriStar winners excel in packaging design, sustainability

Top 3 AmeriStar winners excel in packaging design, sustainability
Innovative packages from The Estée Lauder Companies, O-I and Sherwin-Williams earned the top AmeriStar Awards for 2019.

It is AmeriStar Award season once again, and the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) has announced the competition’s 2019 winners. A panel of 12 judges (including our own Executive Editor Lisa McTigue Pierce) evaluated more than 50 packages entered into 17 categories, ultimately awarding the top three 2019 AmeriStar Awards to:

• Clinique iD by The Estée Lauder Companies—for Best of Show.

• O-I : EXPRESSIONS—for Design Excellence.

• Krylon Industrial Quik-Tap Aerosol by Sherwin-Williams—for Sustainable Packaging.

(Click here to view all 23 winners in the 2019 AmeriStar Awards, along with the four student award winners.)

Here are exclusive details on each of these three top winners.

Best of Show: Clinique iD by The Estée Lauder Companies

Clinique, a brand of The Estée Lauder Companies, took home the Best of Show award for its dual-pump Clinique iD package. The packaging concept enables consumers to combine a hydration base product with a specialty booster serum and dispense both formulas with one press of the actuator.

The base product is filled into a bottle that is similar to the iconic Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (DDML) container in proportions and shape. The Clinique iD bottle’s mouth is larger, however, to accommodate the insertion of a tube-shaped cartridge containing booster serum.

The consumer removes the closure from the Clinique iD base bottle and screws the serum cartridge into the bottle. The cartridge houses the dual-pump mechanism, which includes a dip tube for dispensing the hydration base.

Consumers have a choice of three Clinique Dramatically Different base products, and five serums in color-coded cartridges; the various serums address skin issues such as lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and fatigue. In all, 18 Clinique iD combinations are possible.

The dual pump dispenses different doses of the two products (base and serum), for optimal mixing at the time of use. “It is unique to have a dual-chambered pump with different dosages,” says Bob Crescas, executive director, Clinique skincare packaging. “The lotion is 230 microliter, and the serum booster is 30mcl.”

He add that the “pump design is very tight and compact, meeting the goal of keeping the overall package in proportion to existing DDML [stock-keeping units]. The dual-pump/bottle package solves the problem of getting two formulas with one push of the actuator, boosting hydration and addressing individual skin concerns.”

The brand owner also redesigned the secondary packaging for Clinique iD products, to boost on-shelf appeal. DDML cartons have historically been green, but the Clinique iD cartons are white with a four-color process image of the hydration-base bottle or the brightly colored serum cartridge.

The Clinique iD bottles and cartridges are recyclable; the cartons, which are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paperboard, may be recycled or composted.

“The most challenging part of commercialization was managing a global supply chain,” Crescas notes. “We are a global company, so it was not a new challenge; however, we sourced components from three continents, bringing them all together to our final manufacturing plants both in New York and London. We had a whole team of people in Korea, Europe and the U.S. working to make this launch a success.”

NEXT: O-I’s Design Excellence Award

Design Excellence: O-I : EXPRESSIONS

This year’s Design Excellence Award honors Owens-Illinois Inc. for O-I : EXPRESSIONS, a technique that uses direct-to-glass digital printing to decorate bottles. The O-I : EXPRESSIONS RELIEF version of the technology takes the concept a step further, creating tactile effects on glass packaging.

O-I : EXPRESSIONS, which is positioned as a late-stage packaging design option, offers the benefits of flexible production volumes and nimble response to market demands. The technology is also environmentally friendly, using organic inks that do not hinder the glass package’s recyclability. Packagers’ ability to maintain smaller inventories also helps reduce packaging waste.

“In my opinion, the premium version of O-I : EXPRESSIONS, called O-I : EXPRESSIONS RELIEF—named after the sculptural technique—is the most innovative feature of our personalization service offering,” says Yolanda Fernandez, marketing communication specialist, O-I Europe Sàrl.

She explains that the digital/relief technology “takes brands a step beyond what was previously thought possible in terms of customization and premiumization,” via customized three-dimensional printed effects such as embossing and colored embossing.

“This will enable brands to interact with consumers through the sense of touch. This is the feature that is generating the most ‘wow’ responses from customers, not only because of how it looks, but because it really opens up new opportunities for smaller volumes,” Fernandez adds. Those smaller runs may include limited-time package designs, seasonal packaging and promotional bottles.

“In our opinion, digital printing should not be seen as a solution that will replace existing offerings and solutions, but rather it offers new opportunities for personalizing glass packaging and transforming packaging design through late-stage differentiation,” Fernandez says. “Our O-I : EXPRESSIONS service transforms a bottle into a canvas with speed and ease and helps brands create consumer experiences.”

NEXT: Finally, Sherwin-Williams’ Sustainable Packaging Award

Sustainable Packaging: Krylon Industrial Quik-Tap Aerosol by Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams won the Sustainable Packaging Award for its Krylon Industrial Quik-Tap paint package, which is an aerosol package design in which the valve and actuator are separate from the aerosol can.

The concept pairs aerosol cans with the reusable Quik-Tap tool. The user screws this device onto a Quik-Tap can, puncturing the sealed can and enabling the paint to flow to the valve and actuator for spraying.

Sherwin-Williams developed the package for a customer that uses spray paint for underground-utility identification. Technicians mark the ground above buried utility lines so contractors and others don’t accidentally damage the lines when digging.

Environmental benefits of the Krylon Industrial Quik-Tap design include hazardous-waste reduction and improved recyclability. Disposal of conventional aerosol paint cans typically requires diversion to a hazardous-waste stream, as the used cans remain sealed and pressurized, and they often still contain liquid paint.

In contrast, a spent Quik-Tap can—which is no longer sealed or pressurized after the Quik-Tap tool is unscrewed—may be recycled or disposed of with regular, non-hazardous waste.

The Quik-Tap packaging also produces less packaging waste than conventional aerosol paint cans, because the cans do not contain actuators or valves. The cans don’t need a protective overcap, either, because they can’t accidentally spray during shipping and handling.

Quik-Tap cans offer cost savings for users, as well. Sherwin-Williams reports that its ground-marking/utilities-locating customers use several million aerosol cans of paint each year. With conventional aerosol cans, this has required industrial users to pay for hazardous-materials dumpsters for can disposal. The new package design eliminates that expense.

Users find their paint going further with the Quik-Tap design, as well, because the package provides maximum evacuation of the product. After the residue remaining inside the used cans has dried, they are ready for recycling or trash.

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MinnPack 2019 (Oct. 23-24; Minneapolis) is where serious packaging professionals find technologies, education and connections needed to thrive in today’s advanced manufacturing community. See solutions in labeling, food packaging, package design and beyond. Attend free expert-led sessions at multiple theaters around the expo. Register to attend today!

Heparin syringes use sharp-catching label to prevent needlesticks

Heparin syringes use sharp-catching label to prevent needlesticks
The compact Needle-Trap label safely captures a syringe’s needle after an injection.

A needle-securing label on medical packaging from B. Braun Medical Inc. is protecting healthcare workers and patients from needlestick injuries. The Needle-Trap label system, developed by Schreiner MediPharm, is used on B. Braun’s Heparin Sodium Injection USP prefilled syringes.

Needle-Trap labels incorporate a plastic component that secures the syringe’s needle after an injection. B. Braun believes the package, which launched in the United States in April 2019, is the first prefilled heparin syringe with integrated needle protection to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Schreiner MediPharm reports that Needle-Trap also complies with the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requirements for safe instruments. The labeling system is used outside the United States, as well.

Gene Dul, U.S. president for Schreiner MediPharm, answers a few questions about Needle-Trap’s features and benefits.

When and where did Needle-Trap launch?

Dul: Needle-Trap was launched in some European Union (EU) countries starting in 2009 and has since then been widely used on an international scale.

What medications is it used for?

Dul: More than 820 million units have been produced since its market launch in 2009. Needle-Trap is used for medications such as heparins, vaccines or biosimilars (such as epoetin).

What benefits does Needle-Trap offer healthcare workers and/or patients, in addition to eliminating needlestick injuries?

Dul: Needle-Trap offers additional benefits to end users, since it is easy and intuitive to use. View of the needle is unobstructed, enabling the user to retain full control of the injection process. The content of the syringe, the graduation or air bubbles can be easily detected. The protection mechanism is activated in a controlled manner, using one hand, and with an irreversible and clearly noticeable effect.

Due to its compact design, Needle-Trap does not need a lot of space when it comes to transport, storage and disposal.

Additional functions may be integrated in the Needle-Trap label to further enhance patient and product safety. For instance, detachable label parts for efficient documentation and tracing of the medication in the medical records, graduation for safe dosing or security features for counterfeiting protection.

Who administers Needle-Trap Heparin Sodium injections to patients? Are they always administered in a healthcare setting?

Dul: Needle-Trap heparin injections are typically administered in a healthcare setting but can also be administered by patients themselves, following instructions from their healthcare provider.

How does the healthcare professional or patient dispose of a used Needle-Trap? Is there language on the Needle-Trap label explaining proper disposal?

Dul: Used prefilled syringes with the activated Needle-Trap should be put in an FDA-cleared sharps-disposal container. Detailed instructions on proper disposal can usually be found on the leaflets that come with the outer packaging, as well as online.

Are filling-line modifications or new equipment required to fill medication into Needle-Trap syringes?

Dul: The normal filling process of the syringes is not affected by Needle-Trap, since it is a label-integrated safety device. The plastic needle catcher is an integral part of the label. After the filling process, the Needle-Trap label is applied to the prefilled syringes on conventional dispensing machines, requiring only minor modifications.

EastPack explores top packaging topics in the Big Apple

EastPack explores top packaging topics in the Big Apple
What will you come to EastPack to see?

When EastPack lands in New York City June 11-13, the powerhouse packaging event will showcase emerging packaging equipment, smart technology, automation systems and other up-to-the-minute solutions.

Taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, EastPack is expected to welcome 8,000 attendees eager to get up close and personal with the latest innovations, trends and technology. More than 550 top packaging equipment, materials and solutions providers are slated to display their latest offerings.

This year, exhibits and free educational sessions are organized into a number of hot topic areas, focused on trends and emerging technologies of particular interest to packaging pros.

3D printing

With interest and investment growing rapidly in 3D printing for packaging and other fields, show organizers have incorporated a number of sessions and exhibits focused on this. Sessions (Booth 102) touching upon various aspects of the field include:

• “Getting Started on the Factory of the Future,” Tues., June 11, 11 a.m.

• “3D Printing Success Stories,” Wed., June 12, noon.

• “Behind Manufacturing’s Mass Customization Trend,” Thurs., June 13, 1 p.m.

Robotics and automation

According to show organizers, global factories will have put more than three million industrial robots to work by 2020. That’s why automated technology and solutions comprise another specialty area of EastPack 2019 in Booth 102. Highlights include:

• “Digital Transformers—Real Examples of How First-movers are Innovating Manufacturing,” Tues., June 11, 3 p.m.

• “Is Your Resume Better Than a Robot’s?” Wed., June 12, 1 p.m.

• “ROI-based Smart Manufacturing,” Wed., June 12, 3 p.m.

Food and beverage packaging

Packaging must balance increasing demand for sustainability, interest in healthful eating, rising material costs, production flexibility and other concerns. To deliver and maintain profitability, industry professionals must seek out methods and technology that empower them keep competitive. Free sessions (Booth 2370) in this topic area include:

• “How Packaging Can Position Your Product as a Healthy Snack,” Tues., June 11, 11 a.m.

• “Sustainable Packaging—What Really Matters to Consumers?” Wed., June 12, 1 p.m.

• “Trends in Snack Food Packaging,” Thurs., June 13, noon.

Contract packaging and manufacturing

Contract solutions appeal to brand owners looking to partner with quality professionals who can meet their exacting standards while also conserving costs. This show section enables motivated professionals to network with potential partners. Exhibitors include:

• Accumold (Booth 757)

• AIP Precision Machining (Booth 453)

• SteriPack USA (Booth 630)

Injection molding

While innovators continue to work on releasing never-before-seen materials for the packaging industry, plastic remains the most used. Metal injection also remains popular. This focus at EastPack 2019 enables attendees to hone in on providers and advancement in this area. Suppliers include:

• C&J Industries (Booth 1657)

• Currier Plastics (Booth 667)

• Liquidmetal Technologies (Booth 749)

• Saint-Gobain (Booth 1815)

Labeling

Consumers expect labels to do a better job of informing them about a product than they have in the past. Also, demand for specialty films is on the rise, and producers need label production to be efficient and accurate. Exhibitors showcasing solutions in this area include:

• AstroNova (Booth 2229)

• Dartronics (Booth 2207)

• Ward/Kraft Inc. (Booth 2421)

EastPack 2019 registration is now open. Visit the website to sign up or to learn more.

10 tasting trends: See what’s ahead for snacks and sweets

Sweet stock image
NCA’s 2019 Sweets and Snacks Expo yielded notable market facts, trends, and of course new packaging.

Financially, the candy and snack industry is a healthy business. Increasingly, that term is becoming more literal as well. For example, according to the National Confectioners Association, by 2022 manufacturers pledge at least half of individually wrapped products will be 200 calories or less. Additionally, 90% of the category’s bestsellers will put calorie information in a starring role—right on the front of the packaging.

Encouragement of more healthful snacking isn’t the only trend. At the NCA’s 2019 Sweets and Snacks Expo, attendees heard about notable market facts and trends, including:

• Booming e-commerce sales. IRI reports online sales of packaged candy, snacks and other treats has hit the $1 billion mark. Over the past two years, increases in internet sales of chocolate led the field (24%), with non-chocolate (15%) and gum.

• Non-chocolate is pulling ahead.Traditionally chocolate has worn the crown in category growth. In 2017 and again last year, however, non-chocolate has pulled ahead, reports NCA. Seasonal non-chocolate offerings jumped by 6.5% in that time.

• Candy, snacks and gum reign. Nearly every household in America (98.9%) bought products in the category during 2018, according to IRI.

The star of Sweets and Snacks, though, are the product exhibits. Wandering through the booths offered a glimpse of thousands of new products, and a chance to do some trendspotting. Browse ahead to read about notable packaging, flavor and ingredient trends.

Photo: Jenni Spinner

1. Hot, hot, hot

Aficionados of all things spicy will appreciate this trend. Increasingly, packaged treats promise intense heat—and deliver. For example, the new line of Chickpea Puffs from Biena Snacks includes a Blazin’ Hot flavor that actually is. Other bold entries include Hot AF Slim Jim meat sticks from ConAgra Brands and—for the truly fearless—the Toe of Satan, Flamethrower Candy Co.’s lollipop boasting 9 million Scoville units of heat.

Go with retro

Photo: Glitschka Studios

2. Go with retro

Tasting a piece of candy, or even merely holding a package of an old favorite treat, can bring back sweet memories. Best known for licorice and other sweets, Gerrit J Verburg purchased old-fashioned gums Beemans, Blackjack and Teaberry, showing off its acquisitions at the show in familiar packaging.

Also, 1908 Candy Co. previewed its retooled yet still retro packaging for throwback candies it acquired from Ferrara, including Alexander the Grape, Mr. Melon, Cherry Clan and others.

Living single

 

Photo: Jenni Spinner

3. Living single

Calorie-conscious consumers who are low on self-control might be wary of bringing home an entire multi-serving package of treats, for fear of downing them in one sitting. Catering to those who don’t wish to overindulge, many manufacturers are offering one-shot snack packs. These include Spangler Candy Co., whose retail-ready cases of Circus Peanuts marshmallow candies debuted at the show.

Count on keto

Photo: Jenni Spinner

4. Count on keto

Unlike other fad diets, following a low-carb keto regimen seems to be carrying on rather than fading out. Consumers adhering to the high-protein regimen are on the hunt for sweets, not just meats. Many cookie, brownie and candy manufacturers are introducing packaged treats that satisfy a high desire for sweets while keeping carb counts down, including Fat Snax keto-friendly cookies.

Rolling out redesigns

Photo: Biena Snacks

5. Rolling out redesigns

Packaging redesigns are a common occurrence with consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands—it’s a popular trick to stay fresh with consumers by refreshing the look of a product. Gimbal’s Fine Candies (around since 1898) previewed an updated look for its film bags and pouches. Slightly younger brand Biena Snacks (established 2012) changed up the look of its chickpea snacks to better connect with shoppers, and unify the brand across product lines.

Eating and activities

Photo: Jenni Spinner

6. Eating and activities

As if candy by itself weren’t fun enough, several companies launched packaged candy and snacks with an interactive element. Redwood Ventures showed off its Foodie Surprise kits, which invite kids to whip up their own edible entertainment. International manufacturer PISSA offered a watercolor painting kit that lets users decorate candy tarts with edible watercolors and a candy crayon brush.

Two-part harmony

 

Photo: Jenni Spinner

7. Two-part harmony

Consumers often appreciate having more than one option, especially in the same package. Fini Sweets USA Inc. introduced its Flip It! candies at this year’s show. Each of the upright film pouches features two varieties of soft or gummy candy. The two sweets are kept separate with an inner film divider.

Premium experience

Photo: Jenni Spinner

8. Premium experience

Ferrero USA Inc.’s Golden Gallery high-end boxed chocolates entices premium-minded consumers with embossing, gold foil, finely crafted boxes and other luxe features. At Sweets and Snacks 2019, the company displayed an elevated version of the packaging inside a showcase box, accompanied by a brochure, wine pairings, tongs, presentation tray and other features. The packaging is designed to give consumers a social, elegant experience.

Get the message?

Photo: Jenni Spinner

9. Get the message?

Many manufacturers put thought into inside packaging components, not just the parts that can be spotted on shelves. American Licorice Co. recently launched an interactive campaign that encouraged users to send in uplifting personal messages. The most inspiring words were selected to be printed on the inner trays of Red Vines twists. The warm messages on the inner packaging are matched with groovy hearts, peace signs and other friendly graphics on the outer wrap.

Sugar-free gets younger

Photos: Jenni Spinner

10. Sugar-free gets younger

Alina Morse, the 14-year-old entrepreneur behind ZolliCandy, launched her brand because, in her opinion, offerings in the sugar-free category were lacking and aged. She headed up a company that now offers sugar-free lollipops, hard candies, taffy and (brand new at Sweets and Snacks 2019) caramels. The packaging features bright colors and fun graphics designed to appeal to kids of all ages.

 

8 impressive developments in packaging automation

8 impressive developments in packaging automation
John Henry is keeping an eye out for you.

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

Packaging Digest should know better than to send me to the Automate/ProMat show. It’s like giving a kid a credit card and sending them to the toy store. I spent two days wandering around and taking it all in. Lots of innovation and lots of cool stuff. Here are a few of the things that impressed me.

1. Wedding bells!

Articulated arm robots have been around for a long time. So have Autonomous Mobile Robots or AMRs (also called AGV’s in the past). It was only a matter of time before someone thought of marrying the two. One problem has been the need to cage normal robots for safety. Collaborative robots eliminate that need.

Olympus Controls demonstrated a Universal Robots collaborative arm mounted on an AMR. The addition of the robot arm allows the AMR to be completely autonomous, including loading and unloading. Looks like a match made in engineers’ heaven.  

NEXT: Skeletor is here

2. Skeletor is here

Comau let me try on its Mate exoskeleton. This mounts to the user’s torso and arms. The exoskeleton is spring loaded, taking a lot of the work out of repetitive tasks. When lowering boxes from shelves, for example, the springs absorb the weight. Different configurations allow it to aid in different types of tasks.

NEXT: A tablet in your eyeball

3. A tablet in your eyeball

I’ve been advocating for years to get a tablet into every mechanic’s pocket. This gives them instant access to the information they need to do their jobs. Better than in the pocket, though, is an Android tablet in the eye, like this from realwear. If anyone wonders what to get me for a gift, here’s a hint.

It includes an eyepiece and microphone that is positioned in front of the wearer’s eye. The headmount contains a camera. Voice activation lets you say “take a picture” (or video) and it does. Say “send the picture to tech support” and off it goes. Ask for a wiring diagram and it appears in the eyepiece.

It’s a fantastic piece of tech and I can see a day soon when all engineering or maintenance staff will be wearing them.

NEXT: Custom cases created quickly

4. Custom cases created quickly

Plants that are not already high mix/low volume are being forced into it by ecommerce. High mix/low volume (HMLV) requires a large inventory of different case sizes—or a few case sizes and a lot of disposable cushioning for the landfill.

Or they can check out CMC’s CartonWrap system. Single products or groups of mixed products are placed on the infeed conveyor. The CartonWrap system dimensions them then automatically cuts, scores, folds and seals corrugated board tightly around them. This creates a tight, secure, yet easy to open box, with no stuffing.

But that’s not all! It can also print the finished box with custom color graphics and apply the shipping label.  

NEXT: Rack tug

5. Rack tug

You’ve seen its tugs used to wrangle shopping carts at the supermarket. Dane Technologies caught my eye with its SmartDrive system. This simple and compact system is smaller than a shopping cart and can move racks of material. A trailing ride-on platform lets the operator ride along, resulting in faster transport time. Less time schlepping = more productivity.

NEXT: Compact palletizing

6. Compact palletizing

Articulated robots are frequently used for palletizing but, because of the required guarding, they can have a pretty big footprint. ONExia introduced its PalletizUR based on a Universal Robots collaborative robot. This creates a palletizer that takes up next to no floor space yet will handle 50% or more of typical palletizing applications for consumer packaged goods (CPG). The light weight of the UR allows ONExia to place the robot on an elevating pedestal, greatly increasing the reach envelope.

NEXT: Robo casing

7. Robo casing

X-Pak has been building robot-based case erectors for a few years. I was always impressed on how it simplified case erecting and allowed erection of multiple case sizes at random. It has gone a step further by switching to a collaborative robot from Universal. This simplifies the system and reduces the required floor space—while maintaining most of the capabilities. Add a second robot for loading, a case taper and the palletizer from its partner ONExia and, voila! You have a complete, fully automatic packaging cell taking up very little space. More importantly, almost no changeover downtime.

NEXT: Sawyer lives!

8. Sawyer lives!

Baxter from Rethink Robotics was one of the first collaborative robots and convinced me that cobots are the future. The addition of the Sawyer model was another step forward. I was sad to write about the company’s demise last year.

I don’t usually like being proved wrong but this is an exception. Rethink Robotics has been purchased by Hahn Group, which will not only continue making Sawyer but will be adding additional models later this year.

I’d say welcome back, but they never really went away.

Trade shows are a lot of work, especially the way I visit them. I need to see everything. I walk the entire show looking for new ideas, as well as old ideas in new applications. Two days at Automate/Promat was a real learning experience.

Known as the Changeover Wizard, John R. Henry is the owner of Changeover.com, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He has written the book, literally, on packaging machinery (www.packmachbook.com) and is the face and personality behind packaging detective KC Boxbottom, the main character in Adventures in Packaging, a popular blog on packagingdigest.com. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

3 drug-delivery device ‘firsts’ win awards

3 drug-delivery device ‘firsts’ win awards
Three innovations in drug-delivery devices earn kudos.

Creating a new package in the highly regulated medical industry isn’t easy. When it happens, it should be rewarded. So we’re pleased to present the winners in the 2019 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) competition for the Drug-Delivery and Combination Products category.

Medtech’s brightest and most innovative developers recently attended the premier awards ceremony for the industry. Winners accepted their awards on Tues., June 11, in New York during the MD&M East event, which is co-located with EastPack. Both events are owned by Informa, the parent company of Packaging Digest and MD+DI publications.

The MDEAs accept entries from companies and individuals involved in the design, engineering, manufacturing, or distribution of finished medical devices. Jurors—made up of clinicians, engineers and designers—carefully review entries and select up to six finalists in each category. They then vote whether to award a bronze, silver and gold award in each category, as well as select an overall best-in-show winner.

Entries in the Drug-Delivery and Combination Products category can include packages such as prefilled syringes, misting devices, dry powder inhalers, patches, pouches or combination implants with biologic agents.

Of the five finalists in the Drug-Delivery and Combination Products category, the 2019 winners are:

Eluvia

Bronze: Eluvia Drug Eluting Vascular Stent from Boston Scientific Corp.

The Eluvia Drug-Eluting Vascular Stent System is the first and only drug-eluting technology designed to sustain drug release beyond a year to deliver drug therapy when restenosis (the recurrence of abnormal narrowing of an artery or valve after corrective surgery) is most likely to occur in the superficial femoral artery (the main artery of the leg).

clEARdropper

Silver: clEARdropper from AJB LLC

clEARdropper is the first over-the-counter ear drug-delivery device, solving the problems of accurate ear drug dosing, waste and self-administration with a simple, waste-eliminating, cost-reducing design that addresses the delivery challenges and unique anatomy of the ear.

Supply and Design Credits: Rubber Industries Inc.

Bydureon BCise

Gold: Bydureon BCise from AstraZeneca

Bydureon BCise is a fixed-dose autoinjector for convenient dose preparation (re-suspension) and self-injection by patients with Type 2 diabetes. It is the first cartridge-based autoinjector. Needle and cartridge form a fluid path only immediately before administration. The users were fundamental in determining the appropriate device activation mechanism, the form factors and device feedback.

Supply and Design Credits: SHL Medical AG

New pouch packaging system suits small-volume operations

New pouch packaging system suits small-volume operations

Finding affordable automation for small-volume operations—like start-up companies or productions with frequent changeovers—is about as hard as finding a teenager not affixed to a smartphone. But the need is great and packaging machinery manufacturers are starting to populate this niche.

For example, All Packaging Machinery has teamed up with Nae Pac to engineer a new system to weigh, fill and seal 8 to 10 standup bags per minute, depending on the product. A single operator can run the semi-automatic system, which mates an All Packaging Machinery sealer with a Nae Pac weigher/filler onto a single base.

The compact size—just 42 inches deep x 57 inches wide x 77 inches tall—also acknowledges the footprint limitations of many facilities today, startups and corporate conglomerates alike.

Matt Kenney, sales manager at Nae Pac, answers a few questions about the new system, which you can see in person at the upcoming EastPack 2019 (June 11-13; New York City).

What is unique about this machine/setup and what are the benefits of it for the customer?

Kenney: This compact affordable system is ideal for small or start-up companies needing to get their product into market with very little investment. The Nae Pac NPS-1 weigher/filler and APM TCBSDM-3/8 sealer are designed especially for stand-up pouches and are user-friendly and easy to operate. The scale has all stainless-steel contact parts, the sealer has chrome plated sealing bars, and the nickel-plated cooling system reduces wear and increases longevity of use.

How do the two pieces of equipment interface/sync?

Kenney: These systems operate independently.

Is there just one controller?

Kenney: The scale has a controller and the sealer has its own set of controls.

Both machines share the same frame. Why do that?

Kenney: This allows smaller start-up companies a with limited work space to have a full packaging system that is compact and easily moved when note in use. It allows one operator to weigh, fill and seal at one station.

Why is it important that this system be on wheels?

Kenney: Ease of moving around when system is not in use. Also, transporting for cleaning purposes.

What type of filler is it? What is the accuracy (+/-)?

Kenney: Net weight filling system. Static accuracy is 0.5% of system capacity. Accuracy will be dependent upon individual product size.

What products are suitable to be packaged on this system?

Kenney: Dry free-flowing products such as food, coffee, electronic components, candy, grains, plastic parts, seeds and more.

It’s touted as affordable automation. What is the price?

Kenney: Starting at $16,895.

Before designing medical device packaging, explore your options

Before designing medical device packaging, explore your options

What are your top concerns when it comes to designing packaging for medical devices? Speed to market? Efficient aseptic transfer? User experience? An upcoming free webinar will share tips on how to best engineer your package for today’s medical device landscape.

On June 18 at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, experts from Oliver Healthcare Packaging will share tips on creating packages that not only protect the device, but also mitigate risk and improve user experience.

Presenters Jeremy Elwell, senior principal engineer, and Kevin Fisher, technical manager, from Oliver Healthcare Packaging, have more than two decades of experience in the design and manufacture of packaging for medical devices, including many years spent working at major medical device manufacturers.

Understanding and analyzing packaging options might be the biggest challenge facing packaging designers now in the medical device industry. Elwell and Fisher will explain how to “rightsize” a package for the application—that is, how to create the proper size, and how to select the appropriate material and packaging components.

These Oliver packaging specialists will also bust a couple myths in the one-hour webinar. For example, a common misconception is that a thicker pouch film is always better. However, packaging engineers need to know that “some protection properties do increase with thicker pouch film, but not all,” Elwell says.

Jeremy Elwell

Jeremy Elwell

Click here to register for the free one-hour event.

How can unit-dose blister packaging curb opioid abuse?

How can unit-dose blister packaging curb opioid abuse?

Epidemic. Crisis. Abuse. Dramatic words that, unfortunately, aptly describe the current situation with opioid drugs in the United States. But we’re starting to fight back hard, and packaging may be a secret weapon to help us win some of the battles.

On May 30, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration asked for public feedback on a proposal that would require certain opioids be packaged in fixed-quantity, unit-dose blisters. This latest FDA action is just one answer to what is known as the SUPPORT law. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act—enacted in the fall of 2018, with nearly a full sweep in the House (393–8) and in the Senate (98–1)—attacks the critical epidemic of opioid abuse facing America through a multi-pronged assault.

At the end of 2018, Packaging Digest identified “3 packaging designs that tackle the opioid crisis.” We now continue to explore timely solutions with a special session scheduled for EastPack 2019 (June 11-13; New York City).

On Wed., June 12, from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m., Walter Berghahn will present “Packaging Solutions for the Opioid Crisis” in Booth 2370. Berghahn is executive director for the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council, not-for-profit trade association that advocates for greater use of unit dose and compliance packaging formats in the U.S. He is also president of SmartRmeds for Life, a consultancy service focused on promoting medication adherence in the supply chain.

Until then, Berghahn explains some of the packaging challenges/considerations related to opioids.

Are opioid manufacturers open to new packaging options that are designed to help prevent an opioid overdose? Why or why not?

Berghahn: In the last meeting I attended with FDA present, opioid manufacturers were pushing back on FDA and the requirement for blisters for initial (acute care) scrips. They were claiming that the tooling up to produce this form would be burdensome. They were concerned about blister capacity. They also felt that the number of forms that could be required—3 day, 5 day, 7 day—could create problems.

What are the packaging challenges pharmaceutical manufacturers face that are specific to opioids and how should these challenges be addressed?

Berghahn: The system as designed allows for the repackaging of pharmaceuticals in the pharmacy, an antiquated practice that has existed since the time when most pharmacies were compounding medications and hence packaging as well. No other country in the world repackages pharmaceuticals to the level that we do in the U.S. Other countries almost exclusively use the manufacturers package whether bottle or blister.

The other packaging challenge would be that the blisters in this case would be F-1 CR according to CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] guidance. The F-1 CR package is certainly a bit more complicated to produce but is readily available in numerous forms.

How can unit-dose packaging help curb opioid abuse? 

Berghahn: The concept behind the SUPPORT legislation is to reduce the excess supply of product in the market due to poor prescribing practices. Today, most scrips, due to insurance formulary, are written for 30 days. The healthcare community has come to the realization that this practice—which is fine for chronic treatment prescriptions—does not work so well for short-term acute-care events. Tooth extraction, a sprained ankle and such might require three to four days of opioids, but certainly not 30.  The left-over doses are ripe for abuse, whether by the prescribed patient or by others in the household. They are all too frequently sold on the black market, as well.

The other benefit that packaging could provide, especially F-1 compliance packs, is to give visual reminders to patient and caregivers of doses taken. This can help in two ways: First, to help the patient avoid accidental overdosing, through better logging of doses taken and timing. Second, it can provide visual evidence of pilfered doses. When doses go missing from a blister card, it is much easier to track than in a bottle where one would literally need to dump out the contents and count to verify that some are gone.

If we take it a step further, smart packaging with integrated electronic chips/RFID could track doses taken and provide warning to caregiver in case of attempted overdose or pilferage.

4 packaging experiences shape the Snack Shack

4 packaging experiences shape the Snack Shack

Hands-on experiences can be educational—and fun, too! That’s the aim of the new Snack Shack interactive exhibit at the upcoming EastPack 2019 event (June 11-13; New York City).

Brought to you by Packaging Digest, the Snack Shack will contain these four entertaining stations:

1. Trendy Snack Packs—in this visual display, find inspiration in new and innovative snack packaging designs and see how savvy snack companies are getting a leg up on the competition.

2. Key Snack Trends—learn five major trends that are feeding the demand for convenient, healthy and eco-friendly snacks. Plus, learn about strategic partnerships, co-branding and dynamic food duos that are yielding some super snack combos in an interactive game:

3. Weird & Wild Snacks—sample edible insects, questionable candy and bizarre snacks from around the globe.

4. The Big Apple Snack Trend—from dried fruit snacks to apple bars to portable slices-and-dip combinations, consumers are increasingly turning to an apple snack a day to keep hunger at bay. See the avalanche of apple snacks hitting the market and how their packaging is pushing key messaging and perception.

Attendees to EastPack 2019 can visit the Snack Shack for free anytime during show hours. Just head to Booth 2274 to indulge in our interactive experience highlighting key trends in the fast-growing snack segment. Click here to register now!

Shana Leonard, vp, Content & Strategy, Advanced Manufacturing Group for Informa Markets, contributed to the content of this article. Informa Markets is the parent company of Packaging Digest.