The system, originally developed by Italy's V2 Engineering, has already been launched in mainland Europe and is used in the food sector, but is suitable for any sachet-based product and the pharmaceutical sector is a key target for Isopak.
Because the system can handle both batching and packaging it provides a significant increase in throughput compared to rival systems, according to Robin Davies, Isopak's managing director. It operates on a continuous cycle and can handle up to 900 sachets per minute - a significant improvement over the 300-400 sachet throughput achieved by rival systems from the likes of Bosch, he told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.
"Sachets have always been difficult to handle but the new system … represents a major breakthrough for the UK market," said Davies.
The process begins with hundreds of the single portion sachets running along 10 holding lines. They are then collated and batched into groups of 25 in an upstream pouching system, and placed onto a conveyor for loading and packing.
Each carton enters the machine as a pre-glued, flat blank and as they are pick-up from the magazine the flat cartons are placed horizontally onto the conveyor below. Two sides are folded up and tucked-in by an automatic closing system, leaving an opening for the collated sachets to enter.
Equipped with automatic loading units to feed the sachets, the machine handles each batch of 25 and places them into the partially assembled boxes. With the sachets positioned inside the centre of the carton the machine folds and closes the remaining sides to keep the sachets securely inside the box, according to Isopak.
The system is suitable for a wide range of sizes, according to the company, and is designed with consideration for the clean-in-place and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements of the drug industry.
"It is special because it is an all in one system for both batching and packing sachets, a process that other manufacturers have struggled to achieve in the past," said Davies, adding that he believed demand would be 'immense'. Isopak is the exclusive distributor for V2 Engineering systems in the UK.