The Swedish company Wellspect HealthCare, whose headquarters are in Mölndal, is one of the leading suppliers of innovative products and services in the sectors of urology, surgery and respiratory therapy. The company was founded in 1948 and is now represented worldwide.
Wellspect HealthCare placed its trust in the expertise of MULTIVAC for the market launch of a catheter product. The packaging specialist supported the Swedish manufacturer in the development of the packaging procedure and installed a packaging line complete with an automatic pack discharge system.
At the end of 2011, Wellspect HealthCare was preparing the market launch of a new catheter product. Project manager, Anders Tennby, relates the background: “LoFric® Origo is a new development of the LoFric® catheter series for men, which is designed for use as self-catheterisation. We wanted to offer our customers a packaging format which enables the product to be used simply and discretely in everyday operation”.
Wellspect HealthCare relied on MULTIVAC for the development of the new packaging procedure and the appropriate packaging solution.
One of the greatest challenges for Wellspect HealthCare with the new packaging concept was the development of the packaging procedure had to run parallel with the product development. This was due to the need for the launch time to be kept as short as possible. Those responsible for the project at Wellspect HealthCare had the opportunity to see the various options for the packaging design at MULTIVAC’s Training and Innovation Center (TIC) in advance of the start of the project. It is here that MULTIVAC offers its customers a complete infrastructure of services, including consultation on packaging development.
Wellspect Healthcare describes the product benefits of LoFric® Origo as follows:
The development of a suitable packaging solution was able to be achieved within the required time frame. In May of 2012, MULTIVAC delivered the complete packaging line. This consists of a thermoforming packaging machine with a cross web labeller and a handling module for the automatic discharge of the packs. “In our view, the high level of customer benefits offered by MULTIVAC was due to the efficient development of the concept. Any smaller problems, which generally arise when equipment with this degree of complexity is put into service, were solved by
MULTIVAC flexibly and rapidly”, says Anders Tennby with praise.
Regarding the marking of the packs, a pre-printed label is dispensed onto the underside of the formed lower web. In order to ensure that the catheters remain in the pack cavities during the web advance, and that they do not protrude into the sealing area, MULTIVAC
developed a system which guides the products securely and monitors this critical area. This ensures the products are not damaged during the sealing process and the packs are sealed without flaws.
The opening label is applied to the upper web to produce the opening aid. An opening contour is punched into the film underneath this. When the consumer pulls on the opening label, the pack opens very easily due to the contour punching, and this enables the pack to be opened without any problems. The label also serves as the reseal closure for the pack.
The separation cutting of the packs from the film is performed by a complete cutter (KPS). The packs are subsequently removed from the complete cutter by a handling module and transferred into cassettes provided by Wellspect HealthCare. The gripper of the robot always turns through 90 degrees - alternately to the left and to the right. This procedure is monitored by sensors. In order to fulfil the high quality requirements, different quality inspection systems were integrated in the packaging line. For example the presence of the individual product components in the pack is monitored by sensors, as is the presence of the opening label. If an inspection system detects a fault, this cycle is “written as reject” and ejected at the end of the machine via a transport conveyor.
At the beginning of 2013, LoFric® Origo was launched onto the market and the new catheter quickly won positive feedback. “The product has been very well received by our customers, and the sales volume is rising rapidly”, reports project manager Anders Tennby, taking stock of the development with the words: “The project has been a complete success. With this installed packaging line, we now have an efficient solution which meets our quality requirements in every respect”.
The Innovation Center at the Wolfertschwenden site is the center of excellence for packaging consultation and sample production. Here, the pack takes centre stage, and customers have the opportunity to evaluate a wide range of packaging concepts for their products. Prototypes and small batches can also be produced. Confidentiality is guaranteed by test rooms with directly connected meeting rooms, which are only accessible with individual access authorisation.
A highly motivated team of professionals with unique expertise and experience as well as a customised infrastructure, provide the ideal conditions for meaningful packaging consulting and packaging tests.
The Innovation Center in Wolfertschwenden is closely linked with the innovation centers in the countries of the local MULTIVAC subsidiaries.