The pharmaceutical package leaflet is enclosed with all medication. It contains the mandatory information in accordance with legislation, as well as other useful consumer information such as dosage and type of usage. Package leaflets are also however used as operating instructions with technical documentation.
Year on year however, ever greater amounts of text in ever bigger script must be accommodated due to statutory regulations – and consequently the need for a larger printable area grows. This means elaborate folding leaflets or even booklets are required, allowing package leaflets and usage information in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries to be accommodated in small folding cartons.
Die Pharmadrucker GmbH, which is located in the town of Melsungen in the state of Hesse, has specialised in precisely these requirements. In 1994 the company was one of the first German printing houses to successfully introduce digital printing, which it continues to use today. The company specialises in the high-quality printing of thin package leaflets and booklets, as well as in the manufacture of folding cartons and labels for the pharmaceutical industry. Production as well as further processing and order picking are always carried out in accordance with all the relevant requirements of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The range of services is rounded off by extensive, customised concepts for after-sales and customer advice, including the Web-Print-Shop (www.diepharmadrucker.de), which complies with all GMP/FDA requirements.
“Printed pharmaceutical products, in other words secondary packaging, are highly sophisticated products in both their content and form, and manufacturing them should only be undertaken by printing houses with experience in the sector,” explains Sebastian Härtig, member of the Management Board. The demands on quality in the printing and further processing of package leaflets are correspondingly high. The print and graphic design are subject to strict security standards. The latest machine technology and a perfectly trained team, as well as 100 % camera inspection in the use of printing machines, together with folding machines that have double-side barcode inspection – in Melsungen nothing is left to chance.
The labelling system comes from MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection. For four years the MR393 conveyor belt labeller has been used very flexibly in three folding lines, depending on the print run and type of production (insert or outsert, parallel fold or cross fold). The state-of-the-art, high-performance folding machines can produce all types of folded leaflets, from the simple folded package leaflet to inserts with an adhesive feature, outserts with a sealing label, and booklets in a wide range of versions.
Sebastian Härtig: “The basic principles on which investment decisions are made, as well as our requirements as regards the quality of the machines and materials we use, are generally complex and challenging. We are primarily talking here about a combination of labelling system, folding machine, label material and adhesive. These individual components must be matched perfectly to each other, so that for example the narrow label strips for the sealing labels do not tear despite the high tension forces, and so that overall we can achieve the best possible result.”
Thanks to decades of experience and extensive know-how, MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection is able to ensure this perfect harmonisation and high level of reliability and productivity are achieved – as well as supplying the right sealing labels of the highest quality to Die Pharmadrucker GmbH. “For us this is ideal of course. We obtain all the components from one source, and they are tailored to our specific needs,” adds Sebastian Härtig.
In addition to the quality and ease of integration, the performance of the labelling system above all played an important role. According to Sebastian Härtig, the decisive criteria were the “net running performance and the set-up and conversion times. This is because we have to calculate with lean margins, so that we can offer attractive prices in the market.”
The MR393 from MULTIVAC has fulfilled all expectations. The level of machine availability is high and the system is largely maintenance-free. The conveyor belt labeller was specially developed for labelling folded paper products, and it is connected directly to the folding system. It seals the open paper edges of the package leaflet or booklet with a small sealing label, so that the edges do not spring open. This means the leaflets and booklets retain their flat shape and are only opened by the consumer.
The folded products are transferred directly from the folding machine without being turned. A transport system consisting of several belts transfers the products to the labelling station with the closed side of the product leading. Here, half the label is applied from above to the open side of the product, and the protruding part of the label is then pressed downwards in a U shape around the product by means of a driven press-on unit, while the product is being transported. This is how the open paper edges of the product are sealed closed. The sealing labels from MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection can be placed precisely even at high speed, and even the narrowest of label strips are extremely tear-resistant.
A spindle mechanism ensures the labeller’s working height can be adjusted to a maximum of 970 mm as required by the customer. Thanks to swivel castors, which can be locked, the MR393 can be moved easily and used very flexibly in different folding lines. Depending on the product and label, a labelling speed of up to 8,000 products per hour can be achieved. Operating the menu-controlled graphic display with its 9-key film keypad is simple and clear.
The investment in this labelling system has certainly been worth it for Die Pharmadrucker GmbH. The labelling solution has constantly proven itself over the years. And the company sees itself ready for all future challenges. “The proportion of products with a sealing label is growing continually. We see a lot more potential in this sector of our business – and a significant expansion of our capacity in the market,” says Sebastian Härtig.
Product thickness Max 5 mm
Product width Min 35 mm - max. 200 mm (min. 25 mm as an option)
Product speed Max. 45 m/min
Output 7,000 - 8,000 products / hour
*Depending on the equipment