Current topic – Focused on materials – plastics, paperboard
Polycarbonates and packaging
The polycarbonate (PC) products have sustainable properties, their applications are environmentally safe as well as economically and socially beneficial. One of the most serious and widely publicized issues of PC applications is Bisphenol A (BPA) safety, namely in contact with food. Many studies have demonstrated that BPA migration from PC in contact with food is extremely low. Until now, over 1,000 studies on ecotoxicity of PC affecting humans have been conducted around the world. Two materials of the PlasticsEurope’s PC/BPA product group (www.bisphenol-a-europe.org) sum up the results.
Plastic packagings for children
Packaging of products intended for children must comply with health and regulatory standards. Concurrently, the packs satisfy protective, handling and promotion functions. While the parents prefer safety, the kids are interested in the appearance. Plastics can be complex shaped, while remaining smooth and nice to touch. They withstand common children’s manipulation. Bright colors and complex printing technologies can be employed. Shrink sleeve labels enable to attach a gift toy to the product. We can find all kinds of converting processes – lamination, flow pack, blow molding, injection molding and their combinations – applied in children product packaging.
Plastics for food – more stringent requirements
The Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food was released in January, effective of May 1, 2011. Contrary to previous regulations, it solves issues of multilayer plastic packages and new technologies like nanomaterials, which remain excluded from contact with food. The document does not cover the use of plastic colorants.
Paperboard and plastic protective packaging
Blocking and bracing eliminate mechanical hazards endangering the package on its way from manufacturing and packing through transportation and delivery. The selection of packaging material and structure thus derives not only from the knowledge of packed product specifications, but also from the knowledge of all the hazards affecting the package through its service life. During transport and storage, as much as 60 percent of damage are caused by negative effects of mechanical hazards, 20 percent by climatic hazards and 20 percent by the rest. Lignocellulose-based (paper, paperboard, honeycombs, etc.) or plastic-based (films and foam plastics above all) materials are most often used for protection. Plastics have some advantages over lignocellulose stocks, chiefly increased resistance to water, moisture, and vapor, formability, etc. However, lignocellulose elements are applied widely, due to financial and environmental reasons.
Paper interior packaging – eco-friendly and effective
Paper-based blocking and bracing elements constitute the cheapest product protection against mechanical effects. They come in various forms, be it shredded or corrugated paper, partitions or loose fill. For many products, loose fill is a suitable form of protection. Sulfate paper is used in order to enhance barrier protection while anticorrosion paper containing VCI (Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor) ranges among specialties.
Main topic: Pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging
Innovations from Emballage
The expert public learnt about innovative trends in pharmaceutical packaging at the international packaging exhibition Emballage 2010. For example, new models of bottelpack® containers attracted attention. This is a user-friendly type of small volume containers with a twist-off closure. A new Flackpull vial, sealed with a peel-back lid, was also presented. Plastic films, including Tyvek® with perfect antimicrobial protection, were represented. Nevertheless, the convenient and highly hygienic blister pack remains the most typical pharma packaging.
Pad printing in the pharmaceutical industry
A big advantage of pad printing is its capability of printing on variously shaped items and surfaces which may not always be smooth. When pad-printed, sufficient readability even of very small characters is always retained. Above all, this can be used to a great advantage while printing on products for the pharma and healthcare industries. Pad printing can be used to print on surgical instruments and implants (catheter tubes, lenses, etc.). Gauges, syringe or tubing volume scales, thermometers, flasks and graduated cylinders profit from the ability of small type printing.
Ophthalmic drugs in tubes
Ophthalmic drugs (medicines prescribed in ophthalmology in the form of drops, ointments or gels) are charactericized by an array of very stringent requirements of primary packaging safety and accuracy of application. The primary packaging of ophthalmic ointments and gels represent aluminium tubes that are still the most reliable packaging for this kind of medication. They can be equipped with a double-piece plastic closure with a twist-off cap or a three-piece closure with a tear band. Material safety of aluminium tubes it related to sterilization of empty containers (i.e. capped tubes). Such protection is highly demanding of the tube fabrication itself, not to mention the other processes, e.g. placing into proprietary boxes or plastic bags, specific marking, stacking, storage and transport to and from the sterilization facility to the customer.
Braille – new methods of application
The law imposes duty of marking pharmaceutical packagings with Braille. The marking is associated especially with folding cartons made of solid boards serving like secondary packaging of drugs in blister packs for example. The marking is performed by embossing. This may be replaced with compressed (Marbach) embossing or the Accu Braille system. Producers and suppliers of pharmaceutical and other products strive to assist the blind by embossing o
ther types of packaging. This trend brings the need of new application technologies. We encounter embossing and printing of various fashion. On labels, Braille can be applied by screen printing or thermography. A special shrink sleeve is an innovation, too.
GS1 standards in pharmaceutical identification
The Healthcare Conference held by the international association GS1 in Geneva celebrated the GS1 Healthcare User Group’s fifth anniversary. The working group aims to implement the global GS1 standards into the healthcare sector. The presentations demonstrated that the number of standardized solutions within this sector grows the same way as the number of countries where the GS1 standards are adopted into national legislation on labeling of drugs, medicinal products and medical instruments or on patient identification. The speed and flexibility of controlling mechanisms, information availability, i.e. backward traceability, and a high degree of patient safety range among the reasons for implementing this technology.
Coverage of Pharming
Packaging of drugs and similar pharmaceutical products represents a specific part of the market where it is not easy to win. Pharming a. s. is a Czech producer with a considerable position at this market. Its management and sales department are located in Prague, but it operates two production plants in the northern tip of Bohemia at the German border. The plant in Zahrady near Krásná Lípa is focused on pharma packaging, the plant in nearby Varnsdorf focuses on food and other packages. Director and chairman of the executive board Václav Klomínek showed us round both the plants.
Manufacturing, filling and decoration of cosmetic packaging
Cosmetic packaging and technologies associated with packing and filling processes were presented at the international packaging exhibition Emballage recently. Luxury fragrances adhere to the classic glass, while personal care and hygiene cosmetics rely on lightweight and unbreakable plastics. In the segment of jars, the trend of doublewall containers with a transparent outer layer, decorated with no-label-look labels or direct printing, prevails. For environmental reasons, purely mechanically-based spray and pump dispensers appear ever more often.
Packaging aesthetics seen from more points of view
Two cosmetic companies – bearing symbols of nature in their brand marks, producing natural products and driving their philosophy by natural resource savings – have a completely different attitude to product packaging. Although both firms prefer eco-friendly packages, the approach to design differs: Nobilis Tilia use mostly glass for packing their products and want to protect them from light by a violet glass container while the English Lush company mind the environment by not packing some products at all.
Cutting plotters in the world of signmaking
One of the most popular areas of signmaking where plotters rule is the production of so-called film graphics. It means mostly pressure-sensitive promotional materials, for example vehicle wraps, shop window graphics, displays, banners, magnetic signs, stickers or labels. An advantage of films is the multicolor printing capability. For wraps, both the classic pressure sensitive films with extended life and magnetic films are used. For transparent artworks, window films are used. It is possible to cut also automotive and solar window films, decorative and fluorescent films as well. In signmaking, roll-feed plotters are widely used for cutting thin stocks. Flatbed plotters able to cut thick stocks, e.g. boards, honeycombs or multi-ply paperboards, are more expensive.
Ideal transport is no transport
Bringing production closer to the place of consumption, we may expect significantly lower prices of goods because many costs related to its transport are eliminated. The production with minimal costs and transport in optimal time, delivering undamaged goods to the end-user, represents an ideal solution. Cargo companies seek for return loads of their trucks which reduce transport costs in both directions. Shipment delivery needs the assistance of an appropriate information system able to provide information desired in time and in the applicable form. Automated optimization saves dispatcher’s time significantly, in addition, it is faster and gives better results than manual optimization. It operates with many factors: unloading sequences, optimal cargo load plans,restricted access and working hours of loading and unloading areas, a truck capacity or a total storage capacity among others.
Packaging and design
POPAI STUDENT AWARD 2010
POPAI CE held the fourth edition of their annual POPAI STUDENT AWARD contest for the best student POP design according to a brief given by particular partners. For this time, the partner companies were as follows: Coca-Cola HBC Česká republika, Mars Czech, POS Media CR, and Soare sekt. The expert jury selected three winning projects from more than 40 entries.