Transforming Packaging Solutions Through TechnologyTue, 12/18/2018 - 16:38
Q: How is Multivac adapting its value proposition to the evolving needs of the medical industry?
BS: Multivac’s goal is to grow by offering more than packaging solutions. We offer complete packaging systems that incorporate robots, X-ray equipment and thermoforming machines, as well as packaging materials that can meet the extremely demanding requirements of the medical industry in terms of certifications. We are also implementing Industry 4.0 practices and investing in technology to use cloud data to remotely diagnose equipment and increase manufacturing capabilities. This will help reduce human error.
JG: The goal of Multivac’s medical area is to provide quality products and reduce risks. Recalls are a major problem in the pharmaceutical sector and 50 percent of these are due to product packaging. We work with clients to develop a strategy that addresses every step along the way, developing tailored approaches according to the conditions in which the product should be packaged.
Q: What are Multivac’s main contributions to the medical sector and which companies are its main clients?
JG: We have global contracts with the largest medical devices companies in the world, including Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic and with Mexican manufacturers. Multivac has installed distribution centers in strategic areas, including Tijuana, Nogales, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, the Bajio and Mexico City, to supply these companies. In the pharmaceutical industry, we provide secondary packaging; in the medical industry, we deliver primary packaging. Our equipment for the pharmaceutical sector focuses more on automation and control than on packaging, while for medical devices we offer a complete portfolio.
BS: We manufacture over 1,200 thermoforming machines per year. Multivac was formerly classified as a thermoforming company but it has invested strongly in the acquisition of new companies. It now incorporates labeling machines, X-rays, robots and other equipment.
Q: What are the advantages of incorporating Industry 4.0 practices in Multivac’s operations?
BS: Industry 4.0 is here to stay. Even though Mexico has a large and capable workforce, companies face significant turnover that could be solved through automation. In terms of processes, it is now necessary to monitor every single package individually, which generates large amounts of information that must be processed. Multivac is also working on improving efficiency in the production and distribution of medical products. Our machines are able to self-diagnose and monitor when manufactured pieces fall outside of the specified production parameters and send an alert when equipment repairs are necessary. This increases equipment efficiency and raises production output by 15-20 percent.
JG: The FDA introduced a regulation concerning Unique Device Identification (UDI) in 2012 that is still under revision. Previous packaging strategies included lot numbers for a large number of products. UDI identifies each individual product and provides comprehensive information related to when and where the product was produced, packaged, sterilized and stored. This traceability is essential for quality control. We are creating a cloud database with packaging specifications for every product we work with. This will help us consider the different needs of each manufacturer and adapt our equipment automatically to the packaging materials that products use. This data bank was created using real information obtained from tests with clients.
Q: What new products has the company introduced to the Mexican market?
JG: We recently introduced an innovative packaging product called SNAPSIL. What differentiates this product is its “snap” opening mechanism. To open a glass ampoule, pressure is applied, which could lead to cuts or small pieces of glass falling into the product. SNAPSIL is made of plastic, avoiding these risks and making the product much easier to open.