Push Packs from Romaco Siebler – Sustainable packaging technology made in Germany
Express Pharma|February 01-15, 2020
Andreas Detmers, Head of Technical Solutions, Romaco Pharmatechnik GmbH writes about how Romaco Siebler and Huhtamaki are adopting new approaches to primary packaging for pharmaceutical solids with innovative push-through strips

CLIMATE-FRIENDLY, material saving, affordable, customisable and ultra-thin – Romaco Siebler’s Push Pack manufacturing technology for push-through four-sided sealed strips heralds in a new era in primary packaging for solid pharmaceutical products. The leading global supplier of strip packaging machines got together with Huhtamaki, the Finnish film and foil specialist, to develop its Push Pack product family. Romaco Siebler is currently the only machinery supplier in the market with the capability to process the new, ultra-thin, PVC-free Huhtamaki foils into safe and absolutely tight pharmaceutical packs.

The push-through strip packs in the Push Pack product family are Romaco and Huhtamaki’s alternative to the established blister packaging forms presently available in the market. Push Packs provide equivalent barrier properties to blisters and are opened in the same way: you simply press the tablet out of the Push Pack with your thumb just as you would normally do with a blister. Push Packs are also similar in appearance to conventional blister packs: for example, the standard Push Pack version can be combined with transparent foil for an unobstructed view of the contents.

Up to 60 per cent cost saving compared to aluminium-aluminium blisters

Since Push Packs are sealed all round with two foils, far thinner aluminium barrier layers can be realised than with cold-formed blisters, namely between 9 and 25 μm depending on the primary packaging’s barrier specifications. With aluminium-aluminium blisters, on the other hand, the fact that the aluminium is deep-drawn means that very thick foil is inevitable. That is why a cold-formed aluminium-aluminium blister weighs more than twice as much as a high-barrier Push Pack produced on a Siebler strip packaging machine.

This markedly lower material consumption goes hand in hand with significant cost economies: a potential saving of up to 60 per cent is possible compared to standard aluminium-aluminium blisters. “Push Packs not only help pharmaceutical companies reduce their carbon footprint; they also let them produce much cheaper," explains Rolf Izsak, the Product Manager responsible for Push Pack development at Romaco Pharmatechnik GmbH.

The standard and high-barrier Push Pack versions are manufactured from a five-layer, laminated PE or Surlyn, aluminium and PET foil from Huhtamaki. The foil’s push-through function is achieved by perforating the outer PET layer. In the standard version, Push Packs have an aluminium barrier layer just 9 or 12 μm thick. High-barrier Push Packs, which have to meet very high light, air and moisture tightness requirements, are made using 25 μm aluminium foil. Thanks to the tear-resistant PET film, children find it extremely difficult to open Push Packs whereas elderly people can press the tablets out without any problem. And since the relatively small cavities in the Push Packs also mean smaller air pockets, the medicines have a longer shelf life. What’s more, unlike many blister forming foils, Push Packs contain zero PVC – a material considered harmful to health and the environment alike.

The world’s first recyclable unit dose packaging for pharmaceutical solids

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