Hungarian drinks manufacturer Hell Energy promises customers “power like hell.” Seven years ago, it built an ultramodern factory on a greenfield site. The company is now the market leader in the energy drinks segment of several countries. Krones filling lines combine with mechatronic drive units from SEW-Eurodrive to ensure a smooth power supply and material flow.
IQ-Dose for micro-tablets dosage wins Award
Convinced that the micro-pill will be growing strongly in the near future Stiplastics Healthcaring – a subsidiary of SGH Healthcaring, a rapidly growing group and a key partner for the pharmaceutical industry – has developed IQ-dose (Intuitive & Quick-dose), an adjustable device for dosing medicines in this form. The micro-pill makes it possible to sub-divide doses and therefore administer a very accurate dose with a high concentration of active ingredients and few excipients, in response to the obligation placed on pharmaceutical firms to develop paediatric forms (EU Regulation no. 1901/2006).
The easy-to-use IQ-dose first version can be used to administer 1 to 24 micro-pills without having to count or touch them, for perfect hygiene and safety! The user simply:
- selects the correct dose,
- fits the device directly over the bottle of pills,
- tips the bottle upside down for IQ-dose to pick up the prescribed number of micro-pills, all at the same time.
The micro-pill offers several other advantages: it is easy to take, with less chance of choking and fewer risks of over/under-dosing. It also provides a solution for adults with swallowing difficulties.
Different development projects with pharmaceutical companies interested in the product are already underway.
Used cartons for a good cause
SIG is showcasing how companies and communities can come together to turn waste into value through an innovative ‘eco-canteen’ made almost entirely from used beverage cartons at a school in Thailand.
Opened in September 2018, the canteen is a shining example to encourage more recycling by demonstrating the value it can bring to communities. The 170 children at the school can now drink their milk from cartons in a canteen made of cartons, taking a clear message on recycling home to their families.
“The eco-canteen is a great way to bring recycling to life by showing children – and their parents – what happens to the cartons after they drink their milk. Helping children understand how recycling can help the environment is really important because they are the consumers of tomorrow.”
Chatramol Intrasorn, School Director at Nikom Sang Ton Eang school
From cartons to canteen
SIG teamed up with Kasetsart University, the food manufacturer Ampol Foods and the Fiber Pattana recycling plant to design and rebuild the canteen at the Nikom Sang Ton Eang primary school near the company’s production site in Rayong, Thailand.
Together with Kasetsart University, one of the leading public universities in Thailand, the company ran a competition to design a fully functional school canteen built from used and recycled beverage cartons. The next challenge was to source the materials ready for construction.
More than 1.4 million cartons went into the canteen. Fiber Pattana supplied the tiles for the roof and panels for the walls, made out of aluminium and polymers from used carton packs collected mainly from schools. The chipboard tables and chairs were produced from cartons recycled by Ampol Foods, a SIG customer that runs its own recycling plant for beverage cartons.
Increasing recycling rates is part of SIG’s mission to go Way Beyond Good – to put more into the environment and society than it takes out – and awareness raising is a key focus for the company’s community engagement activities.
“The eco-canteen serves as a model for SIG’s cartons and collaborative approach to bring benefits to communities and raise awareness of how recycling can help the environment. This innovative approach offers exciting opportunities for similar projects to extend positive impacts in other regions.”
Navapol Chuensiri, Head of Cluster Asia-Pacific South at SIG
For hot-air sterilization tunnels
Automatic filter integrity test
With meticulous care, an operator guides an instrument with a measuring funnel under the sterilizing tunnel filter. The entire surface of the filter has to be scanned. The test results are printed onto heat-sensitive paper using a small external printer.
The printouts, which resemble small sales receipts, then have to be glued onto the test report by the operator. The purpose of the filter integrity test for hot-air sterilization tunnels is to make sure that filters are not leaking and are properly fitted, and that no ingress of unfiltered air takes place. Considering the high degree of automation in the pharmaceutical sector, this might seem too laborious a way of going about this task. “Actually, this is best practice today,” explains Thomas Seiffer, Head of Research and Technology at filling and packaging machine manufacturer Bausch+Ströbel.
Seiffer and his team refused to accept this as given, especially as stationary particle counters are already integrated in B+S filling machines. B+S’s developers had, for a while, been searching for a better test method. It had to be much more user-friendly and, most importantly, it had to deliver reliable and reproducible results. The breakthrough came at a trade show in 2017, when Daniel Engel, a Bausch+Stroebel particle testing expert, discovered a system by the InfraSolution Group. This system utilized robotics for automatic testing of filters in clean rooms. “Of course, the conditions inside a sterilizing tunnel are different, mainly due to the difficulty of access here, but we thought that this system could be adapted to suit our application,” explains Engel.
InfraSolution was amenable to the plant constructor’s offer of a development partnership. “We liked the idea from the very beginning and saw right away that it had potential,” says Christian Dorfner, Head of Research & Development at InfraSolution. InfraSolution has many years of experience in clean-room test systems, having started out as a service provider, before branching out several years ago into the development of related test instruments.
The result of this collaboration is a small and compactly designed instrument named “LinearTwinScan”. It has twin particle measuring funnels and is guided through the sterilizing tunnel on the tunnel conveyor belt in a precisely predetermined way. “For this purpose, of course, the measuring instrument has to be integrated into the controller of our sterilizing tunnel,” explains Daniel Engel. The operator makes all the necessary settings at the tunnel operating panel, where he can also track the progress of the test while it is running and call up the test results. Unlike with the old method, these results are instantly available in a digital form. They can be saved and processed as required and, therefore, meet the relevant statutory requirements (21 CFR Part 1 / GMP Annex 11).
LinearTwinScan effectively combines two tests: an ISO classification test (under development) and a filter integrity test (or “DEHS test”, as it is also known). The DIN EN ISO 14644 standard applies to both tests. The first involves taking particle measurements at predefined measuring points. The second involves admitting a defined number of particles into the sterilizing tunnel on the non-sterile side above the filter. A particle count is then taken above and below the filter on the sterile side to determine the separation efficiency of the filter. The entire surface of the filter has to be scanned.”These measurements have to be taken several times a year,” explains Daniel Engel. B+S’s service technicians already carry out these tests at the request of customers. “By launching LinearTwinScan, we aim to take this service to the next level,” says Thomas Seiffer. The benefit for the customer is not only exact test results – the B+S service technician can also carry out any necessary maintenance work, such as filter replacement, without delay. Sterilizing tunnels can be retrofitted for use of LinearTwinScan by the customer’s own qualification personnel.
The advantages of the new system are obvious: measuring accuracy is no longer dependent on the meticulousness and experience of the operator. Test results are, therefore, more reliable, exact and reproducible. What’s more, all data are available in a digital form. A graphical display allows the user to track the progress of the test at any time.