Marchesini at Pharmintech in Milan – Stand A34-B35

Sustainable packaging materials break new ground

Marchesinin Carton tray
Carton tray for packaging pharmaceutical products in paper based packaging Photo Marchesini

At Pharmintech (3-6 May 2022, Milan) and during Open Door Pharma (2-6 May 2022, Pianoro), Marchesini Group will be exhibiting three eco-friendly solutions for packaging pharmaceutical products. The decision to invest in the circular economy is part of a rapidly evolving strategic company plan, communicated in 2015 with the presentation of the first Sustainability Report, in which the Group’s environmental, social, economic and financial responsibility initiatives were presented. In advance of the 2021 Report, the Marchesini Group announced further investments in the development of new sustainable packaging materials. 

MA80 cartoner with paper tray

At Pharmintech’s stand, A34-B35, the focus will be on the MA80 cartoner designed for cartoning products such as syringes, inhalers, vials and tubes at a speed of 120 cartons per minute. MA80 is designed to place products in cardboard trays as an alternative to thermoformed trays.

Cardboard trays are an environmentally friendly alternative that are becoming increasingly popular among customers because they are as reliable as PVC trays. They can also protect fragile and expensive products such as syringes and ampoules, presenting them in a modern, attractive way. Finally, cardboard trays offer advantages in terms of storage and transport due to their compact size.

Marchesini Group has set up a dedicated team to design customised cardboard trays for packaging products in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics market. Using prototypes and models, the trays are then fine-tuned so that customers can optimise the entire packaging line, from the process through to cartoning and palletisation.

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In this process, the use of robotics is essential to create custom infeeds for handling, tray opening and subsequent product insertion. In most cases the shapes and sizes of plastics can be replicated through cardboard solutions for both standing and lying products.

FB220 thermoforming machine with eco-friendly materials
Another innovation is the introduction of packaging technologies to gradually replace PVC with highly recyclable materials for thermoforming blisters and trays. In two years of experimentation and collaboration with some of the main industry players – suppliers Klöckner Pentaplast, Huhtamaki, Amcor, Paccor (Faerch Group) and Encaplast – Marchesini Group technicians have developed blisters and trays that can be easily disposed of in normal waste recycling channels. In particular, the use of plant-based and compostable materials such as PLA, which is recyclable together with the wet waste, and R-PET, PET recycled up to 80%, allowed the creation of monomaterial packs perfectly suited to the purpose.

The first public demonstration of the use of these products on a Marchesini Group machine will be at Pharmintech, where a classic FB220 – a thermoforming machine used to form trays for ampoules, vials and syringes – will be exhibited and set up to use sustainable materials instead of traditional plastics. It is up to customers to opt for either the classic or the eco-friendly approach, depending on their needs.

Stickpack line with recyclable materials
During Open Door Pharma, the event designed to open the company’s doors to customers from the pharmaceutical industry, the new solutions on show will be accompanied by a line consisting of a
Schmucker MT1300 12-lane stick packaging machine, a stacking and counting system and an MA80 cartoner.

Specifically, this line is designed to process PP-based packaging materials (with and without PE) such as 100% recyclable plastic monomaterials like OPP or BOPP with a metallised intermediate layer. Due to its suitability for food contact, this material is a worthy polyolefin-based substitute for the classic PET/ALU material to produce high-barrier flexible packaging.

Naresh Khanna and Nessan Cleary will be covering Ipack-Ima, Print4All and Pharmintech for Packaging South Asia, IndiFoodBev and HealthTekPak.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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