UFlex’ Alu-Alu cold blister films for pharma packaging

Dynamic pharma packaging wants innovation

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Uflex
UFlex Alu Alu packging is a next big thing in pharma packaging. The special polyester film is all set to replace the top and bottom substrates of the conventional cold formed Alu – Alu laminate to a whole new structure comprising 36 micron special polyester/ 50 micron soft aluminum foil/ 36 micron special polyester. Photo - UFlex

Amit Ray, executive director, UFlex, states that the Covi-19 pandemic has triggered the wave of modernization in the pharma packaging space. He says changing lifestyles and rising affordability have altered drug delivery scenarios and created new and past unmet needs. Together with the pandemic, these provide momentum to pharma packaging companies to innovate. “With digitalization taking charge, human intervention with pharma packs has taken two steps back. Pharma products, to reach end-consumers in the most desired state, have to leverage the R&D and innovative attributes of improved packaging.” 

 

Noida-headquartered Uflex’s broad portfolio of innovative pharma packaging solutions includes Alu-Alu blister packs (granted a US patent) as a replacement for conventional cold form laminate. Fast tear strip foils provide easy tear-ability, and child-resistant, senior-friendly foil prevents unintentional damage. Suppository films (PVC/PE or Al/PE laminates) are available for single unit dose packaging. The company can provide flexible packaging for pharma related products such as oral rehydration powders, syringes, suture packs, scalpel blades, and blood banks.

 

Uflex Presents Pharma Packaging Innovations at CPHI e1599472215932

UFlex’ Alu-Alu vs conventional cold form laminate

 

In conventional blister packaging, a thermoformed plastic sheet contains and maintains the medicines in multiple cups (blisters) in the desired state. Cold form blister packs are manufactured by sandwiching aluminum foil between PVC and Nylon films using dry bond lamination. The film laminate is pressed into a mold by a stamp without applying heat, and the use of aluminum adds water and oxygen barriers, which extend the product shelf-life to their expiry dates.

UFlex
Amit Ray, executive director, UFlex

 

In UFlex’ Alu-Alu packaging, a unique polyester film replaces the conventional nylon and PVC while retaining aluminum, since both PVC and BON (Biaxially Oriented Nylon film) are prone to emissions when exposed to direct sunlight and higher temperatures. “Alu-Alu foil is a multi-layered structure providing a high range of security to pharmaceutical and generic medicines which are highly hygroscopic or light sensitive and cannot be suitably packed with barrier plastic films. The structure is an optimized combination of aluminum foil and polymeric films with the aluminum layer sandwiched between the inner heat sealable polymeric film and an outer supportive malleable film.”

 

Cold-formed aluminum foil is at the heart of Alu-Alu OPA/Al/PVC sandwich foil used for pharmaceutical blister pack applications. Even in micron thicknesses, aluminum offers vapor and light barrier properties besides providing an aesthetic shine. Advantages include cost-effectiveness, compliance with regulatory requirements, counterfeit protection, convenience, and a good printing surface for better readability.

Sustainability using a special PET film

 

According to Ray, Alu-Alu offers sustainability and cost optimization that can beat conventional pharma packs. “It replaces PVC and Nylon with special PET film providing excellence in sustainability by making the laminate eco-friendly, thereby reducing waste disposal and landfills. This special polyester film can be recycled and reprocessed and is 100% environment friendly.”

 

 Ray says that the continuous innovation and up-gradation in Alu-Alu solutions for pharma packaging garners a lot of interest from customers focused on their sustainability goals. “Alu-Alu solutions complement the changing preferences of not just brands but end consumers as well. Eco-friendly and sustainable packaging which keeps contents safe is the need of the hour,” he explains.

Alu Alu e1599472290328

While co-existing with traditional packaging, sustainability will not take a back seat in pharma packaging, says Ray, “It is one sector that is evolving at an accelerated pace. However, the motive has been defined differently from time to time — from containment and protection to branding and to user-friendliness.”

Covid-19 impact & trends

 

“Since packaging is an essential element of food and pharma products, we were able to continue our operations during the Covid-19 lockdown to meet packaging requirements coming from the pharmaceutical and FMCG customers. We could ensure no shortage of materials in these tough times despite initial bottlenecks on the logistics front,” Ray explains.

 

During the pandemic, increasing demand for packaging with antiviral and antibacterial properties was observed. “At UFlex, we believe in serving our customers with customized solutions that complement the needs of the packed content – this requires an incessant focus on innovation and investment in R&D.”

 

Pharmaceutical packaging is dynamic for multiple reasons, such as businesses’ sustainability goals, innovation, informative packaging, and the compulsion to develop anti-counterfeiting solutions to tackle the fake pharma market. Ray believes that we will witness many pharmaceutical packaging trends in times to come – digitization, serialization and traceability, sustainability, patient connect, and automation and innovations in packaging machinery! “It is also interesting to note that nobody had ever thought that single-use plastic would be used to pack chemical compounds to treat Covid-19 patients in a pandemic,” he says.

 

 

 

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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Technical Editor - Mandeep Kaur is working with IPP Group and holding editorial responsibilities for the IndiFoodBev and PSA Healthcare platforms. Earlier she handled editorial responsibilities of food, beverage, and agriculture publications at another publisher. A gold-medalist in M Tech (Food Technology), she has hands-on experience in operating different types of instruments related to physico-chemical testing of grains and flour. She has worked at Evalueserve in the Intellectual Property (IP) division for more than three years handling projects in the life sciences domain.

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