Blister Packing Machine: The Ultimate FAQ Guide
1. What is Blister Packaging Machine?
It is an electromechanical machine that forms blister pack, preformed packaging or containers, which it fills with product and seals.
Blister packing equipment is a popular pharmacy packaging machine.
You can use it to packaging capsules, tablets, vials, syringes, etc.
Blister packaging machine
2. What is Blister Packaging used for?
You can use the electromechanical equipment with moving and steady parts for the following purposes:
- Preparing filling materials by forming cavities on different formable web materials.
- Packaging of tablets and capsules from the tablet press and capsule filling machines.
- Sealing of the packages to ensure that it is tamper proof.
- Providing patients with clear marks of individual doses thus making it easy to follow drug taking routine.
- Storing products more conveniently in comparison to other forms of conventional packages.
- Printing the packages for better identification of the products.
3. What is the difference between Strip Packaging and Blister Packaging?
The main differences between the strip packaging and the blister packaging is:
Blister packaging has cold or thermoformed cavities which is not available in strip packaging.
Strip packages form strip packs around the capsule or tablet which is not the case in blister packaging.
Despite the difference, strip packaging and blister packaging have similar functions of protecting the integrity of the products.
The only disadvantage is the production of strip packages are slower in comparison to production of blister packages.
4. How many Configurations of Blister Packaging are there?
There are two main configurations of pharmaceutical blister packaging available.
One variety has clear cavity construction, thermoformed plastic, and clear plastic lids.
The lid can also consist of a combination of paper, plastic, and/or foil.
The second configuration of blister packaging contains foil as the main component of the webs.
The cavity of the second configuration is a product of cold stretching.
5. What are the Advantages of Blister Packaging?
The main advantages that you will experience by using a blister packaging machine include:
· Blister Packages Maintains Integrity of Products
The packaging materials will protect the products from external environmental conditions that would reduce product shelf-life.
· Blister Packages are Tamper Proof
It protects the tablets, capsules and other products from external contamination and interferences before use.
The products are in cavities that you can only have access to by tearing off the external barriers.
You will also know if somebody has interfered with the product by checking the packages.
· Blister Packaging is Cheap
Blister packaging is cheaper than other forms of packaging such as plastic packaging.
You don’t need to alter different variable for blister packages to hold the different products unlike plastic packaging.
Despite the low cost, the packaging process is straightforward with high ROI even on packaging of complex products.
· Blister packages Simplifies the Work of Maintaining dose Accuracy
You can maintain dose accuracy more so with every tablet or capsule in its own cavity.
It will reduce the possibility of accidental incidents such as overdosing on drugs.
You can easily track the way you take your drugs just by observing the blister packages.
· Blister Packages Enhances the Ease of Identification
You can easily identify the different doses by the name of the product, expiration date and lot number.
6. How does Cold Forming and Thermoforming compare in Blister Packing Machine?
Blister packaging forming station
Thermoforming is a technique which involves heating PVC sheets before inserting it into a blister machine.
You can achieve this by passing the PVC sheets through lower and upper heating plates.
After that, you can easily apply pressure to the soft PVC sheets to form any types of mold or shape.
In a complex or difficult mold, you may need to use a mechanical stamp to add extra pressure for molding.
Cold forming, on the other hand, is a technique which does not include application of heat.
It uses laminate film sheets containing aluminum instead of PVC sheets like that of thermoforming technique.
In this case, the blister machine uses a stamp that forces the formation or molding of the laminate film sheets.
After removing the stamp, the aluminum base film will stretch and maintain the mold shape you desire.
7. What is AluAlu Blister Pack?
AluAlu is an excellent multilayered foil structure special for highly sensitive pharmaceutical products.
It is also an excellent product for generic medicines which are light sensitive and highly hygroscopic.
Most of the products that require AluAlu packaging are not suitably packed using the barrier plastic film.
8. How does Manual Blister Packing Machine compare to Automatic Blister Packing Machine?
Manual blister packing machine is the machine that you can use in packaging products with the assistance of human labor.
Some of the operations of the manual blister packing machine require the assistance of human effort.
Automatic blister packing machine, on the other hand, performs most of its functions automatically.
It does not require any human effort to assist in the packing process of the pharmaceutical products.
9. Which Industries use Blister Packing Machine?
You can use the blister packing machine in different industries such as:
- Pharmaceutical industry for packaging tablets and capsules
- Food processing industry for packaging food
- Chemical industry for packaging different types of chemicals
- Cosmetics industry for packaging cosmetic products
10. How do you Select Blister Packaging Material?
Blister packages have four basic components which include:
Blister packaging material
· Forming Film
It accounts for almost 80 – 85% of the blister packages
You can identify it as the component of the packages that receives products in the deep and drawn pockets.
To select the right forming film material, you should look at property type, grade, and thickness of the plastic film.
Apart from that, you should consider the following factors:
- Weight and height of the product you are packaging
- Pointed or sharp edges on the final package
- Impact resistance of the package
- Cost, migration and aging of the film.
What’s more, you should consider the compatibility of the plastic to the product.
Speed, heat sealing properties, ease of trimming and cutting of packages are also important factors you should take into account.
· Heat Seal Coating
It is among the most critical component that provides the bond between lidding material and the plastic blister.
The physical integrity and appearance of the blister package will depend on the quality of the heat seal coating.
You should consider applying proper heat seal coating weight to the lidding material for optimum results.
A proper heat seal must have good gloss, abrasion resistance, clarity, hot tack and has to seal various blister films.
The hot tack must be able to support the entire weight of blister package and match the lidding material precisely.
· Printing Ink
It will provide the graphics and the aesthetical appeal of the blister packages.
Printing ink must be able to resist the heat sealing temperature up to 300 degrees centigrade without tackiness or discoloration.
Apart from that, the ink must resist abrasion, fading, bending and safe for use with the intended products.
What’s more the printing ink must comply to the FDA quality standards regulations.
11. What are the main Parts of Blister Packing Machine?
A blister packaging machine depends on the following parts to assist in the packaging process.
· Touchscreen Operating Interface
It has a touchscreen human machine interface for intuitive and easy management of all the packaging processes.
You can perform the following tasks depending on the design of the human machine interface panel.
i. Monitoring of the production statistics and status
ii. Troubleshooting the machine by having access to the instructions which may include parts and components
iii. Configuring the operations by keying in the right production specifications and parameters.
· Blister Pack Tooling System
You will find the blister pack tooling system in different designs and configuration for the following purposes:
Section of tooling system
i. Thermoforming of the blister packages
ii. Cold forming of blister packages
iii. Continuous or intermittent production of blister packages
It is the most significant tooling system that determines the shape of the blister packages.
You can also order for a change of parts based on the production specifications.
· Aluminum Foil or PVC Feeding Roller
Foil feeding system
This part of the machine is responsible for pushing material to the platform for blister packaging process.
The roller is always in constant motion and synchronized with the movement of other parts of the machine.
To achieve perfect movement, the machine uses a motor mechanism which will ensure that:
i. The system is fully automatic and you can simply control the operations from the human machine interface.
ii. The machine has a continuous mechanism of feeding.
iii. It has an easy integration system for efficient packaging needs.
iv. It meets the numerous needs of the feeding materials.
· Electric Motor
This is the part of the machine that enables the movement of the moving parts of the machine.
It transmits the motion of the moving parts through belts, shafts, and gears.
It is also capable of controlling the speed of the parts to fit the requirements of blister packaging.
· Turning Rollers
These are the parts that assist in the feeding of materials in the machine by exerting tension on the materials.
Together with rolling system, it feeds material to the blister packing system.
· Heating Box
It is the first section of the machine which receives materials from feeding systems.
By heating material for packaging to a suitable temperature, it becomes ready for forming in the next stage.
It consists of Upper heating plate adjusting bolt, turning cycle, brace, forming die holder, and heating plate bracket among others.
· Material Forming (Cavity Forming) System
This is the part of the machine that forms cavities where you will be loading the materials.
It consists of 18 different parts that work together to produces suitable cavity shapes on the materials.
You can adjust all the parts of the material forming system accordingly to fit your packaging requirements.
· Guide Rail
This is the part of the machine that guides the materials from one stage of the packaging process to the next.
It consists of six key parts which include:
i. Guide Rail ide plate
ii. Integrated guide rail
iii. Guide rail brace
iv. Turning roller
v. Adjusting handle
vi. Guide rail foot seat
· Products or Material Feeding System
This part of the machine fills the cavities of the packaging materials using the appropriate products.
The feeding rate of blister packing machine is determined by rate of material feed.
It has an empty detection equipment to ensure the machine does not fill the cavities that are empty.
· Heat Sealing System
This is the part that seals the filled cavities in the process of blister packaging.
It consists of 17 parts among them being cam case and bearing seat which assists in the mechanism of heat sealing.
· Sealing Material Feeder
This part holds the materials that you will need to cover the cavities that contain the products.
It rotates at a particular speed thus allowing the sealing materials to move to the guard rail.
The speed which the sealing material moves depends on the following factors:
i. Speed of rotation of the material forming feeder
ii. Forming mechanism rate
iii. Cavities for filling the products
iv. Inspection of the empty cavities
· Pressing Mechanism System
It presses the sealing and form material together to form a permanent seal.
· Waste Material Winder
It is responsible for winding the waste materials from the forming material and the sealing machine.
· Tow Mechanism
It helps in the movement of sealed blister packages from one stage to another thus allowing for efficient packaging and sealing.
· Blanking Mechanism
It is responsible for cutting fully processed blister packages from the main material.
The number of cavities on each set will determine the size of the blanking mechanism.
You can also include an indention mechanism which assists in printing the batch number during the manufacturing process.
· Product Chute
This is the section that guides the final product out of the blister packaging machine.
· Lubrication System
It is an automated system that oils or greases the moving parts of the blister packaging machine.
12. How do you Choose Lidding Material for Blister Packaging?
The lidding material gives the main structural component or the base for building final blister package.
You will select the lidding material according to size, shape, weight, and style of package you would like to produce.
Other important considerations you should take care of include:
- Compatibility of the surface of the lidding material to the heat sealing and coating process.
- Printing enhancements by adding clay coatings
- Heat sealing and printability of the lidding material.
13. What is Blister Packing Machine Process of Operation?
Blister packaging process
Blister machine process of operation is the main process through which the machine goes through in packaging of different products.
Most of the packaging processes remains the same no matter the type of packaging material you intend to use.
The process begins with:
· Switching On the Machine
Switching the blister packaging machine will set the unwinding system and all the other parts of the machine in motion.
Among the parts that will be set in motion are the parts that supply the packaging materials and the control panel.
You will program the machine accordingly to fit the packaging requirements that you desire.
· Heating of the Materials
At this point the heating station of the blister packaging machine begins to warm up.
This part is not available in cold forming machines but in the thermoforming blister packaging machines.
It will heat the form film to a point where the film is pliable or easy to form.
For consistent and uniform heating, blister packing machine uses both upper and lower plate.
Remember that you have to set the heating parameters according to the sealing requirements such as 120 degrees to 140 degrees in case of PVC forming film material.
· Formation of Pockets or Cavities on the Film
In thermoforming, you will either use compressed air or die plates in the formation of suitable cavities.
After that, the machine will cool the materials thus forming rigid cavities for placement of the products.
In cold formation of cavities, you will employ punching pins or stamping mechanisms in the formation of the cavities.
You do not need a cooling mechanism as it does not involve any heating processes.
· Filling and Checking of Empty Cavities
The blister packaging machine will automatically or manually fill the cavities of the blister packages.
The machine will also confirm if the cavities have products in them or not.
· Sealing of the Packages
At this point, the lidding material will already be in place.
The lidding material will then cover the forming films that have products in them.
The machine will not seal any forming films that does not have products in them.
As the sealing temperature of the material increase, the sealing machine will exert reasonable pressure.
This will make sure that the package has a tight seal of the products.
· Trimming and Printing of the Packages
The blister package will move to the printing section of the machine for engraving of all the information such as:
i. Manufacturing date
ii. Expiry date
iii. Batch number among others
After that, the machine moves the packages to the trimming section to trim the blister packages before leaving the machine.
At the same point the machine will inspect and reject all the packages that do not have proper seals.
14. How do you Specify Blister Packing Machine?
Whenever you are looking for a blister packaging machine, you should consider the following specifications:
· Output of the Blister Packaging Machine
The output depends on the number of packages that a blister packaging machine can handle within a specific time.
You should consider going for a machine that will fit the output requirements of your production system.
You should go for a machine that has varying speed limits which you can easily control.
For instance, you can get a machine that can go through 15 – 30 or 20 – 50 cycles in a minute.
· Travel Range
This determines how far the blister packaging machine can cover in the packaging process such as 30 – 100 mm.
This include the size and weight specifications of the blister packaging machine.
This will determine the space that you have for the machine in your factory.
· Power and Air Pressure Requirements
This involves the amount of energy that the machine requires to perform the specific functions.
Air pressure requirements will determine the amount of force you require to seal the materials completely.
. Material Specifications
You should look at a machine that allows you to alter the types of materials as much as your production requirements demand.
In that case, you will either go for a machine with cold forming or thermoforming mechanism.
· Automation level
This will determine if you are going for a manual or automatic blister packing machine depending on the cost.
15. What is a Deblistering Machine?
This is a machine that you can use to effortlessly remove products such as tablets and capsules from blister packages.
It is a small, sturdy, durable and portable machine that you can use to deblister different types of blister packages.
16. Why do you need Deblistering Machine?
You need a deblistering machine to assist in the removing of products from a blister package.
In case, the machine rejects a blister package, you will have to remove the products from the blister package.
To enhance the process, you will need a deblistering machine to increase the speed and efficiency of the deblistering process.
17. How do you determine Sealing Temperature of Blister Machine?
You can determine the sealing temperature of blister machine by looking at the type of material you intend to use.
Manufacturers rate the sealing temperatures of the machines according to the temperature requirements of the materials.
You will be able to control the temperature of the blister machine from the control panel of the blister packaging machine.
18. What is PVC/Al Blister Packing Machine?
This machine is also called plastic- aluminum blister pack.
It uses aluminum as lidding material with PVC being forming film.
It depends on the thermoforming technique to assist in the making of cavities on the PVC material.
The machine has the following merits:
- It is a low cost machine with a thermoforming process.
- It allows for ease in making complex blister cavities according to the tooling design
- It allows for easy examination of the products through the transparent PVC.
- It does not require any special designs on the machines as it uses universal parts.
The demerits of using the machine include:
- PVC do not possess the properties that offer perfect barriers to moisture and oxygen
- It is not the best machine for light sensitive products due to the transparent nature of the PVC materials.
19. What is Alu/PVC/Alu Blister Packaging Machine?
Vials blister packing
You can identify it as the tropical blister packaging machine as it has an extra aluminum forming and sealing station.
It depends on the thermoforming technique to form the PVC Alu blister package.
After that, it will place another tropical aluminum package to complete the packaging process.
You will experience the following advantages when using the machine:
i. It can adopt a universal feeder system thus making it easy and affordable to operate.
ii. The transparent PVC makes it simple to control the products.
iii. It has a complete barrier to water, light and oxygen thus increasing product shelf life.
iv. It guarantees extra security to the products.
Despite the merits, the machine has the following demerits:
i. High production cost as it includes an extra film of aluminum
ii. An extra sealing and forming station increases the overall size of the machine.
20. What are Quality Standards for Blister Packing Machine?
Blister packaging machines have to conform to the following quality standards:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Quality Standards
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) Quality Standards
- ISO certification quality standards
- CE Quality Standards
21. How do you Troubleshoot Blister Packing Machine?
Some off the problems that you can identify when you troubleshoot a blister packaging machine include:
Blister packing process
· Variation in Material Thickness
This could affect the integrity of the package to form a complete barrier around different products.
Apart from that, the quality of the materials could lead to the variation in material thickness
You can sort this out by considering a uniform material thickness and programming the machine properly.
· Missing Products in the Cavities
This can be as a result of faulty parts of the machine or high speed filling of parts into the cavity.
You can sort this out by fixing the broken parts such as the turning roller for proper filling of cavities.
You should also adjust the speed of the turning rollers from the control panel.
· Inappropriate Sealing
This can result into the peeling off of the seal from the PVC.
The main causes of this problem is insufficient heating and pressing force.
You can sort this by fixing the heating system and the pneumatic system.
You will also control the pneumatic and heating mechanism appropriately from the control panel.
22. Can you Integrate Blister Packing Machine with Cartoning Machine?
Blister packing in box
Yes, you can integrate the blister packing machine with the cartoning machine.
The blister packaging machine will automatically move the packages straight to the cartoning machine after successful packaging.
This will allow the machine to quickly carton and seal the packages before strong and transporting them.
23. Why Trust SaintyCo Blister Packing Machines?
You can trust SaintyCo Blister Packaging Machines because it has the following features:
i. It allows for the formation of thermoplastic and cold formation processes.
ii. It offers machine with simple designs that are reliable and efficient in its operations.
iii. The main structure of the machines is made of stainless steel materials.
iv. Most of the machines are automatic with a PLC control system and touchscreen human machine interface.
v. It contains pneumatic systems that leads to high robustness and low cost of maintenance.
vi. It has machines with proper designs for different scales of production from small to large scale production.
vii. You can also use the machine in different applications such as packaging of tablets and capsules.
viii. The manufacturing of the machines is compliant to different quality standards such as GMP and cGMP quality standards.
ix. It has independent mould that make it easy to assemble and disassemble.
x. The machines have alarm systems that increases the safety of the products by sounding warning tones.
xi. It also consists of safety cover protection devices that guarantees the safety of the operator.
xii. The main motors of the machine depend on frequency speed adjustment controllers
xiii. It has an inspection device that will inspect the quality of the packages.
xiv. Other machines have robot feeders that improves the efficiency of feeding materials to the machine.
xv. It comes complete with a printing system which inscribes the manufacturing and expiry date among other specifications.
24. Which Blister Packing Solution does SaintyCo offer?
SaintyCo offers the following blister packaging solutions: