Shawpak 25.06.24

A recent project in the US saw medical packaging company Shawpak use thermoform lines integrated into robot cells in a single-piece-flow system for medical devices.

Designed to avoid double handling or additional storage, the company states the system’s thermoform equipment takes up on average 70% less space than a traditional system, aiming to provide a good fit immediately after assembly and production lines and reduce work-in-progress and handling. 

According to Shawpak, the 10 machines can package ‘nearly 1.5 million devices every 24 hours’ with two operators per shift required across the operation. Each system, including the proprietary thermoform machine, inline thermal transfer printing, vision inspection, robot loading and a reject mechanism, fits within 3m² of space. 

Shawpak adds that a vision and reject system for optical character recognition was incorporated into the scope of supply, ensuring the data is compliant with strict US FDA and pharmaceutical requirements. 

The company says it has worked with several robotic and automation companies in the US and UK. Reportedly, one of its 32-20 thermoform machines has been incorporated into a robotic system to package diagnostic glass slides and desiccants, at speeds of over 50 pouches per minute.  

Two Fanuc robots were integrated into this system: a Delta robot manages the high-speed staging of delicate glass slides, while a SCARA robot was integrated directly into the Shawpak machine to load four parts per cycle (two desiccants and two slides) into pouches as they are formed. 

In similar news, Schubert-Pharma exhibited its top-loading packaging vial machine with a table-top design at ACHEMA 2024, set to help manufacturers in the pharmaceutical sector surpass their line clearance requirements. The design of its TLM machines is expected to help achieve the required line clearance, as it does not allow products to fall into the base of the machine during the packaging process. 

More recently, ABB Robotics announced its new controller, an intelligent automation platform designed for processes including gluing and laser cutting. It claims to operate up to 25% faster with 20% less energy than the previous ABB controller. 

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