The quest for the highest quality and safety standards is one of the traits that has always typified the pharmaceutical industry. However, this search for excellence does not impact pharmaceutical products alone: the packaging world is also called upon to make continuous innovations to meet the needs of a constantly evolving industry.
Andrea Cavanna, Managing Director of Bonfiglioli Engineering, spoke to us about the top five challenges facing pharmaceutical packaging, looking more broadly to the development of the industry.
The primary task of pharmaceutical packaging is to protect the product and preserve its characteristics, from the production plant to the user. For this to be possible, drugs are subject to a series of strict controls governed by ministerial regulations that transpose the GMP of various countries or of the European Union. Such regulations and guidelines are understandably extremely strict, and every manufacturer is required to schedule and perform the tests demanded by inspection authorities.
Bonfiglioli Engineering can provide complete consulting services and propose customised solutions to assist its customers along the path toward implementing these tests, applying its knowledge of the technologies, operating modes and regulatory systems governing the pharmaceutical sector.
Safe packaging protects consumers’ health, which is why drug packaging must always be designed to facilitate dosing and prevent accidental consumption by children.
The challenge of pharmaceutical packaging does not stop here, however. More and more often, product packaging determines the dose of the active ingredient administered to the patient. This is the case, for example, of pre-filled syringes, but also of much more advanced products, such as extended-release patches or inhalers delivering life-saving drugs that must maintain the same level of precision under all pressure conditions.
Thanks to its 45 years of experience in this field, Bonfiglioli Engineering designs and implements special testing processes that guarantee product quality, so that patients can benefit from medications that are safe and easy to use.
Bonfiglioli Engineering's inspection systems’ flexibility and ease of integration in factory monitoring provide objective data, making it possible to monitor equipment efficiency. These data are an indication of the quality of the production process and allow improvement of individual processes, minimising product non-compliance and increasing production line efficiency.
Bonfiglioli Engineering is also developing various additional sensor systems integrated in Industry 4.0 equipment. They measure significant parameters like temperature, vibration and power consumption to monitor the state of the equipment itself and determine whether the system is working at maximum efficiency or if there are deviations from the expected results.
In addition to testing equipment, Bonfiglioli Engineering also offers its Manufacturing Execution Systems package, a data management and exchange system that receives information on the testing process from the customer network and sends feedback.
Innovation fuels the entire pharmaceutical supply chain, and innovation in pharmaceutical packaging is no exception. That is why Bonfiglioli Engineering offers assistance to its customers right from the beginning of product development, providing fundamental advice to devise packaging that can be tested in accordance with the regulations in force and to identify any possible critical points early on.
Bonfiglioli Engineering offers consulting services to assist our customers in every phase of pharmaceutical development, from design to the pilot plant to line start-up. This guarantees top-notch results, prevents errors and unexpected events and shortens time to market.
The last challenge the pharmaceutical packaging sector is preparing to face involves developments related to the use of neural networks and artificial intelligence to improve the performance of the equipment offered by Bonfiglioli Engineering even further.
By analysing and comparing huge volumes of data, we can identify early on behaviours that deviate from the norm, to then identify and correct any errors and schedule maintenance operations. AI also lets us analyse more product inspection data in order to improve the performance of our equipment.
All this protects both consumers and manufacturers by minimising the costly and damaging risks of product recalls. The present and future of the pharmaceutical packaging world depend on this as well.