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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Star Product

Like everybody else in the world, I love good feedback – even better when it validates a skill I feel I already possess. One place that indulges this is the online auction site. However, I am not seeking remarks about the good condition of my recently sold running machine (I admit that its as-new state was maintained by never using it). What I hope for are comments about how securely I protected the item for delivery to ensure its survival through the postal network, while not adding massive shipping charges or leaving the recipient in need of a chainsaw and blowtorch to retrieve the parcel’s contents.

I greatly enjoy the challenge of creating secure packaging solutions, be it for an unwanted auction item or, more importantly, for a client’s temperaturesensitive products. To achieve this, I must understand the challenges a system will meet and how it can best interact and work with the environments faced between points A and B.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the development of temperaturecontrolled packaging needs to include mechanical testing to ensure that the payload remains physically safe. However, when considering security, we need to go further than simply changing the grade of corrugated packaging to improve compression strength.

What we need to know is how the package will be handled and perceived as it moves towards its destination. Considering this upfront can be difficult, and there are many aspects of security that must instead be managed by the logistics provider. That said, the packaging provider can (and should) support the work they do.

Generally speaking, the practice of de-branding a container is a positive first step – although we must ensure that any instructional or regulatory labelling remains visible. Beyond artwork, tamperevident seals and closures – built not only into the exterior carton but also into the internal insulation layers – are also very effective in adding layers of security to the process.

Understanding how the package can best interact with its environment is critical to secure delivery. If a system is too large, too heavy or too complex, it risks being treated incorrectly. As a developer, I have a responsibility to create something that fi ts its fi nal use – and this includes ensuring I have added any necessary features and components to support all users in the supply process. This could simply mean the addition of handles located at safe lifting points, or integrated pallet-accepting feet.

If all of the above is considered and included in the development stages of thermal packaging, then a secure chain of supply can easily be created. Good packaging is all about ensuring the payload reaches its fi nal destination in the best possible condition. We need to remember that even for packaging named after its primary performance requirement, overall its design must allow all those directly and indirectly invested in the product’s security to offer their best service – which will, in turn, ensure the product arrives in five-star condition.

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Richard Harrop is a qualified structural packaging design engineer, coming previously from the FMCG sector. He has been involved in the temperature-controlled packaging industry for over 10 years. During this time, he has developed and implemented several successful temperature-controlled solutions for many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotech corporations.
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