Medipak Systems 
Innovative Packaging Solutions 
Pharma Packaging Technology 

Creative Package Engineering - Case Study

Genentech — Highly-developed technology for high-quality products

In Genentech's modern filling and finishing plant at its Hillsboro site in Oregon, vials are packaged rapidly and reliably in TopLoading boxes developed in-house. The Dividella NeoTOP 804 TopLoad cartoning machine is well known for safely packaging extremely delicate products.

Genentech, the first-ever biotechnology company, has installed a new filling and finishing plant at its site in Hillsboro, Oregon. To accommodate the plant, an area of 30 hectares was purchased in 2006. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility took place in December of the same year. The new plant in Oregon is expected to be approved by the FDA and ready for operation by 2010. By 2015, the Genentech company would like to employ more than 300 people in the new plant.

Two triple-mode cartoning machines

After intensive evaluation, Genentech acquired two NeoTOP 804 triple-mode cartoning machines for the plant, with a production rate of 20 to 240 boxes per minute. Two separate feed systems bring the vials to the machines. The product vials are labelled inline by a Weiler Engineering system and then conveyed via an advanced Dividella feed system to the NeoTOP pick-and place unit. For combination packs of vials with diluting agent and product vials, the diluting agent cassettes are fed manually on a second feed system. For patient sets, several different additional components frequently have to be placed in the boxes. This is why a manual loading station for several operators is additionally integrated into the NeoTop system.

Automation and quality

The lines are equipped with two leaflet inserters and an automatic leaflet discharging system. Each of the two systems is designed for a specific width of leaflet formats. The automatic discharging system was essential because of the unusual thickness of the leaflets, in combination with the high speed demands of triple-mode operation. A Domino Printing DSL-1 laser applies batch and expiry codes to the side of the box. The machines features a Cognex image processing system. Cameras located at key points check the quality of the boxes and the presence of product, leaflets and the laser code. Immediately before packaging on a Pester UVP 2 side loader, the box contents are checked once more by weighing. Pester's case packer has an integrated printing and labelling system with image processing.

High flexibility a key factor

This cooperation with Genentech was preceded by a detailed examination of different machine and packaging concepts by the customer. The thickness of the leaflets, the high-value products and the numerous additional components demanded an extremely flexible and accurate TopLoad cartoning system. With this in mind, serious consideration was also given to factors such as pack design, machine efficiency and changeover, carton costs, system flexibility and the general quality of the machine. "When we decided on Dividella, we knew that this would mean an enormous change for our production processes", explains John Green, senior engineer for packaging development. "We are faced with the classic challenges of the supply chain: we want to achieve a balance between minimum carton size and maximum product protection, and at the same time we want to deliver impeccable quality. The Dividella system is extremely flexible. If we had decided instead to opt for an end loader cartoning machine, our packaging options would have been much more limited today."

A demand for comprehensive solutions

Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the safety of their product until they arrive at the end user. Naturally, on this often long journey many stages in the dispatch and transport chain can be problematic. This is why an intelligent packaging solution is critical. Together the Dividella and Rondo-Pak teams are highly competent when it comes to packaging design and development. Stefan Ehrne, Genentech project manager at Dividella, stresses the professionalism, readiness for cooperation and attention to detail of the Genentech project team, led by Jeff Novak, which has made the project a success. In return, Genentech praises Dividella's readiness to provide comprehensive support for the fully integrated system, as early as the test phase.

"Thanks to Dividella's experience of supplying comprehensive turnkey systems, we have already put both the complete lines into operation on Dividella's premises, before they were even transported to our packaging installation."

Strong partners

Genentech, Roche and their partners work closely with Körber Medipak and operate more than 30 packaging Körber Medipak Group packaging systems worldwide.