Medical devices come in all shapes and sizes but have one thing in common: they must safely and securely arrive at their destination. To make sure this is the case, the packaging has to fit the product and assure safe transport and delivery. Possible breakage or damage (of sterile) packaging must be avoided.
From small to large: packaging in the field of medical technology comes in all sizes. Scalpels or catheters must be packed as well as pacemakers or surgical equipment.
Plastic is the type of material that meets many of the aforementioned requirements and has thus become an indispensable part of the packaging industry. It is ideal as a protective cover for medical devices - as a clamshell for bone screws, a carton for defibrillators or a blister pack for a wide range of products. The option of using plastic to design see-through, clear packaging makes it an especially desired material in the medical field. For example, the sizes of butterfly needles are indicated in the colors of a "butterfly". This makes transparent packaging also a safety feature as it ensures that users open or use the right size.
Whether companies make their own packaging or outsource this job to a third party: the right packaging design comes before packaging products are being manufactured. Factors such as product protection, anti-counterfeit protection, safe shipping, transport, and storage, as well as labeling options (contents of packaging, unique device identification) are also taken into account. Packaging is typically first designed on the computer. This is followed by the creation of a prototype before the solution goes to mass production.
During the production process, all packaging is repeatedly tested and evaluated. This applies especially to packaging that’s manufactured in cleanroom facilities. Medical devices that are used in the catheterization laboratory or operating rooms must not be exposed to any contamination risk. This mandates cleanroom manufacturing and corresponding protective clothing (as seen here in our latest video).
In addition, the packaging is repeatedly tested for stability and reliability. It must withstand temperature changes without the material becoming brittle or cracking. The seals of so-called blister packs must also remain intact.
The different colors help to choose the right size of the catheter. Here they are unpacked to see.
Modular packaging machines
Theoretically, packaging machines can be used for all kinds of purposes. This means a deep drawing press can be applied by various industries such as the food and medical technology sectors. Some manufacturers only create machines that cater to the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. They build scalable, modular systems that are flexible and can accommodate modified product features. These companies are prepared to swiftly respond to new developments in the medical technology sector.
If you are interested in learning more about the available options and current trends in this industry, come visit the upcoming COMPAMED trade fair in November and marvel at a large variety of packaging systems.
The article was written by Simone Ernst and translated from german by Elena O'Meara. COMPAMED-tradefair.com