Pharmaceutical Packaging Machinery - Present & Future Aspects

Continuous innovation in manufacturing and packaging has led to rapid development of new products and technologies aimed at increasing and enhancing efficiency. There has been constant innovations in pharmaceutical packaging such as blow fill seals, plasma impulse chemical vapor disposition (PICVD) coating, snap off ampoules, unit dose vials, two in one prefilled vial design, ready filled syringes and child proofing.

Areas of innovation

Safety, threat of contamination and counterfeit prevention, cold chain compliant packaging, patient compliant, and regulatory factors have  been areas that have driven improvement in innovations of packing.

Administration methods

The traditional administration methods have been;

  • Oral tablets and capsules ; packed in forms of blister packs or in plastic bottles
  • Powders , pastilles and liquids  are also orally taken,

New administration methods have emerged such as intravenous administration, Inhalation and transdermal methods. These new techniques have necessitated newer packaging methods to be developed for these techniques.

Liquid Filling Machines

The need to develop products that can address various market requirements has been an area of focus among many manufacturers. New products such as nutritionals require varying dosages in packaging and equipment must have the ability to deliver these quantities. These functional expectations of the manufacturers including logistical processes, easy pouring, and handling have continued to drive new trends. Some important developments include liquid filling machines for both bottles and poaches, nonstop film change, pouch dispensers and poach cutting machines.

Liquid Filling Machines

Vial Filling Machines

Focus has been improving flexibility, reliability and efficiency, reducing risk of contamination and eliminating personnel exposure to potent chemicals. Lengthy transfer piping (requiring cleaning and validation) are being replaced by simple mounting of pre sterilized tubing sets. vial filling machine carriers are also designed for wider range of bottle diameters, which reduces cost of spare parts, reduces changeover time.

Liquid Bottle Filling Machines

Currently, there has been the development of two in one vial multi chamber dispensers, which involves packaging of the main product followed by a separate packing line for dilution water, meant to mix with product during product usage.

There has also been advancement in liquid filling machine controls through use of programmable logic controls, and inclusion of safety devices. Inclusion of automatic hopper level control provides faster change over time.

Volumetric Liquid Filling Machine

While these Automatic volumetric liquid filling machine can pack a wide range of viscosities and temperatures, usage with shear-sensitive fluids may pose certain challenges, most common being particles getting trapped between the piston and the cylinder. These have been substituted with diaphragm pumps as well as peristaltic pumping systems.

Rotary Filling Machine

There have also been improvements in levels of automation with rotary filling machines modified to be able to pack paste products as well as granulated and powdered products.


With a rapid increase in self-administered medications, most delivered through injections, there has been a growing need for patient friendly packaging systems that must ensure safety during transport, tamper evident, and difficult to counterfeit. Equipment manufacturers have also responded with advanced systems that comply with dosing accuracy, safe and efficient in handling.

The market also requires accurate traceability systems that can help track the product throughout the supply chain.

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