For the first time, the product feed on the Romaco Siebler HM 1E/240 horizontal strip packaging line for effervescent tablets can now be monitored at eye-level. The entire packaging process takes place horizontally at an optimally convenient working height of 90cm.

An intelligent separating system positions the products accurately in the sealing station of the heat-sealing machine. The effervescent tablets are conveyed to the system’s four horizontal feeding channels on a special belt for this purpose. In the next step, the products are actively placed in the sealing wells in a sequence of servo-controlled movements. The packaging speed of the line is significantly increased because the tablets are positively introduced into the horizontal sealing station.

A further benefit is that the humidity and temperature sensitive effervescent products are no longer exposed to the heat and vapours emitted by the sealing station when processed horizontally. The amount of waste is greatly reduced as a result. Integrating a horizontal sealing station has the advantage that the products no longer have to be transported on a belt from the tablet press to the top of the machine, as would be the case with vertical feeding. The feed sections in the Siebler horizontal line concept are consequently shorter – saving time, space and money.

Robotic transfer station supports quick format changeovers

Once the effervescent tablets have been sealed in coated aluminium foil, the strip packaging is perforated and cut to the required size. The Siebler FlexTrans FT 400 robotic transfer station then transports the finished strips to the Romaco Promatic P 91 intermittent motion cartoner.

Pick-and-place robots carry the sealed strip packs from the belt to the station’s stacking trays at a rate of up to 400 packs per minute. The stacked strips are then transferred directly to the bucket chain of the cartoner. The robot-controlled direct transfer station therefore eliminates the need for complex stacking stations.

Owing to the servo control principle, the robot grippers can handle effervescent tablet strips in a variety of sizes and formats – from strips of ten for clinical needs to single packs for the Asian markets. For the first time, quick format changeovers are possible on effervescent tablet packaging lines thanks to the targeted integration of robotics. The robot-controlled systems themselves are virtually maintenance-free and work without any format tools, leading to much lower costs for operation. This innovative Siebler technology represents a great improvement in packaging line versatility and availability, satisfying all the most important requirements of contract packaging manufacturers.

Highly efficient processes

The highly automated Siebler line concept facilitates continuous monitoring of the production process. Faulty packs are identified immediately and can be removed individually. The obligatory separation of complete cutting cycles is now a thing of the past. More than twenty servo-controlled drives guarantee precise and efficient processes.

The four-lane Siebler HM 1E/240 effervescent line achieves a maximum packaging speed of 1,500 products per minute – roughly equivalent to the output of an eight-lane vertical heat-sealing machine for effervescent tablets. Just 14m long and 2.5m wide, this line also has a remarkably compact footprint.

All in all, the horizontal concept scores top marks for overall equipment efficiency. One of India’s biggest manufacturers of generics trusts in Romaco Siebler technology. Two horizontal strip packaging lines for effervescent tablets are currently in action at this pharmaceutical company, with more in the pipeline.