The machine construction specialist Romaco presents its newest technological development for manufacturing and packaging pharmaceutical strip tablets, StripTabs™. The manufacture in a homogenized mixed procedure offers high dosing accuracy and is an innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Efficient and high-quality product processing in positioning and coating, as well as during the punching and packaging processes, is achieved through finely tailored machine handling.

StripTabs for new forms of medical therapy

Romaco has proven its innovative strengths in developing a fully-automated plant for the production and packaging of pharmaceutical StripTabs. Until now, strip tablets have primarily been available on the market in the field of oral hygiene. For the first time, StripTabs applications contain active pharmaceutical ingredients that can be used, for example, to treat migraines or even cancers. Oral application of these wafer-thin strip tablets, with a thickness of about 60µ to 100µ leads to rapid distribution of the active ingredients in the body.

As a full-line supplier, Romaco can take on the whole production process from the manufacturing and processing of medication, through packaging using heat-seal processes, to handling individual stages in secondary packaging. Partner laboratories can additionally offer recipes for strip tablets for relevant pharmaceuticals. The production sequences for the whole line are fully automatically controlled. The end product is packaged using a heat-seal procedure, in a plant that can achieve a maximum output of 1,000 packages per minute.

A new type of concept for manufacturing StripTabs

The mixing of dry and liquid ingredients to form a homogeneous, dense solution is carried out through Romaco FrymaKoruma. The admixture of active pharmaceutical ingredients into the matrix of the StripTabs also allows extremely accurate dosing of the active ingredients. Continuous circulation, recirculation and heating of the liquid keep the viscosity and concentration of the mixture constant for subsequent processing.

In the next step, the pharmaceutical solution is passed to the OPTIMAGS coating plant. With a thickness tolerance of 1µ, the liquid is applied to a highly accurate carrier foil. It then runs through several drying units and is rolled up for subsequent processing. It is important to be aware that the elasticity of the rolled material has limited life. This requires accurate adaptation of production quantities to the capacities of the packaging machine. For this reason, individual machines in the Romaco line are tailored to each other as accurately as possible as far as the properties and quantities of the material being processed and the production times are concerned.

Efficient handling using the Siebler HM heat-sealing machine

For cutting and packaging the medication, the roll material is unwound by the
Romaco Siebler HM 2/500 hot-seal machine and perforated in small rectangles (20mm x 30mm) in the integrated precision grooving station. Then the StripTabs are separated from the carrier foil in a delamination procedure and placed on the primary packaging foil by means of a shuttle system. The product lines involved in the individual applications are fed to the multi-track heat-seal process and sealed air-tight in soft aluminium foil packages. Peelable foil packaging with opening aids additionally allows the StripTabs to be removed from the packaging by tongue.

The construction of the plant is the result of intensively driven interdisciplinary
research in the field of oral applications. “Bubble-free mixing of liquid pharmaceutical masses, application of the mixture on to the carrier film with micrometer accuracy, and highly accurate cutting and feeding of the StripTabs during the packaging process were the greatest technical challenges here,” reported Martin Grau, product manager at Siebler. “The high dosing accuracy of StripTabs is achieved through the perfect interaction of different machine systems in a fully automated production sequence.”