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The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by urbanisation, sustainability, safety & trust, and convenience, and growing importance of technologies such as sustainable/eco-friendly packaging, active packaging, near field communication (NFC), and bluetooth low energy. In the last three years alone, there have been over 310,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in Packaging: Vial Filling & Sealing Conveyors.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity. 

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Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have. 

80+ innovations will shape the packaging industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the packaging industry using innovation intensity models built on over 87,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, automatic garment packaging, cigarette packaging conveyors, and autonomous vehicles for warehousing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Mechanically actuated dispenser packaging, automated bundling tools, and automated storage and retrieval containers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are vial filling & sealing conveyors and automated tissue dispenser, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the packaging industry

Vial filling & sealing conveyors is a key innovation area in robotics 

The vial filling and sealing machine is used in the pharmaceutical industry to fill medicinal contents into the vials and perform the function of sealing the top of the vial with rubber stoppers.    

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vial filling & sealing conveyors. 

Key players in vial filling & sealing conveyors – a disruptive innovation in the packaging industry 

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to vial filling & sealing conveyors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Amgen 95 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 80 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 62 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 46 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 45 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and 41 Unlock Company Profile
Schott Kaisha 40 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 39 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 37 Unlock Company Profile
Vetter & Apotheker 36 Unlock Company Profile
Medical Instill Technologies 32 Unlock Company Profile
Telebrands 29 Unlock Company Profile
Automobile Reseau Tunisien et Services 24 Unlock Company Profile
Marchesini Group 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kocher-Plastik Maschinenbau 16 Unlock Company Profile
West Pharmaceutical Services 15 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 14 Unlock Company Profile
New Injection Systems 13 Unlock Company Profile
Terumo 13 Unlock Company Profile
3M 12 Unlock Company Profile
Syntegon Technology 11 Unlock Company Profile
AMW 10 Unlock Company Profile
Truking Technology 10 Unlock Company Profile
AptarGroup 9 Unlock Company Profile
Skan 8 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 7 Unlock Company Profile
SO.FI.M.A. Societa Finanziaria Macchine Automatiche 7 Unlock Company Profile
Fresenius 7 Unlock Company Profile
GE Healthcare 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kiefel 7 Unlock Company Profile
ProJect Pharmaceutics 6 Unlock Company Profile
American Securities 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Muffinorporated 5 Unlock Company Profile
Gerhard Schubert 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Amgen is one of the leading patent filers in vial filling & sealing conveyors. Amgen recently announced its plans to construct a new pharmaceutical product assembly and packaging unit in New Albany, Ohio, US. The unit will be used to assemble and pack vials and syringes that will support the company’s increasing demand for medicines. Some other key patent filers in the space include F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Danaher, Sanofi, and Robert Bosch Stiftung. 

In terms of application diversity, Sanofi leads the pack. Amgen and Becton Dickinson stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Pfizer held the top position, followed by Vetter & Co Apotheker and Sanofi

Vial filling & sealing conveyors will gain popularity in the pharmaceutical packaging market with players in the industry using this technology for the safety and integrity of their products. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Packaging.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.