The packaging of products in the pharma industry has evolved greatly over the years, leading to conquer the objective of making the drugs hold their qualitative attributes for a longer duration, protection against biological contamination and degradation, and also physical damage during handling and supply. The blister packaging method is often used in pharma industries for packing medicine. In this, a plastic sheet is thermoformed to form multiple cups/blisters that hold the drug.
The cold form blister packaging is achieved by covering the aluminum foil from both sides with Nylon and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) films using dry bond lamination technology. As the lamination involves mold pressing without applying heat it is called cold forming blister laminate. Over time, the extensive use of PVC and BOPA (BPA) (Bi-axially Oriented Polyamide) films has been undertaken in the cold-formed pharma packing industry. The use of aluminum offers a complete barrier for oxygen and water which allow an extended predict expiry date in cold form foil blisters.
However this also carries few environmental threatening factors – like it releases poisonous gases like dioxin and hydrochloric acid when PVC is re-processed. Besides this it generates hydrochloric acid vapor in contact with sunlight/burning. Also BOPA has high moisture absorption level which makes its processing difficult to form packs.
To overcome these challenges of BOPA and PVC, the Alu-Alu packaging technique was developed recently by the UFlex company. In this the problems of BON and PVC films were eradicated by the use of special polymer film. UFlex designed this film by undergoing extensive R&D activities for almost two years. For this unique development UFlex has been granted a US patent covering entire categories of Formable Films that include one or more BOPET layers used in Alu-Alu blister packaging.
A typical Alu-Alu blister laminate manufactures by UFlex, comprised of three layers of 25-micron BOPA, 60-micron aluminum foil, and 60 micron PVC. The special polyester film has replaced the top and bottom substrates of the conventional cold-formed laminate, to a whole new structure of polyester-based Alu-Alu blister packaging which comprises of 25-micron special polyester, 50-micron aluminum foil, and 25-micron special polyester. The moister consumption of this film has also been curbed phenomenally to 0.8%, which is 92% lesser than earlier statistics.
Polyester is a para-crystalline material which possesses excellent barrier, clarity, printability, and hardness properties. Film-forming and orientation of polyester augurs well for the creation of thin profile webs with excellent properties for use in flexible packaging. Aluminum offers high barrier properties against oxygen and vapor which are way beyond the requirement of the drugs packed inside. Thus, the use of polyester films to pack pharma products have become the most Suitable alternative which lightens the overall weight of the ensuing laminate without deteriorating the quality of drugs packed inside and which eases the task of the supply chain with no compromise on the quality of the drugs.
Alu-Alu packaging from the house of UFlex provides sustainability and cost optimization, thus giving it an edge over conventional Alu-Alu packaging. This special polyester film can also be recycled and reprocessed, and it is 100
percent environment friendly. Since both the PVC and BON have to be imported from other countries into India, UFlex has also been able to make this a completely indigenous product. With increased thrust on sustainable packaging by companies across the world, this new innovation has proved to be a game-changer for the pharmaceutical packaging industry in India, as well as across the globe.