Case Study: Outsert Applicator Increases Accuracy for Contract Packager

Description

Contract packager Reed-Lane has been at the top of their game for 58 years by embracing constant change. To serve the dynamic needs of their pharmaceutical customers, they implemented wide-spread updates over the past several years to their Wayne, New Jersey, USA facility, including upgrading a solid-dose bottling line. Focused on speed and agility, Reed-Lane turned to MGS for a new outsert applicator and selected a TopSerter II to achieve high throughput and rapid changeovers.


 
“We rely on the best new technology to meet all of our customers’ expectations. Since we have over 25 packaging lines, we’ve used many different topserters over the years. The one we purchased from MGS several years ago has performed the best, so we went directly to them when it was time to upgrade,” said Richard Wrocklage, Director of Package Development at Reed-Lane. “The TopSerter II has everything we need – it’s small, versatile, and effective.”


 
The TopSerter II uses a rotary pick-and-place head to pick up, transfer and apply folded outserts, which are fed from a powered magazine. Hot melt glue is deposited onto the bottle caps, and the rotating head presses the outserts on top. While the standard model reaches speeds up to 120 bottles per minute (bpm) using a two-arm pick-head and random-cycle bottle handling, MGS upgraded the system for Reed-Lane with a servo-motor, four-arm pick-head and a timing screw to achieve speeds of up to 240 bpm.


 
“One of the main reasons we purchased the TopSerter II is its high throughput. We usually run the line at speeds up to 180 bpm, so this machine isn’t even breaking a sweat,” said Wrocklage. “The system is also extremely accurate. Even at our fastest speeds, we see virtually no placement drifts.”


 
This line packages softgels, tablets and capsules into round bottles ranging from 30 to 1250 cc and square bottles from 45 to 400 cc. The most common outsert size is 1-3/16 inches wide and 1-1/4 inches high, from 1/4 to 5/8 inch thick. Originally designed and built to handle 11 different bottle sizes and four outsert dimensions, Reed-Lane’s topserter was later expanded to include three additional bottles and one more outsert size as their requirements increased. “When it comes to packaging equipment, we try not to paint ourselves into a corner,” explained Wrocklage. “We like being able to add new capabilities as the industry and our customers evolve.”


 
“Because we sometimes run orders fewer than 1,000 bottles, we frequently change over this line – up to four times in a shift. That’s why we need equipment that’s quick and easy to adjust,” said Ralph Manubag, Technical Support at Reed-Lane. “Our new topserter takes about a third of the time to change compared to our other ones.”


 
“We clean and inspect our equipment every time we change the product the line is handling. That’s easy to do on the TopSerter II. There are no areas for product to get trapped or places we can’t easily access,” added Wrocklage. “The ergonomic design and guarding protect our employees, too. That’s a big deal to us, and it’s clearly a high priority for MGS as well.”


 
MGS equipped Reed-Lane’s TopSerter II with an optional verification system to be sure the correct literature is applied to every bottle. A vision scanner confirms that the barcode on the each outsert correlates to the recipe programmed in the control panel. The system automatically rejects bottles with missing outserts or outserts that have incorrect barcodes.


 
“Overall, this topserter is simple to use. It doesn’t give us any trouble – our operators find it entirely hassle-free,” said Gino Zarate, Lead Packaging Technician at Reed-Lane. “For one thing, the outsert magazine has a unique shelf so the whole tray of outserts can be loaded at once. This makes loading fast and easy and gives the operator more time to take care of the rest of the line.”


 
“We designed this line to do a lot of different things, and the TopSerter II can handle it all. It accommodates our enormous assortment of bottle sizes and changes over quickly. Plus, it maintains excellent accuracy at our high speeds,” concluded Wrocklage. “I’ve been in this industry for 35 years and have come to regard MGS as a manufacturer with top-of-the-line machines and exceptional service.”

 

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