A Complete Guide to Buying Blister Packaging Machines (2023)
If you're part of the fast-paced world of packaging, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for your business to thrive. Among numerous packaging solutions, which is the most efficient and economical method to showcase and safeguard your products? The answer goes to blister packaging. So, how do you pack your product into a blister? All you need is a blister packaging machine.
Yet, investing in the right blister packaging machine can be challenging. No worries. We have done the homework for you. We've put together this comprehensive guide to help you locate the blister machine for your specific needs. Whether you're new to the game or a seasoned industry veteran, this blog post will equip you with the essential knowledge to make an informed purchasing decision.
Without further ado, let's start with the basics.
What is Blister Packaging?
Blister packaging is a popular type of packaging typically produced by a thermoforming process. A blister pack consists of one or multiple clear bubbles (cavities) and a paperboard backing. The blister is heat-sealed to the backing to secure the product between them. This packaging method is widely used in the pharmaceutical, food, and consumer goods industries.
It's worth mentioning that blister packs come in other forms when packing pharmaceutical products. The cavity material can be made from plastic or aluminum foil. And the pharmaceutical product is placed inside the cavity and sealed with an aluminum backing. Here, the aluminum blisters are produced by a cold-forming process.
What is a Blister Packaging Machine?
A blister packaging machine is a mechanical device. It consists of various components and mechanisms. They work together to form blister cavities and pack different products in the blisters. The machine is fabricated to improve the efficiency of blister packaging manufacturing.
Types of Blister Packaging Machines
When buying a blister packaging machine, it's critical to know which type best suits your needs. Today, there are many different types of blister packaging machines out there. Let's first figure out these available types.
Like most mechanical devices, blister packaging machines come in different types based on their operation methods. They are:
Both manual and semi-automatic blister packaging machines require human intervention in the process. With manual machines, you can actively participate in every step, comprehending the packaging process. And the semi-auto blister machines provide a balance between human involvement and automation.
Though manual and semi-automatic machines handle small-batch production, they are more affordable than fully automatic ones. Both types are an ideal option if you're a newcomer to the industry.
These machines can do everything on their own at the touch of a button. After you set the process parameters through a touchscreen, the machine will load materials, form bubbles, fill, seal, perforate and cut blister packs, and discharge the finished products.
In these machines, the blister packaging process steps include the following:
1. Forming: The forming material (plastic or aluminum foil) is loaded into the machine. A heating element softens the material. This allows the material to shape the blister cavities. Some machines can also apply cold forming to create cavities.
2. Filling: The product to be packed is fed into the formed blisters.
3. Sealing: The backing material (paperboard or aluminum foil) is placed onto the filled cavities. The machine uses heat or cold sealing to attach the backing material to the blisters to enclose the product.
4. Perforating & Cutting: The sealed blister packs are perforated and cut using cutting dies.
The fully-automatic machines can be categorized into three types depending on the machine structure and working principle. They are:
A. Roller-Type Blister Packaging Machine
(Image Source: Rapid-Pack)
This machine utilizes a roller system to transfer blister packs. After blister cavities are formed by vacuum, they are fed by the servo-driven rollers to the sealing station. The sealing process also takes place on these rollers.
B. Flat-Plate Blister Packaging Machine
As the name suggests, the packaging process in this machine occurs on flat plate devices. Blister cavities are created by flat-forming molds using positive pressure. And then, the formed blisters are sealed by a flat sealing mechanism.
C. Roller-Plate Blister Packaging Machine
(Image Source: ROMACO)
This blister machine combines roller-type and flat-plate features. It forms blister bubbles using flat-plate molds and seal them with a roller.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Blister Packaging
Are you thinking about integrating a blister packaging machine into your business? Don't be in a hurry. Every coin has two sides. Let's dig deeper and see the pros and cons of blister packaging.
Advantages of Blister Packaging:
- Allows for ease of use and tamper resistance.
- Offers clear product visibility to let consumers see what they're buying.
- Creates an airtight seal to keep products fresh, high-quality, and effective.
- Protects products during transport and storage.
- Ensures accurate dosing and makes it convenient for users.
- Provides custom design options for enhancing brand recognition.
- Cost-effective packaging with a simple design and efficient use of shelf space.
Disadvantages of Blister Packaging:
- Has an environmental impact due to non-biodegradable plastic materials.
- Some types of blister packaging can be difficult to open.
- Clear plastic blisters may be susceptible to heat and light exposure, affecting temperature-sensitive or UV-sensitive products.
- Not foolproof and can be tampered with if not properly secured or stored, posing risks for pharmaceuticals.
- May impede the independent use of products for individuals with disabilities.
10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Blister Packaging Machine
Buying a blister packaging machine can be a big investment. To ensure you get the equipment worth your money, here are ten things that you should bear in mind.
Whether you're just starting out in the industry or looking to expand your business, purchasing new equipment can be overwhelming. One of the most important things is evaluating your budget to see how much you can afford. If you have a tight budget, a used machine is quite a good alternative.
2. Packaging Needs
Define your specific needs. What type of products will you be packaging? What's your desired packaging format? What's your expected production volume? So, knowing your packaging needs first is an essential step in making an informed purchasing decision.
3. Packaging Materials
Today, most blister packaging machines are designed to handle various materials. But there are exceptions. Some machines may have limitations on the types of forming or backing materials. So, check if the machine is compatible with the materials you intend to use before buying.
4. Machine Capacity
Determine the number of products you want to package per hour or day. You can choose a manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic machine based on your production volume. Verify if the machine's speed and production output suit your requirements.
5. Machine Features
Choose a machine that boasts custom designs and can handle various packaging formats. A flexible blister machine will do a great favor when you plan to make changes in your packaging line or scale up your business in the future.
6. Required Space
Compare the available space in your facility with the dimensions of the blister packaging machine. Ensure that the facility has sufficient space to accommodate the machine. And the space should provide proper access for installation, operation, and maintenance.
7. Ease of Use and Maintenance
Blister machines are created to make packaging tasks easier, faster, and more efficient. The machine with an intuitive and user-friendly interface will save you time on operator training. Clear maintenance instructions can minimize downtime and keep your machine in tip-top shape.
8. After-Sales Service
Check if the manufacturer or supplier offers training, troubleshooting, and other after-sales services. Reliable technical support can ensure your machine operates at peak performance. Also, it helps to extend the lifespan of your machine.
9. Regulatory Compliance
Depending on your product and market, the blister packaging machine you choose must comply with relevant industry standards and regulations, such as ISO certifications, GMP and cGMP regulations, CE marking, and more.
When buying a blister packaging machine, be sure to inquire about the machine's warranty. It provides protection and assurance for your investment. Carefully go through the warranty's terms and conditions. Figure out how long the warranty lasts, what it covers, what limitations or exclusions it contains, and if you can extend it. A comprehensive warranty will provide support if any issues arise during the warranty period.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing a new blister packaging machine may be overwhelming. In a nutshell, it's all about the best fit for your business. Whatever type of blister machine you choose, make sure that it's tailored to your packaging needs. With this complete guide, you'll find the perfect machine to boost your productivity. Get ready to package like a pro!
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As an expert in the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical packaging industry, iPharMachine has provided solutions for hundreds of pharmaceutical and health product manufacturers for 17 years. By visiting customers, we get good reviews from our customers.