A technological solutions include the sterile liquids line made for Immucor, a well-known American company based in Georgia (US) specialising in pre-transfusion diagnostics.

A leader in sales in the United States transfusion market, Immucor specifically makes and distributes products which transfusion centres, blood banks and clinical laboratories use to test blood components prior to patient transfusion.

Therefore, products which require particular treatment and have specific packaging requirements. Solid co-operation between Immucor and Marchesini Group resulted in the production of a liquid line for filling vials: an important project that Marchesini Group know-how brought to a successful conclusion, demonstrating tried-and-tested design and production capabilities for complete pharmaceutical packaging lines.

Machines in the line

The liquids line installed at the Immucor factory in Georgia packages in 5 and 10 ml vials reagents for analysis laboratories and blood banks and features the following machines: in the sterile zone, first the ML661, a bottle filling and capping machine, fitted with the Cip/Sip unit for machine washing and sanitising. Once filled and closed, the vials arrive at the SL400 labeller, made by Neri. The line speed is 200 vials/min. In the sterile zone the 5-10 ml vials – either glass or plastic – are filled and closed with a cap equipped with a dropper by the ML661, a linear single-block machine with specific features: a new construction logic with robotised machine movements and PC-controlled brushless motors; brushless motor control of the filling syringe stroke and valve opening; balcony structure for correct Laminar Flow according to CGMP directives; automatic size configuration, PC-controlled for frequent and precision changes; dropper presence check during vial closing; filling takes place in line with a continuous tracking motion; rapid size change-over; clear separation of the vial transit zone from the mechanical control and drive parts.

This filling system uses the machine washing and sanitising unit CIP/SIP (Clean in Place / Steam in Place), guaranteeing maximum flexibility for excellent cleaning depending on the specific products involved. The washing process is obtained with a sequence of washing cycles using liquid detergents and water or using steam or sterilised air. The flow opening and closing valves are automatically controlled by a PC and each cycle can be customised using the touch screen display. At the end of washing, purpose-designed sensors check if the water is clean, to assess the level of cleanness of the machine and establish whether or not another sanitising cycle is required. The vials exit the sterile zone via a screw feeder and go to the Neri SL400, a balcony-structure continuous automatic labelling machine which applies self-adhesive labels on the lateral surface of the vials, controlled by a stepping motor. The ergonomics of this machine were studied to make all adjustments, changes of label reels, of print tapes and size parts possible from the operator side, making the operators’ work extremely easy. This new Marchesini liquids line will allow the Immucor factory in Georgia to double production compared with other lines already installed. So it is an important investment, partly made thanks to the trust developed between the American company and the Italian Group.

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