Diabetes is on the rise worldwide with around ten million people developing the disease every year. Demand for insulin pens allowing patients to self-medicate is similarly high. Syntegon’s Danish subsidiary has developed an automated system to assemble the pens using the Festo automation platform.
"I have a dream," says Michael Andersen, sales manager at Syntegon Technology Sandved in Denmark. "I have a dream of flying format changes in our machines. That would be the culmination of our philosophy of flexibility and agility, which we put into practice in our company," adds the automation expert.
Festo's YJKP servo press kit performs three joining and pressing steps: from inserting the cartridge, needle and spring to inserting the glass and plastic covers.
Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, sees itself as a provider of integrated solutions: The assembly line for insulin pens can be expanded into a complete line with other coordinated systems from the company. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can obtain the process functions filling, capping, assembly, testing, labeling, and packaging preconfigured from a single source.
The machine control system is based on electrical and pneumatic components and modules from Festo's automation platform, thus ensuring consistency on the supply side: Festo's products are available worldwide and offer open interfaces to higher-level control systems. The connection to the process control level is provided by the CPX-E-CEC module from Festo. This makes it open for Profinet or, for other customers in Europe, EtherCat. Especially for North American customers, however, the system could also be supplied with the Ethernet/IP module.
Standardization on the component side has other benefits that prove to be a competitive advantage for Syntegon: a faster time-to-market. "This trend is becoming increasingly apparent in the pharmaceutical industry," explains Michael Andersen of Syntegon. "Currently, we are able to deliver systems after six to nine months. However, our goal is to reduce this period to three to six months. With our approach focused on flexibility and agility, we are getting closer to this goal every day."
Overall view of the new machine: Syntegon's automatic assembly lines produce up to 300 insulin pens per minute, depending on the model. The degree of automation can be scaled to meet the requirements, and can also be adjusted at a later date.
Syntegon Technology is a leading global supplier of process and packaging technology. Formerly the packaging division of the Bosch Group, the company, headquartered in Waiblingen, Germany, has been offering complete solutions for the pharmaceutical and food industries for more than 50 years. More than 6,100 employees at 30 sites in more than 15 countries generated total sales of 1.3 billion euros in 2019. The portfolio of intelligent and sustainable technologies includes individual machines as well as complete systems and services. Areas of application in the pharmaceutical industry are the production, processing, filling, inspection and packaging of liquid and solid drugs (e.g. syringes and capsules). In the food industry, the portfolio includes process technology for confectionery as well as packaging solutions for dry foods (e.g. bars, baked goods and coffee), frozen foods and dairy products.