Specimen sampling package earns top FPA honors

Cited as breakthrough packaging for medical, food, and other specimen sampling through its integrated protection, labeling, tracking, and storage system.

The Flexible Packaging Assn.’s 59th Flexible Packaging Annual Awards competition awarded its Highest Achievement Award—Institutional to packaging material supplier Coveris for Intervoid® Sterile.

FPA says Intervoid Sterile represents a major breakthrough in flexible packaging for medical, food, and other specimen sampling through its integrated protection, labeling, tracking, and storage system.

“This unique package enables the delivery of a single, lightweight flexible sampling solution with obvious cost, environmental, safety, and supply chain advantages. Eliminating the risk of cross contamination and enhancing traceability and function, Intervoid products are both food contact-approved and UN3373-marked for product assurance and security against cross contamination. The sterile bags combine unique track-and-trace identification, patented tamper-evident closure and tape, which says ‘stop’ if tampered with or not sealed correctly,” said FPA.

Intervoid Sterile was launched in 2014 and is currently being used for various commercial applications via a number of specialist distributors, says Sian Bates, Group Marketing Manager, UK Food & Consumer with Coveris. “We are unable to disclose the end user of this product but within their industries, the benefits of using Intervoid Sterile include increased security of sampling, traceability of samples throughout the entire logistics chain, audit trail, use of sampling bags within a sterile environment, and increased efficiency with reduced waste.”

FPA says the Intervoid Sterile bag “marks a world first,” noting that by “fusing together a host of highly technical conversion methods, the sterile bags combine unique track-and-trace identification, patented tamper-evident closure and tape, perforation, and leak-resistant properties to deliver a composite, easy-to-use sampling solution for enhanced safety, security, and environmental impact.”

Chicago-based Coveris makes flexible and rigid plastics as well as paper and paperboard packaging formats, and the firm has more than 70 facilities located in more than 20 countries worldwide.

The supplier says Intervoid Sterile is targeted at multiple sectors that require sterile and secure sampling. Primary applications include medical (blood, urine sampling, doping etc.) pharmaceutical testing, food (within the manufacturing process or at source), and biotech industries.

Coveris says it incorporates extrusion, print, and conversion processes in the manufacture of Intervoid Sterile, which can be customized for size, thickness, film, print design, tracking, and security features. That said, the standard product is a 70-mu extruded film, as per the samples supplied. Specialty features could include welded security tape incorporating the security features and leak-resistant welding.

Intervoid Sterile bags are available in up to eight colors, printed flexographically by Coveris. Subsequently, bags are then formed by what the company describes as “specialist converting processes” into gamma-sterilized premade bags individually packed for immediate use.

FPA points out the following benefits of the package:

•Through its leak-resistant direct contact function, the flexible packaging allows for the removal of additional packaging components such as labels and breakable rigid plastic or glass containers. This enables the delivery of a single, lightweight flexible sampling solution.

•The bag’s unique track-and-trace capability utilizes state-of-the-art inline print processes to dual-mark each bag with its own number and barcode identification to eliminate the need for secondary print, labelling, or human process error, an integrated capability and advantage of flexible process not available on any other format.

•According to Coveris, track and trace and security features are delivered via a Security STOP messaging in the tape coupled with random print in the tape weld, in which tampering results in an immediate signal that an attempt has been made to access the bag—removal of the tape with replacement by another tape is not possible due to the random print.

Also, security printing on the welds of the bag prevent the cutting and re-welding of the actual bag. Track-and-trace numbering is coupled with sequentially matched barcode in multiple formats. No two numbers are ever repeated on the product.

Additionally, tailored numbering solutions are used to suit all internal and external systems employed. All numbering and tracking systems are controlled in-house by Coveris.

See a video on how the Intervoid® Sterile system works.

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