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Fully Integrated High-Speed Blister Transfer System

Pharmaworks and Serpa showcased the updated BTS, designed for transferring blister packs from blister machine to cartoner in pharmaceuticals, biotech, nutraceuticals, medical devices, and more.

Pharmaworks Serpa 1

At PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Pharmaworks and Serpa debuted the updated, fully integrated BTS blister transport system designed for high-speed transfer of blister packs from blister machine to cartoner.

Suitable for a wide variety of blister format sizes and materials, the BTS can transport blisters of tablets, capsules, softgels, vials, syringes, liquids, and medical devices as well as consumer goods like cosmetics and batteries. 

Handling a wide range of blister format sizes and collating up to ten blisters per bucket, the fully servo-driven BTS achieves high speeds up to 500 blisters/min. Serpa’s Aaron Metzler explained that the updated system is now stronger and lighter, and also more adaptable to changing market scenarios.

As blister packs exit the Pharmaworks blister machine, the overhead vacuum transfer moves single blisters into a magazine for buffering to accommodate fluctuations in speed between the blister machine and cartoner. From there, the BTS will count out the proper number of blisters per cycle, depending on programming, to the cartoner infeed bucket.

Magazines have been redesigned to facilitate toolless changeovers, and aid operators when they encounter jams or when priming becomes necessary.

“We keep the gearbox and the counting wheels built into the change part—that way there's no timing that has to be done. We have a quick release removal on a flexible shaft, so it's very easy and simple for the operators and mechanics to changeover,” Metzler explained. “We’ve also given the ability to auto-phase the oscillating magazine to go from high speeds and low blister counts then go to slow speeds and high blister counts, and vice versa. Say you're running a one-count… you can go all the way up to a 10-count blister and it's just a quick recipe selection on the HMI.”

“The controls are integrated in with the cartoner, so there's no risk of communication lags or timing issues—they're tied together with servo drives off of a single control platform so it’s really efficient,” noted Metzler. Vice president and general manager of Pharmaworks Ben Brower added, “With electronics, servos, and more controlled directly by the cartoner, this transport system hugely simplifies line installation, operation and maintenance for the customer.”

The system is designed to be compatible with virtually every Pharmaworks blister machine and every Serpa cartoner, and is available with intermittent-motion operation (BTSi) or with an oscillating wheel for continuous-motion operation (BTSc), depending on the application.

The system holds potential for pharmaceutical, biotech, nutraceutical, animal health, medical device, and consumer applications that package in blisters. 

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