Every year, tons of medicines costing billions of dollars are discarded and thrashed not because they have lost their quality, but because the packaging they have been stored and transported in has lost its properties and exposes them to a toxic environment.
Pharmaceutical Industry is one of the most sensitive and highly regulated industries when it comes to the production, supply, and distribution of high-quality products.
Here, even the slightest negative alteration to the quality of the product being sold by the company, when consumed can cause horrible ill effects within the consumer, causing even loss of life in the worst case. The government bodies inflict strict norms on how the pharmaceutical products should be packaged and delivered to end-user.
Hence, Aluminium Foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging is emerging as the most economical and suitable alternative to traditional bottle packaging, which is not easy to carry and each tablet or capsule is not individually protected.
Aluminium Foil is used for Pharmaceutical packaging as it offers high barrier properties against moisture, oxygen vapor, and hence it is extremely suitable for providing an inert environment for packaging hygroscopic pharmaceutical tablets and capsules.
Commonly used Aluminium Foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging is Aluminium Blister Foil with 20 microns or 25 microns aluminium foil thickness and are sealed with PVC film to form blister packaging.
As seen across multiple manufacturers in my past 20 years of experience, this is one of the limiting factors, causing a high volume of losses when the tablets and the medicine might be good but because of the materials used to package them, they either deplete in quality or perish altogether.
Sometimes, even though there is a chance of survival of the medicine the outdated norms and expiration deadlines cause wastage of tons of medicine costing hundreds of crores.
Most of the pharmaceutical industry faces issues related to the shelf life of the product due to improper usage of packaging materials and hence, I will try to make a difference here by educating you on how using the proper packaging material will allow you to reach your consumer for longer duration at the same time reducing the losses.
Standard types of Aluminium Foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging:
Here, I will be listing below some of the most widely used varieties of Aluminium Packaging Foils.
- Aluminium Blister Foil
- Aluminium Cold Forming Foil
- Aluminium Strip Packing Foil
Most types of Aluminium Blister Foil are suitable for sealing with Rigid PVC Film, PVDC coated PVC film, Cold forming foil (alu-alu base foil) etc. Some blister lidding foil with heat seal lacquer are suitable for sealing with any one of the above base materials or sealing compatibility with all types of base material, depending on the user’s specific requirements.
Mostly, Aluminium Foil Thickness are of 20 and 25 microns (+/-8) is used for Blister Packaging applications. This aluminium foil is hard-tempered, rolled in alloy AA1200/AA1235/AA8011. Aluminum blister foil is pack rolled and hence one side is dull (matt) and another side is bright (Shiney). One side of the foil is coated with Print Lacquer to make it suitable for surface printing (rotogravure/flexo) and another side is coated with heat seal lacquer to make it suitable for sealing with base materials like PVC film, PVDC coated PVC film and cold forming alu-alu base foil.
Commonly used Aluminium Foil HS Code is 7607.1900 and 7607.2000 and these foils are suitable for any mode of transportation i.e. road, sea, or by air.
Mostly the Aluminium foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging is customized by the manufacturer for various options of heat seal lacquer coating & print-primer depending on the user’s requirements related to the packaging i.e. Speed of their packaging machine, type of base film used for sealing, etc.
Standard structures of aluminium Blister foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging :
- Print Primer 1 gsm / 20 or 25 micron foil (0.02 / 0.025 mm) / 4-6 gsm or 6-8 gsm heat seal lacquer suitable for sealing with PVC film or Cold Forming Alu-alu base foil.
- Print Primer 1 gsm / 20 or 25 micron foil (0.02 / 0.025 mm) / 6-8 gsm heat seal lacquers suitable for sealing with PVC film, PVDC coated PVC film and Cold Forming Alu-alu base foil.
- Printed lidding foil is also used by manufacturers.It can be printed inup to 5 colour plus it can be coated with print protective varnish overcoat.
- Some manufacturers also offer both side printed blister foil, which can be used by manufacturers for better presentation of their medicines
- Aluminum foil printing is mostly done by suppliers in three to four colors as per manufacture’s design.
- Unprinted aluminium blister lidding foil is also used with special type of Print-primers suitable for online printing (like Hapa machines etc).
- All raw materials comply with requirement of CFR 21, 175.300 with direct contact to foodstuffs (indirect food additive) and thus to the basic requirements of FDA.
Types of method’s used for Aluminium Foil Printing:
For producing printed blister foil, the printing methods used are flexo or rotogravure printing, depending on the customer’s requirement of quality of printing, the quantity of printing, and lead time.
Flexo is the printing method used when lot size is small and turnaround time is short, as the pre-printing work does not involve long time as compared to rotogravure printing, and also cost of flexo printed cylinders is also less.
The rotogravure printing method is used for bigger quantities with high-quality printing requirements. However, the costs of printing cylinders for rotogravure printing are a bit costly as compared to flexo printing methods.
Aluminium Blister Foil Manufactures in India.
There are many good and reliable aluminum blister foil manufacturers in India. But, the selection of the right supplier of aluminium foil for pharmaceutical packaging is very important as aluminium foil is the primary packaging material that comes directly in contact with the tablets/capsules. Any compromise in the use of raw materials by foil suppliers may directly affect the quality of tablets/capsules. The shelf life of the tablets and capsules entirely depends on the quality of aluminium blister foil used for pharmaceutical packaging. High quality aluminium foil is a must and hence it should not be ignored for the minor price differences.
How aluminum foil is made
Aluminium Foil is manufactured using rolling method from foil ingots using rolling mills. Aluminium Foil rolling process basically start from rolling of aluminum foil stock of 200-300 micron thickness. Two type of rolling mills are used in the process of downgauging the foil from 200-micron thickness. These mills are known as roughing and finishing millis. In case of soft foil requirements, the aluminium foil is annealed in annealing finance to make its temper soft from hard. Aluminium foil thickness of 20 or 25 microns in hard temper is mostly used for blister packaging applications.
Aluminium foil properties mainly depend on the alloy of basic billet used for rolling of the aluminium foil and type of rolling method used. Quality of input material in the right alloy is very important.
As the material is supplied to very regulated Pharmaceutical Industry, all the aluminium foil for pharmaceutical packaging is manufactured in controlled environment using all the raw material suitable for direct contact with the tablets.
Considering the above points, it is very important to:
a) Select the right supplier of Pharmaceutical Packaging Foils.
b) Use the right thickness of aluminium blister foil.
c) Choose the suitable type aluminium foil printing method depending on the quality and quantity of material is required.
If you need any more information or guidance in the selection of the right type of aluminium foil for Pharmaceutical Packaging, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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