Trek Diagnostic Systems – a global provider of microbiology solutions
Trek Diagnostic Systems supplies its Sensititre trays to medical and veterinary laboratories, where they are used for patient samples to determine the most effective antibiotic to counter an infection.
Initially, Trek were spending a considerable amount of hand work in loading and unloading the trays between the dryer, labelling, addition of desiccant and flow wrapping. The time this was taking was inefficient and called for a more automated solution.
Having met with Production Manager, Darren Frost, to grasp a better understanding of the process and their requirements, Aaron Bessell, Sales Director at Paramount Packaging Systems, recommended the Fuji FW3400 BSB machine, which boasts a line speed of 40 packs per minute.
The first stage of the operation is print-apply labelling, to identify each tray via a barcode printed on its side; which includes a lot number, expiry date and product code. Label presence and code is verified automatically by a scanner linked to a reject system; which, for fail-safe security, rejects every tray unless a positive accept signal is received.
Next, a desiccant sachet is cut from a reel and automatically placed on the tray, with its presence checked by a photo-cell. Wrapping then takes place on the FW3400 BSB machine, which is a bottom reel flow wrapper, with the film unwinding onto the bed of the machine, allowing the trays to be handled upside down with the longitudinal seal at the base. The sealing jaws move in a box motion, following the film, to provide the extra dwell time necessary for secure, hermetic seals on the high barrier aluminium foil/polyethylene laminate.
The entire line, 10 metres long, is covered by perspex guarding under which microbiologically-filtered air is introduced to provide gentle air movement and prevent the entry of dust.
“Following installation, we have reduced the labour cost for packing trays of antibiotics used in laboratory diagnostic tests, eliminated repetitive manual work and improved cleanliness. The new line brings together a number of once-separate packing operations and, with the tray now handled upside down under filtered air, has also eliminated the need for aluminium foil lids to guard against entry of dust prior to wrapping” says Darren.
Darren adds: “Now the line is automated, with minimal handling of the product, the risk of contamination is reduced.”