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“Just pushing a button – and that’s it”!

The company Acitvoris Medizintechnik GmbH is expanding its in-house production processes and has invested in a new Ricoh digital printing system with a fully automatic online folding solution from MB Bäuerle.

The Activoris Medizintechnik GmbH (Gemünden/Wohra, Germany) is an innovative service provider for pharmaceutical contract manufacturing, medical technical development as well as strategic consulting for companies from the diagnostics and pharmaceutical industries.   The still young company was founded in 2014 by Dr. Stefan Degenhart and Axel Fischer as an exit of a medical technology company. At present it has a staff of 13 employees.

Its main focus is on the contract manufacture of medical products and their development and approval. Activoris is considered to be an expert in defining the necessary regulations to make sure that the CE-conformity of innovative medical products is fulfilled. Besides this core business, Activoris has a number of advisory mandates for various companies in the pharmaceutical sector. Its customers are both well-established companies as well as innovative start-ups in the life-science-field, which reach a high degree of flexibility, cost efficiency and a faster access to the market thanks to the outsourcing services of Activoris. 

Another core area of Activoris is the commissioning of package inserts. This means that information for patients, diagnostic reagent bottles and package inserts are brought together. In the past, the production of package inserts was outsourced. “However, we wanted to return this processing step in-house to be able to ensure maximum security during production combined with cost saving. At the same time it was important for us to reduce manual intervention to a minimum”, explains Dr. Thomas Julien, Director of Pharma and Diagnostic Operations with Activoris, the reason for the investment.

A digital printing system with a suitable folding system had to be acquired for a particular purpose. The customer for whom the medicines and package inserts had to be assembled already knew MB Bäuerle and recommended it to Activoris. The challenge was the efficient production of 300 to 400 print orders of package inserts per month with a paper weight of 70 to 80 GSM, while these printing jobs are product- and lot-specific and usually comprise four languages on two sheets.

In cooperation with SBV, the distributor of Ricoh digital printing systems in Bielefeld, they succeeded in realizing a comprehensive solution tailored to the needs of Activoris. The choice fell on the Ricoh production system Pro 8200 S that is renowned for its reliability and excellent printing quality. Moreover, energy is saved thanks to the low fusing temperature, and good processing capabilities are reached because the paper does not dry out. Evaporation is also reduced, which is especially important in smaller spaces.

For folding package inserts, the fully automatic folding system prestigeFOLD NET 52 is connected online to the digital printing system. As Activoris uses the system for the production of particular products, the direct online connection to the printing machine is the ideal solution for the company. The transfer of the sheets from the printing system to the fold unit is achieved by means of the special alignment table ART 52, which can handle sheets with a length of up to 132 cm. The folding machine is equipped with six fold plates in the first and four fold plates in the second fold unit. The end-to-end automation is of great importance to Activoris because of the large number of jobs with small print runs. It is common practice that the machine system must be changed over eight times a day. The high degree of automation of the prestigeFOLD NET 52 fully meets these requirements. The alignment rails at the alignment and roller tables as well as the fold rollers and fold plates with deflectors are set automatically. “The simple machine concept and the fast start of operation have convinced us from the start”, describes Managing Director Axel Fischer the initial experience with the complete solution. Dr. Thomas Julien adds: “We have learned by doing, which was no problem with this simple machine concept. We have succeeded in making as few manual interventions as possible during the production process - just pushing a button, and that's it.”

The usual standard folds are already accessible through the operator-friendly placed touchscreen display. Repetitive jobs can be saved in the job memory and can thus be called up rapidly at any time, a feature that is frequently used by Activoris. This is a great relief especially for the operators, who are often newcomers to the job. The ready-folded package inserts are positioned in the small format vertical stacker SKM 36, which prevents the small products from opening up.

Activoris is keeping a close eye on the future. Axel Fischer points to a neighbouring plot of land which the company has already bought with future expansions in mind.  

The online production features a high degree of automation and short set-up times.

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