IMA: the all-in-one solutions provider for complete vaccines lines

Posted: 31 August 2023 | | No comments yet

IMA Pharma showcases its extensive, all-in-one vaccine production solutions, including the design and development of complete aseptic lines and secondary packaging, all facilitated by the latest advanced technologies.

IMA: the all-in-one solutions provider for complete vaccines lines - aseptic filling lines, secondary packaging,

CP18-MINIFLEX Integrated case packer-palletizer (credit: IMA Pharma)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have now acquired a much clearer understanding of how fast a virus spreads. Even with extremely rapid vaccine development, limitations in production capabilities can have real-life implications. This has led pharmaceutical equipment manufacturers to react quickly, while maintaining due levels of diligence and social responsibility.

To cope with the growing demand for production flexibility and agility, IMA Group is structured according to highly specialised pharmaceutical divisions that concentrate on specific processing and packaging areas. This approach benefits each of our customers by supporting them in two key areas: firstly, equipment design and advanced technologies that cater for new products through enhanced versatility; secondly, our in-depth knowledge of manufacturing processes and equipment applications. Each of these places us in a position to work alongside the customer to optimise the manufacturing process and develop new solutions.

A flexible attitude, together with careful and knowledgeable customisation, enables us to design innovative, automated lines that will process injectable products (eg, vaccines, oncology drugs) at high speeds and in total safety. The wide range of solutions, also covering primary and secondary packaging requirements developed over decades by IMA, allows us to provide all-round support to the industry and being a reliable all-in-one supplier.

Primary packaging for vaccines

As one of the pharmaceutical divisions of the Group, IMA Life leads the global market, taking care of the design and development of complete aseptic lines for parenteral products with or without freeze-drying requirements. This therefore includes the initial bottle-washing stage, depyrogenation, filling, capping and decontamination, up to and including secondary packaging. Isolation technologies and other containment solutions are also part of our expertise.

Containment Solution detail

Detail of Containment Solution (credit: IMA Pharma)

Considering the pharmaceutical industry is required to comply with strict GMP standards, all our high-tech aseptic filling lines are developed in line with these guidelines. Since vaccines are manufactured and distributed as both liquid and lyophilised powders, the comprehensive range of IMA Life equipment is able to process both types.

Another aspect that differentiates IMA Life from many other market players is the co-design and co-development approach, whereby the close relationship with our pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers enables us to offer tailored solutions. Advanced robotic technologies and fully integrated isolation systems contribute to achieving high-speed performance reaching 400 to 600 units per minute.

Filling isolated line

Filling Detail (credit: IMA Pharma)

Modular, flexible and ensuring excellent production efficiency and product quality, the result is a safe yet fast solution for vaccine production.

Integrated, Isolated Line

Example of Integrated, Isolated Line (credit: IMA Pharma)

The IMA Life product portfolio is the combined work of six specialised sites, each developing a specific process technology. Based in Italy, China and the US, these centres of excellence contribute to our technologically advanced range of solutions, developed over the last six or seven decades. In addition to this, our long-standing collaboration with leading pharmaceutical companies has given us the know-how required to accomplish even large-scale projects.

Considering that the pharmaceutical industry is not accustomed to disclosing the final product to be processed, starting from 2000 through to 2021, to the best of our knowledge, we have delivered more than thirty complete integrated lines for the production of vaccines.

Vial Transfer

Vial Transfer Detail (credit: IMA Pharma)

Secondary packaging for vaccines

IMA Safe is the IMA Group division specialised in secondary packaging with deep draw thermoformers, paper tray packaging machines, both horizontal and vertical cartoners as well as complete end-of-line solutions made by BFB.

The series of deep draw machines guarantees high-quality production standards for the packaging of parenteral products in thermoformable trays; careful handling of the products, together with maximum flexibility in both product feeding and machine configuration are among the pluses.

IMA Safe has developed a highly flexible line for packing a wide range of parenteral products and medical devices on paper trays inside cartons, creating 100 percent paper-based packaging, reducing environmental impact while ensuring a high level of product protection.

Developed entirely in-house, the line is based on well-established know-how and guarantees brilliant performance.

IMA Safe Cartoners are designed to run efficiently, reliably and with fast changeover, ensuring easy synchronisation with both upstream and downstream machines, thus establishing the link between primary and secondary packaging.

Both horizontal and vertical cartoners and feeding units are extremely flexible, enabling many types of products and packs to be processed. They can handle a wide range of very delicate and fragile products such as ampoules, vials, syringes and many others thanks to the use of robotic systems applied in the most critical areas like product feeding and connection from the upstream machine to the cartoner.

IMA Safe can supply the most advanced solutions for handling vaccines, not only from single to multiple vial feeders inside a tray, but also multi-product trays. Constant research and innovation has made it possible to develop optional devices and other ancillary equipment applications such pre-filled syringes, swabs, needles or cannula feeders, to name a few, and to supply customised packaging solutions.

Vials feeding detail

Many IMA Safe feeding and robotic solutions are patented and provide feeding efficiency that cannot be achieved by others in the market. (credit: IMA Pharma)

A pack not only has a functional purpose of protecting, conserving and transporting the product. It also has an informative purpose and very frequently, packaging contains data unseen by the end consumer. These data are essential to protect against counterfeiting and to facilitate the tracking of the product at arrival and distribution points.

Flexibility, customised solutions and engineering capabilities, together with a highly professional service network, are the ingredients which help our customers gain a competitive advantage.

All our machines feature a robust balcony structure and are designed with the operator in mind. Simple to use and easily accessible, they guarantee maximum protection for both operator and product, at every stage of production.

The overwrapping machines feature specific film unwinding, cutting and sealing systems to ensure that the film is always cut with a geometrically precise fold, and sealed without wrinkles, air bubbles or other defects. Our range of wrapping machines can process any type of pack with OPP film, paper, recyclable or compostable films.

For cartons, bottles, aerosols or tubes wrapped in heat-shrink film, we offer a range of stretch and shrink wrapping machines that cover different speeds, with dedicated solutions ensuring high efficiency even with unstable products (or even supplied with a containing tray or in pucks).

These machines can always be combined with a heat-shrink tunnel with lower power consumption, are easily accessible and tend to avoid damage to the product.

MS260 Stretch banding machine

MS260 Stretch banding machine (credit: IMA Pharma)

For any type of case packing, you can find it with us. From wrap-around to side or top-loading, all our models are conceived with reduced footprints, however assuring ergonomics and easy access for any type of cleaning or maintenance operations. All our solutions are devised to ensure total control throughout all stages of the serialisation process and safe storage.

Our offer includes integrated case-packing and palletising solutions in a compact structure and with extremely simple pallet management thanks to the latest improvements in robotic technology.

CP18-MINIFLEX Integrated case packer-palletizer

CP18-MINIFLEX Integrated case packer-palletizer (credit: IMA Pharma)

Available in several versions ranging from basic applications, such as manual pallet loading up to more sophisticated solutions, such as automatic feeding of empty pallets and unloading of full pallets, IMA BFB palletizers have a solid structure and use precise, rapid, multi-axis robotised systems for accurate positioning of products on pallets.

Robotised de-palletisation systems are also available for different products, such as jars, vials and bottles and pouches positioned in heat formed trays that are to be inserted into or withdrawn from the line for storage.

TLS product unloading system integrated with RD Depalletizer

TLS product unloading system integrated with RD Depalletizer (credit: IMA Pharma)

Most recently, we have developed innovative product handling solutions to load or unload blow fill seal containers, inhalers, pens, auto-injectors and other highly sensitive pharmaceutical components at the beginning or at the end of the line. As far as complete packaging lines are concerned, we have similarly introduced the loading system converted into a buffer for product accumulation during line stops.

Our solutions respond to high demands in terms of productivity and performance when customers require the whole production process to be operated automatically and in a highly dynamic way.

Finding the right combination of high production speed and devising optimal turnkey solutions for different applications is our challenge.

All-In-One is a pledge, a promise of efficiency: one investment, one contract, one relationship based on trust that ensures the customer benefits from the real value IMA offers as a long-term partner to the world’s pharmaceutical industry.

IMA Pharma

Boasting over 60 years’ knowledge and experience in this industry, IMA Pharma has gone from being a machine supplier to a unique solution provider, offering a huge portfolio of products, technologies and services that cover the most diverse requirements and needs in the market.

IMA a group of specialist divisions: IMA Active (Solid Dose Solutions), IMA Life (Aseptic Processing & Freeze-Drying Solutions), IMA Safe (Packaging Solutions), IMA BFB (End of Line Solutions) and IMA Automation (Flawless Assembly) to assist in the planning, development and implementation of production facilities.