How Packaging Contributes to Patient Safety
4/14/2023 Industry Look into Europe Article

How Packaging Contributes to Patient Safety

Medical device packaging is essential for the safety, sterility, and traceability of medical devices and instruments. Proper packaging can help extend the shelf life of medical products and prevent contamination or damage during shipping or storage. At the medical technology trade fair MedtecLIVE with T4M from May 23-25 in Nuremberg, manufacturers will show innovative solutions.

The dual-loop catheter DISK from Oliver Healthcare Packaging, winner in the category Award-winning: The Dual-Hoop-Katheter DISK by Oliver Healthcare Packaging.

The global medical device market is expected to grow from the current level of about 495 to about $718.92 billion by 2030, driven by a variety of factors such as the increasing need for surgical procedures, the rise in chronic diseases, and the use of robotics and artificial intelligence in healthcare. Packaging for medical devices and instruments plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of these products. As medical technology becomes more complex and regulations for product sterility and safety become stricter, the demand for innovative and high-quality packaging solutions in medical technology will also continue to grow.

Increasingly, the focus is being placed on environmental friendliness, personalization, technology, and automation in packaging for medical technology.

A particular challenge lies in the fact that the quantities per production batch are becoming smaller and smaller. One important example is blister packaging, which is designed to package the product securely and also present it beautifully. Swiss supplier Medipack specializes in producing blisters from low volumes to large batches. Class 7 or 8 cleanrooms according to ISO 14644-1 and thermoforming machines are available for this production. The company has developed a patented process for this in the form of the Medipack SSB Sealed Skin Blister, which is also intended to enable rapid packaging development. Früh Verpackungstechnik AG also from Switzerland specializes in packaging for medical products as well. It uses ISO Class 7 cleanroom equipment for this purpose. The company uses thermoforming to produce shapes that precisely fit the products and provide a rigid barrier.

Smart packaging

Another trend in medical technology packaging is smart packaging. This refers to packaging that has sensors and electronic labels to provide real-time information about the condition of the product and its environment during transportation and storage. This information can then be shared with healthcare professionals to ensure the quality, safety, and effectiveness of medical devices and instruments. In addition, smart packaging solutions can help improve the traceability of medical devices and instruments. By collecting information about the origin, provenance, and intended use of products, smart packaging solutions can help improve the supply chain and product liability.

Sustainable materials

Meanwhile, manufacturers are increasingly turning to environmentally friendly materials, such as biodegradable plastics or recyclable materials, to reduce their impact on the environment. One example is biodegradable plastics, which are made from renewable resources and, unlike traditional plastics, can decompose over time. These environmentally friendly plastics offer similar protective properties to conventional plastics and can be produced in a variety of colors and shapes. Using paper or cardboard can also be sustainable, as these materials can be easily recycled.

Optimized packaging sizes

In addition, packaging size is also optimized to reduce material consumption. Higher packing density also leads to more efficient logistics, which saves CO2 in the supply chain. This is where Oliver Healthcare Packaging's DISK dual-hoop catheter, winner in the “Packaging Design of the Year” category at the Healthcare Asia Medtech Awards 2021, comes in, for example. Catheter wires and procedural components are housed in one convenient system, eliminating the need to make additional bags, rack cartons, and corrugated shipping boxes for each component.

The medical technology trade fair MedtecLIVE with T4M will be held in Nuremberg from May 23-25, where interested parties can find out about the latest innovations and developments in the field of packaging for medical technology. The partner country Ireland, the world's largest exporter of contact lenses and stents, will be highlighted this year. However, the show offers not only information about packaging, but also the opportunity to discover the latest technologies and products from leading companies in the industry. An example of this is also Nelipak, a packaging specialist, which will be presenting sealing machines for Class 7 cleanrooms at the show, as well as showcasing innovative, environmentally friendly packaging solutions through in-house design and prototyping. Manufacturer MULTIVAC will also be at the show, presenting a fully integrated packaging line for combination packs that clearly demonstrates the automatic loading process of sensitive products and the entire packaging process.

Anyone wishing to experience MedtecLIVE with T4M on site can secure a free exhibition and congress ticket with the exclusive voucher code.