In health care, it is particularly important that the supply of medicines is guaranteed at all times. Therefore, pharmaceutical manufacturers' production lines must not fail. When a French pharmaceutical manufacturer had a problem with the reliability of a conveyor chain in its packaging machine, it turned to Tsubaki. The manufacturer of drive-related products was able to eliminate downtime days with a Lambda chain.
Many medicines such as tablets, capsules or granules are packaged in so-called blister packs. These are packages that allow a view of the medicine inside. Each dose is surrounded by a plastic bubble on a carrier. This effectively protects the medicines from harmful influences such as contamination, moisture and light.
Problems in the packaging machine
The packaging process is carried out by special machines. Inside them, conveyor chains with attachments are used to form the carton and insert the blister into the packaging. Since a lot of cans have to be packed, these chains have to withstand long use. So they have to function reliably so that downtime does not affect drug production.
A French pharmaceutical manufacturer had problems with the reliability of the conveyor chain in its blister packaging and cartoning machine, which came from a leading packaging machine OEM. The external lubrication of the chain was contaminating the blister packaging. This reduced the quality of the batches and resulted in time-consuming repackaging and even the loss of batches. In addition, the original lubricated chain required three technicians to disassemble parts of the machine each year to clean the chains and guides. This process resulted in machine downtime of up to three days each time, which further reduced production output.
Lubricant-free chain as a problem solver
Tsubaki engineers recommended the low-maintenance, long-link roller chain RS2008B of the Lambda series together with special flights. The Lambda chain has oil-impregnated sintered bushes that ensure that the roller chain receives the necessary joint lubrication even without the need for external relubrication. Therefore, these Lambda chains are particularly suitable for applications where the risk of product contamination by lubricants must be avoided at all costs. In addition to the pharmaceutical industry, this also applies to applications in the food and beverage industry, for example.
Due to its high wear resistance, the Lambda chain also minimises the maintenance effort. In a patented punching process, material residual stresses are generated around the eye of the locking plate. This increases the fatigue strength of the closure link to the level of the base chain.
Three days of additional packaging capacity
The new Lambda chains were finally installed on the blister packaging and cartoning machine. The technicians at the pharmaceutical manufacturer were pleased with the results after the conversion: the chain and guides no longer had to be dismantled for cleaning. This allowed an extension of production schedules by three days of additional packaging capacity.
Delays and losses due to contaminated packaging were a thing of the past, increasing efficiency and performance. This, combined with low maintenance and high reliability, significantly increased productivity. As a result, the supply of medicines can continue uninterrupted.