Brecon sets record for blisterpack output

Following the installation of a new blister line incorporating a Noack 623 blister packer, Brecon has been able to respond rapidly to fulfil an urgent, high-volume order for coldform blisters.

The machine, supplied by Romaco UK Ltd, has joined a number of other Noacks, including both 760 and 623 models, at the Hay-on-Wye site. The company purchased its first Noack almost twenty years ago and has continued to install machines in line with growth.

Brecon purchased its first 623 two years ago, in response to the evolution in the outsourcing market, which was producing a greater demand for larger batches than had hitherto been the case. Operations Director Andrew Billington says that the Noack 623 combined the output and flexibility needed to meet the changing requirements of Brecon’s international customer base.

Since that first 623 installation, Brecon’s turnover has increased significantly and the investment in this latest line is indicative of the company’s greater profile in the buoyant outsourcing market and an essential element of its ambitious business plan.

The new line proved its value very quickly when an urgent order for a multi-million batch of product was received. The additional capacity afforded by the new line coupled with significant investment in personnel over recent months enabled Brecon to ramp up production very quickly, introducing additional shifts and, for the first time, achieving outputs in excess of 100,000 packs per day from a single line.

"Our 760 machines have served us well and continue to do so but the addition of the 623s allows us to offer a more complete service to our customers," says Mr Billington. "The machines take us into higher realms of speed and the increased web width (230 mm as opposed to 160 mm) gives a great deal of flexibility in pack layout. For this particular job, we were able to run four blisters per cycle – a significant factor in helping us to meet a very tight deadline."

The combination of Noack machines now on site at Brecon gives the company the capability to handle all sizes of blister run efficiently and cost-effectively. The 760 machines, operating at 25 cycles per minute, are ideal for short runs and manual or semi-automatic cartoning applications, while the 623s, installed as part of fully automatic lines and with cycle speeds of 50 per minute, are suited to packing higher volume runs. The company has also invested in Laetus Polyphem blister inspection systems on these latter lines, to ensure 100% inspection of tablets at high speed.

Engineering and Development Manager Malcolm Bowdich is responsible for the operation of the machines on a day-to-day basis. "The transition from 760 to 623 was easily accomplished," he says, "as there is a degree of commonality between the models. Staff find the machines user-friendly and set-up is proving quite straightforward for our operator-setters. The increased web width on the 623s is advantageous for larger blisters, such as those produced by cold-forming aluminum and with the addition of electronic feeders we are able to produce mixed fill blisters with ease."

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