Monobloc packaging for tablets, capsules, and blistering operations has become more popular in recent years. But before jumping on this band wagon, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to purchase a monobloc packaging system versus a conventional packaging line (single piece of equipment per process step).
Some things to consider about monobloc packaging systems are that they typically have a smaller footprint, provide a higher level of containment (both for product and people), and require less changeover time than conventional packaging lines. When using a monobloc system, the reduced vendor management (single vendor vs. multiple vendors) can save time and money (think about procurement, vendor audits, vendor support, travel for FAT, integration costs, etc.). Additionally, validation of a monobloc system can be easier since multiple process steps are contained within one unit, allowing multiple process steps to be contained within a single validation document as opposed to a validation document for each process step (piece of equipment) as is done in a conventional packaging line.
When purchasing monobloc packaging equipment, the OEM (vendor) plays a key role in both the short and long-term success of you and your company. You no longer have the option to pick different vendors and technology for each process step; therefore, ensuring the vendor can provide a reliable and robust technology that can meet all of your requirements is crucial before you decide whether to use monobloc technology or a conventional packaging line. Additionally, make sure you discuss long-term support, technical (phone and on-site) and spare parts, with the vendor before selecting a monobloc packaging system. Your long-term support for multiple process steps will come from this single vendor, so ensuring that the required support and spare parts will be available is critical to your long-term success. Most companies have provisions to perform certain process steps manually if a catastrophic failure of the associated equipment is experienced. When using a monobloc, a catastrophic failure can shut down your entire packaging line.
While there are too many advantages and disadvantages of using monobloc vs. convention packaging equipment to list here, the decision comes down to making sure you select the right vendor and technology to meet the requirements of your application.