What to prioritise when evaluating and comparing machines in the pharmaceutical packaging industry

Published: 17-Jun-2024

In the fast-evolving pharmaceutical packaging sector, selecting the right machinery is critical to maintain efficiency, compliance and profitability, reports Rebecca Marquez, Manager of Business Intelligence at PMMI

As packaging specialists, it’s essential to clearly understand the key factors to consider when evaluating and comparing machines.

Drawing insights from the latest findings outlined in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: The Future Ahead infographic from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, this guide highlights the top priorities for pharmaceutical industry professionals.1

Reliability and repeatability: At the core of pharmaceutical packaging is the need for reliability and repeatability, which 83% of industry professionals prioritise.

Machines that consistently perform to specifications ensure that products meet stringent quality standards, which are crucial for patient safety and regulatory compliance.

When evaluating machinery, verify the manufacturer’s claims through testing, client testimonials and performance data. Look for systems that are known for minimal downtime and high accuracy in repetitive tasks.

What to prioritise when evaluating and comparing machines in the pharmaceutical packaging industry

Cost considerations: Finance is a significant factor in machinery acquisition, as noted by 61% of professionals. However, the initial purchase price is just one aspect. Evaluate the total ownership cost, including maintenance, parts, energy consumption and potential downtime expenses.

Machinery that may carry a higher upfront expenditure but offers greater efficiency and lower long-term operational costs can be the more viable option.

Ease of operation and user-friendliness: User-friendly machinery can drastically reduce training times and minimise operator errors. More than half (56%) of respondents emphasised the importance of ease of use.

Machines with intuitive interfaces, clear instructions and automated systems ensure that staff can operate the units efficiently and safely. This is particularly crucial in environments where high turnover or varying skill levels are factors.

Integration capabilities: A substantial number (51%) of professionals prioritise ease of integration, which determines how well new machinery will fit on existing lines.

Seamless integration can prevent potential bottlenecks and optimise workflows. When comparing options, assess the compatibility of new equipment with current systems regarding software, communication protocols and physical connectivity.

Automation level: Automation is essential to reduce labour costs and improve operational precision. Slightly less than half (49%) of professionals look at the level of automation when evaluating machinery.

Consider the extent to which automated features can replace manual tasks, thereby reducing labour needs and the potential for human error while also enhancing production speed and consistency.

Machinery footprint: The physical footprint, noted by 42% of professionals, is especially important in facilities where space is at a premium. Efficient use of space can lead to better workflows and reduced operating costs.

Evaluate whether the machinery’s size and configuration will optimise the production floor’s layout without compromising functionality.

Post-installation services: Support doesn’t end after installation. Post-installation services, including maintenance and technical support, are crucial for the ongoing reliability of machinery.

More than one third (34%) of industry professionals consider this when selecting equipment. Look for vendors who provide comprehensive training, prompt customer service and readily available parts and maintenance services.

Addressing key barriers: Finally, consider how well the machinery addresses common barriers in the industry, such as compliance with government regulations, integration challenges and the ability to adapt to changing packaging formats. Understanding how machinery helps to overcome these barriers can be a decisive factor in the selection process.

Choosing the right machinery for pharmaceutical packaging requires a balanced approach that considers technical and operational priorities.

By focusing on reliability, cost efficiency, ease of use, integration, automation, footprint and post-installation services, packaging professionals can select equipment that meets today’s needs and adapts to future challenges. 


  1. https://pmmi.docsend.com/view/n4q3g9puy69husua.

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