Packaging automation solutions


The life sciences industry has unique and specific requirements for packaging products such as medicine. We are all familiar with different types of tamper and child proofing, from foil seals to special caps and linings. These features help preserve and sterilize pharmaceuticals and biotech products, providing consistent and uncompromised quality. The packaging process can be labor-intensive, however, with several manual steps that can add cost and increase risk of error.

Automation of life sciences product packaging lines can help reduce cost and add traceability, while ensuring quality and keeping employees safe.



An automated packaging line removes the need for human effort across many aspects of the packaging process. Through a variety of mechanical and robotic steps, companies can automate key steps of the product manufacturing cycle:

  • filling,
  • sealing,
  • capping,
  • shrink-wrapping,
  • final packaging of products

Manufacturers can automate portions of their production lines, or the entire line, depending on needs. Packaging can be automated for a wide range of products, from labor intensive movements all the way to those applications that require extremely fine detail.



These benefits and others translate well to the life sciences industry, where regulations and consumer safety requires strict tolerances. Because of unique processes, many companies already have a packaging system. However, these systems are often manual, requiring employees to perform tasks that can be tedious. Employees handling repetitive tasks can become bored and less likely to adhere to strict procedures, but errors in life sciences industry packaging can have an impact on public safety.

Automation in life sciences packaging adds efficiencies and controls, which can lead to greater quality, accuracy, and employee safety.

Life sciences industry: video of catheters assembly system.

Product traceability

While packaging automation provides for an efficient process that is less labor-intensive, for many businesses, its greatest value comes from enhanced traceability. Life sciences and other industries were embracing the traceability of packaging automation before the crisis. With automation, manufacturers can view products from start to finish, which helps ensure that they are in compliance with regulations and are able to more effectively handle product recalls.

Life sciences products, such as a vaccine or testing equipment, are often subject to regulation, and the traceability possible through automation helps manufacturers maintain compliance. From proof of product packaging sterilization to required tamper-proof sealing, automation not only allows manufacturers to incorporate steps into their lines, it also can provide accountability.

Data drives traceability. And the information that is essential for automation, such as a recipe or product weight, can also be used by organizations to further increase efficiencies.


Product quality

An automated system delivers a consistent end product. Weights and quantities are standardized for products and packaging media, so users can control costs down to the greatest level of detail.

For example, a manufacturer can set the system to automate the application of an ideal volume of adhesive to a container seal. Using the precise amount saves money, but it also ensures quality and consistency.


Employee safety

Automation also can help keep employees safe. In the life sciences industry, production and packaging of a product may require the use of UV lights or high temperatures for sealing or capping. Exposure to excessive UV lights poses a risk of skin cancer, and high heat equipment for sealing can be a burn hazard. By automating these steps, manufacturers can help minimize injuries and illness.

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened businesses of all industries, shutting down manual production lines because of the difficulty in maintaining safe social distancing protocols in a manufacturing or packaging environment. Automated lines reduce the need for human intervention on packaging lines, making the process of resuming production easier and ensuring employee safety today and into the future.


Business continuity during crisis

Automation also helps businesses minimize the risk of a public health-related shutdown, either from a resurgence of COVID-19 or a different illness. Pharmaceutical companies that rely on manual packaging processes lost productivity during the height of the pandemic, because employees had to stay home. Automation could therefore have helped these companies, had they incorporated automation in their production components to allow for continued operation.



Automation is a complex process, with most manufacturers using unique and varied individual methods to produce and package life sciences products. Successful deployment of automation requires an analysis of existing lines to see what can be improved. Orientech’s integration team is made of experts in the packaging automation field, with experience working with manufacturers across many industries.

Orientech helps life sciences manufacturers ensure safety and quality in their products. From packaging sterilization, with full traceability and accountability, to full visibility of the production line, manufacturers can automate steps and tap into valuable data. To learn more about how Orientech integrates safe, efficient, turnkey solutions for the life sciences industry, contact us.


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Feeding equipment with lining machine


Plastic container closure technology is ever-evolving. As a product manufacturer, you are always looking for lighter packaging materials, such as caps and cap liners, and new cap lining technologies to help extend product life and ensure safety.

When incorporating these changes, it’s important to avoid disruption to your production lines. Caps, closures, and cap lining are integral to design, function and product preservation. From a freshness seal to elaborate dispenser tops, automation can increase efficiencies in the cap lining process. The right machinery, with the right sets of controls and tools, can help you meet today’s requirements for quick, efficient, and adaptive cap-lining.

Finding the best-performing cap lining machine that will be reliable, address the variety of needs to fulfill production, and reduce product non-conformity may be a time-consuming challenge.

1. Material lining saving

Many companies manufacture similar lining machines with the same technologies and limit the cut output to two cuts per cycle. With just two cuts for a format over 89mm, it becomes difficult to save lining material. At Orientech, we decided several months ago to innovate with our custom lining machines by increasing to three or four cuts per cycle.

With this increased capacity of the lining machine, yield usage of the wad of the lining material is optimized each time. Therefore there is a recurring economy at every cycle, which has a significant impact on their equipment return on investment. It’s another way we deliver more value for manufacturers.

2. Lining materials handling and usage

Product needs can range from a liner that seals a bottled or a jarred product to liners that stay in a cap for a particular function and/or protection. An automatic cap lining machine can handle the process of fitting or wadding caps with these various liner materials at high production rates. Depending on cap size, speed can reach an output faster than 1,200 caps per minute.

3. Intuitive and flexible vision system

For lined caps, a vision inspection system is crucial. With full visibility of caps and liners during production, manufacturers can foresee any production issues and also minimize downtime. This is especially helpful when frequent changeovers are involved for cap colors, sizes, lining materials type and finish such as foam, shiny or matte finish aluminum.

4. Ability to handle various sizes and number of simultaneous cuts

Products come in many varieties and a growing number of different sizes. Before investing in an automated cap lining system, ensure that the machine can handle the range of your products or your customers requirements. You should insist on a system with a capacity ranging from 20mm to 165mm caps to sufficiently cover the most popular sizes, although larger automated cap lining tools are also available.

5. Compact size, yet robust performance

Cap manufacturers are increasingly looking for cap lining machines that can be easily positioned between other stages of automation.

A cap lining machine should be compact so that it can mesh well with current systems and placement, but it also should perform as well as or better than a larger machine.

Innovations, including station revision and miniaturization, allows for a smaller footprint and greater production agility while adding to the overall rigidity of the system.

The right cap manufacturing machine will accommodate a wide range of cap sizes, with the ability to switch between one size and another with a simple tool.

The right cap manufacturing machine will accommodate a wide range of cap sizes, with the ability to switch between one size and another with minimum changeover time and tools. We encourage you to contact a partner that uses the latest technologies, built from years of experience in delivering cap production solutions for many industries. Make sure that the machines are small, yet robust and full-featured. They will fit well in your production line and deliver results, even in the type of challenges oversized caps and other parts can present.

Should you need information on how Orientech can handle your cap and closure production needs or any other cap challenge, contact us today.

Contact our automation specialists
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Automation engineer next production line


North American manufacturing plants are gearing up for a return to work following weeks of downtime. And while the momentum to get back to a normal production schedule is tempting for many businesses, this process should involve more than simply flipping a switch. While a shutdown period can be devastating to a manufacturer, it also presents an opportunity to optimize equipment, and reduce the possibility of an equipment-based shutdown in the near future. Once the dust of the pandemic begins to settle, and maximum levels of productivity can be attained, machinery failure can rob a business of hopes of recovery.

To smoothly transition from shutdown to full production, we recommend a methodical approach that ensures uninterrupted operations in the foreseeable future. Doing so requires attention to maintenance and exercising caution when going back online.



As we detailed in our article on equipment shutdown procedures, we highly recommend focusing first on the maintenance of your machinery. A shutdown period is an ideal time for repairing issues or attending to any preventive maintenance according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Maintenance is especially essential for companies that had to shut down operations abruptly, and might not have had an opportunity to store or protect equipment properly because of the government suspension. When returning to your plant for a restart, first take the time to check for changes, updates, upgrades, and missing parts. Doing so now can help ensure maximum productivity during a ramp-up to a normal schedule.

In general, we advise you not to skip a step — to work sequentially so as not to delay a restart of optimal and rapid production rate.


Greasing and lubrication

For companies in particular that have a production schedule that usually stops at night or weekends, and for older generation machines, we highly advise following the daily routine outlined in your assembly line manuals, such as ensuring that lubrication points are adequately greased.

If you can not find the documentation or for any other reason, do not hesitate to contact your manufacturer, who can provide guidance. Bearing failure caused by inadequate lubrication can lead to costly repairs, additional downtime, and, in a worst-case scenario, a large mass force release that can damage property and lives.

If your company was able to follow optimal shutdown protocols including proper storage and maintenance, start-up should be essentially worry-free.

For example, when we ship a new machine, it is often in transit between our factory and the customer, and our equipment spends several weeks or months before the customer is ready to put it in its final place and then in production. The equipment doesn’t suffer from this transit period as we made sure before to follow all steps before putting it in “storage mode”. Well-prepared, equipment can remain dormant for a period of time without affecting its optimal operation.

But, even when equipment has been properly prepared for dormancy, it is essential to follow a startup routine. When you start a machine, you have to make sure that all the connections have been made. If you are at all uncertain about properly reconnecting the equipment, contact the equipment manufacturer as startup procedure assistance is often part of warranty protection.



For this restart phase, our first recommendation is to assign a technician from the maintenance team to supervise the process. If possible, we advise you to start slowly, be attentive to the machine, and work with technicians or operators who previously operated the production line and who also have experience with maintenance. The team that routinely runs the equipment can more quickly detect anomalies in operation, while problems can go unnoticed with a new group.


Steps to follow to restart your equipment

1. Cleaning

Clean the equipment when it has been stored for a long time, including the outside, the machine, the panels, and internal mechanisms (feeding equipmentstacking and packing sections, etc.) . Pay particular attention to the sensors, especially optical sensors, which are the most sensitive such as vision systems and camera lenses. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning, and avoid accessing internal components that are not user-serviceable.


2. Visual appearance

Check that the machine has no physical damage apparent to the eye. If there were some temporary ‘home’ changes or user modifications made before shutdown due to a lack of time, now is the perfect opportunity to make these quick fixes permanent. It also is the right time to document these modifications as improvements to technical drawings or maintenance log notes.

Once the visual inspection is completed, you can contact the manufacturer for guidance on improvement or to provide feedback on their machines. Also, review your preventive maintenance procedures and determine if any additional actions are required or outstanding prior to startup.


3. Connection

Reconnect the machine to the power source and its fuses. Then test the security equipment to make sure that no alarm codes appear on the electrical panels. Make sure all guards are in place and secure before putting power on the machine, look at the HMI and any electrical components with a display screen user interface to determine if all is properly connected.


4. Batteries

Once you have made sure that everything is functional on the machine, check the batteries and recharge them to avoid any potential damage. Consider changing non rechargeable batteries that may have been depleted even while the machine was turned off. Examples include the batteries for PLCs, Robots and other electrical components.

If you followed our shutdown advice, your batteries should be in good shape.


5. Soft start

After all of the electrical and mechanical checklists/checks have been made, we recommend putting the machine first in “jogging” mode, cycle by cycle, to see if there are any problems. After that, you can continue in auto mode, but a low-speed cadence is recommended to make it easier to identify any problems. Depending on the complexity of your manufacturing line (e.g. different assembly steps), it is actually suggested to go with a low rate at the start. This will take a few hours at most.


“Patience is a key element of success.” Bill Gates


Shutdowns are difficult, economically and on your production line. It is tempting to rush back into production as soon as your business is given the green light. Take the time, however, to exercise caution. By attending to maintenance, fixing apparent problems, and tempering equipment restart, you can avoid costly downtime in the future.


Orientech checklist to successfully restart production and manufacturing line after a shutdown

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