Working with your partners in the business: the Packaging Engineers/Technologists

Working with your partners in the business: the Packaging Engineers/Technologists

The artwork service team works with many groups in the business, so my next series of blogs will look at the key ones. In this one I will talk about the Packaging Technologists, or Packaging Engineers. I discuss what information they provide the team and what is key to get right in the relationship.

The Packaging Technologists/Engineers provide the structure of the pack

It’s the Packaging Technologist’s/Engineer’s job to work with the launch team to design a pack which protects the product, works for the patient and fits with the marketing image required. It also needs to be designed to run on packaging lines in a cost-effective way. The pack designed may be a similar format to existing products or be something quite new.

They will work very closely with the Equipment Engineering department, who will source and trial the equipment required. This might range from new change parts, to new equipment on lines, or to completely new packing lines. Emerging from this process will come a defined pack.

It is then their role to provide all the information required to the Artwork Coordinators so packs can be set up on the systems ready for launch, including of course having the artwork available for each market. Suitable drawings, in a clear unambiguous format, will be required. These drawings will be used for all subsequent pack changes.

It is important the artwork service team are clear what information is required

It is easy for some confusion to arise regarding the bill of materials or the artwork. I remember a launch being almost delayed due to the case reference being incorrect and the cases arriving with no upper flaps. Another where the varnish free areas used for overprinting were missing.

So I always involve the Packaging Technologists/Engineers in the process redesign workshops. Any previous areas for confusion can be resolved. With drawings, it is worth taking the time to talk through each element of information required, bar codes, braille position, tamper-evident label positions, preprints that appear and what must be left text free. Making sure both sides are clear on the requirements and ensuring understanding is embedded in SOPs and training materials.

Early communication is required for projects which will involve changes to drawings

Large projects like the introduction of serialisation or major changes to lines will require impact assessments re the packs. The changes may be subtle but the change control process together with a good working relationships with the two groups should mean such changes are handled smoothly.

Equally the artwork team may have to highlight to the Packaging Technologists/Engineers a need for more space for text. A common problem on leaflets where the health authorities are demanding more content. It is vital these issues are raised early to enable new drawings to be generated and any trials and revalidation to be completed.

In my next article I will talk about the part played by another key group – Regulatory.

To help you in your Artwork Improvement Program, you can also find useful information in my book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities

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Should you have any questions about this or any other of my blogs, or would simply like to request a copy of my booklets, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on my email.

For more information on artwork, go to our free download section.