Apace Fast Tracks Serialization with New High-Speed Bottling Line from NJM

Apace Packaging focuses all aspects of its contract packing business on fulfilling customers’ every need. Serving the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, Apace maintain the strictest standards for quality while offering competitively priced products. Seeking best-in-class technology, Apace turned to NJM (NJMPackaging.com) and installed a new solid-dose bottling line with track-and-trace capabilities in 2017. NJM provided full integration services, incorporating both NJM-manufactured and sourced equipment, to deliver a high-speed system with maximum versatility.

“We needed a new line to increase our production volume and keep up with customer demand. With this integrated solution from NJM, we greatly expanded our capacity,” says Wendell Bell, Director of Operations at Apace. “This line has a throughput of 225 bottles per minute and requires only 4 or 5 operators. Our two other bottling lines handle 80 bottles per minute and each require 7 or 8 operators. The NJM line achieves almost three times the throughput with far fewer workers. This level of automation protects our product quality and keeps costs down.”

Extreme versatility is built into each machine, including the CFI-622*8 tablet counter, beltorque® capper, AUTOCOLT IV labeler and more. The line can package tablets, capsules or softgels in round, square or rectangular bottles in sizes from 40 to 1500 cc. Canister or pouch desiccants can be added, as well as cotton, rayon or polyester filler. Bottles are closed using either CT or CR caps, with optional induction sealing. Three-panel labels are applied to square and rectangular bottles and wrap-around labels to round bottles. Customers can also choose to add sideserts and topserts.

The serialization technology also has great flexibility. Both a thermal transfer printer and laser obliteration printer are mounted on the AUTOCOLT IV labeler, so either one can print variable data, including serialization information, to the label. Aggregation begins either when packing serialized bottles into bundles or when loose serialized bottles are packed directly into cases.

“This new bottling line is critical for the growth of our company,” says Patrick Ferguson, General Manager at Apace. “It was important that the line be as versatile as possible to maximize its potential. Our goal was to think of virtually any bottling scenario that a customer might bring to us, so we could always respond ‘yes’ to their request.”

Apace chose a continuous motion CFI-622*8 Tablet Counter with eight filling modules to achieve their high speeds with extreme servo-driven accuracy. Featuring interchangeable, self-contained counting modules, this compact filling system changes over to handle a new product and bottle size in just 20 minutes with no tools required. “We like everything about this tablet counter. Both the accuracy and efficiency are fantastic,” says Bell.

The integrated line also includes two beltorque systems from NJM – one acts as a capper and the other as a retorquer, which screws caps to the specified final torque, if bottles are induction sealed. Each beltorque rotates and tightens caps with two pairs of belts, a more gentle and accurate method than traditional in-line cappers that use discs or spindles. This innovative system rivals the speeds of rotary cappers while reducing maintenance and enabling faster changeovers.