Eco-friendly blister packaging

A Danish company has optimised the development of its new blister-packaging machine using software to make it more environmentally friendly.

Ramac founders Søren Andersen and Jimmy Rose analysed their packaging machine design part by part with Solidworks’ Sustainability Xpress software to find material choices and manufacturing methods that decreased the machine’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle.

Sustainability Xpress is an integrated part of Solidworks 2010 CAD software, which Ramac uses to design its products. The software helped Andersen and Rose to weigh every environmental factor in producing the RAMAC 525 Workstation, which is a semi-automatic machine that forms and seals blister packs for consumer and medical products in low to medium quantities. It was used to detail the design’s expected carbon footprint, air and water impact, and energy consumption.

’It took us just a few minutes to find out that if we manufactured one component in plastic in Denmark, instead of aluminium in Malaysia as we first planned, we can spare the Earth 600kg of CO2 every year. Every variable analysed with Sustainability Xpress indicated that plastic would be more environmentally friendly than aluminium and strong enough to support the load required,’ Andersen said.

In addition to the material and manufacturing changes, Sustainability Xpress prompted Ramac to exchange a pneumatic cylinder for an electrical one that consumed less energy.

’We have decided to deliver an environmental-analysis document along with every packaging machine we sell to prove we don’t just talk about sustainability, but really have integrated environmental principles into our business,’ Andersen said.

Encouraged by its success in creating a greener machine, Ramac plans to analyse all future versions of the packaging machine with Sustainaibility Xpress from the beginning of the design process.