“Clean” Packaging for a variety of industries
Several industries and individual users need ‘clean’ packaging materials. Archive managers need a ‘cleaned’ or non-bacteria archive when moving it from an environment that is not sterile to a well cleaned area. This is performed more than once, where there is a danger of vermin or mildew destroying paper archives.
Examples of industries needing sterilized materials are pallets, cardboard boxes, plastic cans, trays and the like for Nico Kuin, Plant Manager at Isotron Nederland B.V. says that his company has more to offer from its worldwide network with 17 facilities in 8 countries in Europe, Asia and South Africa. Services include sterilizing of medical disposables and modifying the molecular structure of some polymers to enhance their physical characteristics such as resistance to heat and abrasion. “Our own microbiological laboratories are available for validation and pilot studies. Our R&D facilities routinely carry out research on the suitability of sterilization by irradiation for a number of different polymers, adhesives, inks and other material”, he explains.
The majority of Isotron’s customers require Gamma irradiation of packaging materials. The company receives an extensive number of orders for treating plastic and cardboard packaging materials. Even pallets supporting boxes and products are treated against bacteria, vermin and germs via the Cobalt60 source.
Isotron Nederland receives pallet loads with materials from their customers in a non-sterilized condition. These pallets are put on a slave pallet by using forklift trucks (manually) and than put on a conveyor system. Slave pallets have holes in their sides that act as a unique identification code. This code is registered by the WMS and combined with the new unique bar code of each individual pallet. This way a new and unique combined code is created.
After scanning the codes and creating the final unique code, this pallet is checked for its dimensions. If they meet the passage dimensions in the warehouse, the pallet is put into one of the free storing locations by means of fully automated conveyors and cranes.
These conveyors and cranes are PLC controlled. The bar code scanners inform the Consafe Logistics SattStore database. SattStore decides on which of the 1,440 pallet shelf places each pallet should be stocked.
The software also 'knows' which pallet needs to be treated for which customer and at what time. SattStore receives this information from the host computer that organizes all sterilization processes by means of a planning & scheduling program. Pallet choice is made to the PLC as a picking order. The SattLine PLC then controls the moving of the pallet into the sterilization room and its return to the shelves. The right stock place is chosen on an end-user storage basis. A 'medical' pallet can only be stocked into the 'medical' warehouse section, etc. SattStore also informs SattLine when sterilized materials should be moved back to customers. The software organizes a picking order for external distribution.
Continuously optimizing the solution
Isotron Nederland handles about 60.000 pallets per year in a continuous process. Since its implementation, the Consafe Logistics software is continuously upgraded. This upgrading is performed with the minimum of disruption for Isotron.
Consafe Logistics Project Manager John Heere says this is exactly the purpose of SattStore and SattLine. Nico Kuin states that Isotron would probably not operate the way it does without this IT-solution. "It is vital for our organization to have a fully reliable control system and SattStore together with SattLine answers these demands", he concludes.
Consafe Logistics started operations in Etten-Leur in 1997. Since then, several changes and optimizations have been made to the hardware and software. An example is the replacement of the server at the end of 2005. Now a Stratus-server is operational and several new releases of WMS modules have been implemented.
The following PDFs are available at Isotron website (www.isotron.com):
- Sterilization of healthcare products
- Microbial decontamination
- Finished product treatment
- Material modification
- List of applications
- Gamma irradiation
- Electron beam
- Ethylene Oxide
- Common terms and definitions
- Radiation sterilization validation
- ISO 11137
- Validation of reduced BI incubation times
- Validating microbial tests and pyrogene testing
- ISO 11135
Read more at www.isotron.com