How Ampoules are Made

ampoules

Glass ampoules are ideal as a packaging for many cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Gerresheimer incorporates its many years of experience in the meticulous production of ampoules to guarantee that they are safe to use and always in optimum quality.

Production

In the first stage of ampoule production, the carousels are filled with glass tubes. Most of these glass tubes are made at the Gerresheimer plants in Pisa and Vineland. In the shaping process, the ampoule is shaped from the base to the tip. Then it is separated from the glass tube. As soon as one ampoule has been separated, the base of the next one is shaped and the code rings in different colours and colour combinations can then be applied.

The glass surface between the ampoule body and neck is also carefully scored so that when the user presses the ampoule neck at the one point cut, the glass breaks at precisely that point. It’s also a good idea to wrap a cosmetic tissue around the ampoule neck for protection when breaking it open. Glass ampoules are manufactured so that no glass splinters are created at the break point which could contaminate the content. To prevent injury, each product is packed with an information sheet and instructions for use.

Finally, the cut and break point are applied to OPC ampoules and, if required, they can be printed to customer specifications. The next stage of the process takes place in the kiln at approximately 600° Celsius, when the colours are burned on and the ampoules are annealed. Throughout the production process the ampoules are inspected at regular intervals by cameras, the human eye, in-process controls (IPC) and in the laboratory.

The ampoules are packed on plastic trays, stacked on pallets, sealed in foil and delivered to customers. The individual trays are all labeled with customer-specific data, plus the production date, batch number and inspection number.

Filling

Because Gerresheimer manufactures three different types of ampoules, there are different filling processes. Gerresheimer delivers closed ampoules to the customer in a sealed state. The customer opens the ampoule again, fills it and closes it again. Straight-stem and funnel-type ampoules are delivered open by Gerresheimer. They are then cleaned, filled and melted closed by the customer.

No-splinter opening

Ampoules are the most frequently used pharmaceutical packaging in the world. They have the decisive advantage that the medication only comes into contact with glass during its entire storage period. Glass is inert, impermeable and 100% tamper-safe. Ampoules vary in volume from 1 to 30 ml. Most are made from clear glass. Amber glass is also used to protect sensitive content from UV light.

However, despite this important advantage, ampoules do expose users to the risk of cuts. That’s why it’s so important to know how to open an ampoule properly without sustaining an injury. Snap-off ampoules can be broken without any special implements. Often, an ampoule manufacturer such as Gerresheimer will integrate a ‘one point cut’ (OPC) on the ampoule so that it is easy to break open.

Production sites

Glass ampoules are manufactured at the Gerresheimer plants in Wertheim (Germany), Shuangfeng (China), Querétaro (Mexico) and Boleslawiec (Poland).

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