Innovative machines from the Northern Ireland manufacturing company Sepha are being used to revolutionise the way drugs are dispensed throughout the UK. The machines are called ‘Press-Outs’ and they enable the easy removal of drugs from their blister packs so they can then be re-blistered again into handy ‘patient packs’.

Press-Outs simplify the process of de-blistering tablets from their original packaging by transforming a laborious task traditionally done by hand into an automated process. This means it’s not just a lot less sore on the thumbs but saves time and money too. A leading UK dispensing pharmacy that caters for care and nursing home patients with a daily requirement for a number of different drugs is already using Press-Outs to repackage the drugs into monthly user-friendly packs, tailored to the individual’s requirements. But Press-Outs’ reliable, fast and cost saving benefits are equally relevant to pharmaceutical manufacturers who have an increasing need to deblister rejected packs from the production line in a way that reduces waste and disposal costs, minimises the impact on the environment and manages inventory.

Sepha’s range of Press-Out machines are some of the fastest on the market and are able to handle a wide variety of even the most delicate tablets and capsules. There are portable manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic versions. Top of the range is the state-of-the-art Press-Out Universal which empties tablets and capsules from reject blister packs at a rate of up to 50 blisters per minute. It handles medium to large batches of all types of blister formats and designs and is gentle, even on fragile tablets, peelable capsules or child-resistant capsules, making it ideal for valuable products.

Press-Out Automatic also has a full automatic feed. It is easy to use and low maintenance with no specialist skills required. The speed of operation can be varied to a maximum of 60 blister packs per minute. Blister packs are automatically fed from the magazine stack through a set of rollers and gently eased out of the blister to be collected separately from the waste packaging. Format changeover does not require tools and takes less than 3min.

Alternatively, blister packs can be manually fed through Press-Out Manual / Manual Wide on a set of rollers by a turning handle. The tablets or capsules are simultaneously removed from the blister pack and separated from the waste packaging. It can take up to 20 packs per minute and is suitable for in-line blister packs only, even with a diagonal / offset layout. The single set of tooling is fully adjustable and training for use takes less than 15min. Finally, single blister packs can be automatically fed through Press-Out Semi-Automatic and the machine uses the same patented deblistering mechanism as the manual model but is driven by an electric motor providing automated feed allowing a deblistering rate of up to 40 blisters per minute with tooling change over taking less than 5min.

Sepha also specialises in non-destructive inspection equipment for inspecting the seal integrity of pharmaceutical and medical device blister packs. BlisterScan can detect and locate leaks as small as 7µm across a full cross-section of the entire blister web.