Plastiape: Looking to the future in the Pharma sector
Plastiape is one of the European forerunners in the production of medical devices and packaging for the pharmaceutical industry. Specializing in long lasting partnerships, the success of the Italian company is based on a foundation of responding pro-actively to customer's ideas and needs through its expertise. Webpackaging recently had the opportunity to find out more about the Company's strategy for success.
Plastiape was founded in 1970. How has the company developed since then?
During the 1970s Plastiape established itself as producer of packaging for both the personal care and the pharmaceutical industries, and in the 1980s we started to produce medical devices.
The company expanded, in fact it has never stopped growing. In 1990, we opened a new office building and a new 17,400m2 factory built which beame fully operative in 1992.
Within ten years we had another 2 factories built, one of which was classified class 100,000 and class 10,000 for production. We also got ISO9001 and ISO13485 certifications.
Then, in 2003, we acquired a plastic packaging company which enabled us 2 further plants — one at Sirone, here in Italy and the other at Garwonin, in Poland. Cleanrooms have been built at both factories to ensure that we can service our customers from all locations for both personal care and pharmaceutical packaging.
We now have about 350 employees working with us and in our plants different technologies are integrated effectively together for complex multi-component product manufacturing. Injection moulding (im), injection blow moulding (ibm), injection stretch blow moulding (isbm), extrusion/co-extrusion blow moulding (ebm), assembling, decorating and laser printing.
At our plants we have more than 160 moulding machines, 40 assembling lines and there are 12 decorating machines currently installed and running, so as a Company we are small enough to maintain a very friendly feel, yet large enough that quite a number of people work in R&D, ensuring that we continue to grow.
In line with our historical approach to the market, our Company specializes in long lasting partnerships, excellence in product design and attention to product development. As a result, Plastiape offers such capabilities as internal services and full supply chain management, allowing customers to focus on those areas of the development programs in which they excel.
What products do you offer?
We work in 3 principal markets: medical devices, pharma packaging and also personal care. We're known principally for our medical and pharma business and that is our focus.
With more than forty years of experience within the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry market sector, Plastiape ensures conformity of manufactured products with the relevant European and United States regulations and directives.
Last year, we had a FDA inspection to ensure that our products were compliant with the United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and we can continue to sell to the US. Our manufacturing processes and Quality Systems are also ISO certified and our cleanrooms ISO 7 and 8 class fully in compliance with regulations and directives for production and assembly of medical device for the pharmaceutical industry.
As an Italian company, are your customers local or international?
Our 2 largest plants and Head Office are in Italy, so the Italian market is very important of us. Over a third of Plastiape's customer market is here in Italy. Beside this domestic market, Plastiape is today supplying to more than 40 countries around the world in sectors needing medical devices for respiratory and gynaecologic applications, ophthalmic packaging, drug containers, bottles and tubes with related closures and accessories.
The key factors for Plastiape's success in such international markets are based on our proactive response to customers' ideas and needs, product quality, process excellence, customer service attention and a strong expertise in compliance related matters.
How do you ensure that Plastiape stands out compared to other companies that offer similar products?
We have a great number of customers that we have been working with for many years and this level of customer loyalty is testament to our successful track record for both a fast response and execution, and of course continuing to research and develop the products that our customers want in the market.
We also have an energy reduction program running. At our Osnago plant we have implemented many changes and last year those changes saw a reduction in energy of 7% and we forecast that this will be 14% by the end of this year, when compared to 2014. The changes mean that machinery is more efficient and the impact of Plastiape on the environment has and is continuing to reduce. Many of our customers want a supplier that is actively reducing its impact upon the environment.
The company has a large Research and Development Center. How does the Center work?
At Plastiape Research and Development has been the cornerstone of innovation since the days of its foundation, 45 years ago. Today, the growing demand for highly effective medicines with highly effective medical devices and highly protecting packaging solutions make our R&D center even more important than at those times. The Plastiape Research and Development Centre has always been the pulsing heart of the company.
Plastiape has a dedicated team of professionals that is always looking to the future, considering the needs of product user. As part of external supply chains for different industries, Plastiape undergoes a number of conformity audits for assessing compliance to sector specific regulations.
Our processes have always been considered in compliance with conformity standards and audit outcomes are integrated in our R&D processes as source of potential improvements for the Company. This approach has the aim of ultimately delivering better services to our customers and better products to patients. Medical devices have a complex approval process, therefore it is essential that the product be thoroughly tested, considering the product's "life cycle".
It is well known that each step of Research and Development processes can be extremely time consuming and costly. Accuracy, quality, knowledge and efficiency are crucial factors to our Partners' success. This is the reason why when partnering with us, our team of experts, both in the field of medical devices and primary packaging solutions, work closely to understand the features and needs of a product. This approach provides appropriate and innovative solutions, ensuring success as much as we can. This is our priority number 1.
At Plastiape, 'tailor made R&D solutions' are at the core of our business strategy. Our materials and technology expertise, are leading us to more targeted therapies, and clinically differentiated products.
Do you have any new products?
Our RS00 and RS01 inhalers were developed in the 70s/80s and they are still undergoing development and modification. Delivery has gotten increasingly smart and there are many ways in which we have developed the inhalers to ensure that medication is taken properly, effectively and safely.
For example, the flow rate is an essential feature of the inhaler which impacts both the functionality of the product and the impact upon the user or patient. The flow rate was 100 litres per minute and we have developed on this to create different flow rates according to the formulation or the dosage. This is a feature which we can customize for customers, offering a flow rate such as 40 or 65 litres per minute. This has enabled our inhalers to dose medication effectively and for the user it means that the correct dosage can be inhaled more easily and smoothly, similarly to natural respiration.