Beginning our adventure in Denver, CO, the turnout at HealthPack 2017 was even greater than in the past, with over 300 attendees. Some of the highlights from this year’s HealthPack include:
- Jan Gates, Principal Packaging Engineer at PackWise Consulting, went over some of the upcoming changes happening with standards in her session on “Standards Updates.” The key updates include ASTM D4149, ISO TC 122, WG14, WG05 and WG09. ASTM D4169 is being revised for current practices and data. The truck vibration was recently updated in order to show various vibration profiles and comparison to original vibration profile. The next change being looked into for ASTM D4169 is for plane vibration, as the preliminary data shows the air vibration is not as current in the standard.
- Laura Bix, Professor and Associate Director, School of Packaging of Michigan State University, discussed, “Objective Evaluation of Label Design”. For those who are on the outside of the industry looking in they would never realize how much goes into the thought process of labels and packaging. While listening to Bix’s session about the challenges with critical information that must be quickly identified and readable in the field for nurses as well as the end user was very interesting. For example, a few of the many that she went through is the need for transparent packaging to allow quick identification of contents, diagrams, color coding systems that would need to be consistent and universal, to have the important information together and highlight the critical information. There was also discussion on the expiration date, latex free and sterility (secondary packaging present).
- One of the most popular sessions at HealthPack is the Nurses Panel. This is a great opportunity to ask the nurses and technicians what is important to them in packaging and labeling. It was great to hear what they are looking for in packaging in their field. Many things were brought up but some of the main characteristics were:
- Display a clear Lot#/ Reference # and date of expiration.
- Shape of packaging, easy for any size person to open.
- Making sure that the sterility of a product stays sterile through the opening process to the end user.
Other sessions at HealthPack included:
- Split Personalities: Development and Compliance
- Guiding Material Selection through Function and Value
- Sterility Assurance: An End to End Supply Chain Approach
- The Next Generation of ISO11607\Objective Evaluation of Label Design for Healthcare Products
- Applying Human Factors to Optimize the Usability of Packaging
Following the HealthPack tradeshow DDL headed to the ISTA TransPack Forum in sunny Orlando, Florida. DDL’s Packaging Project Managers Matt Doornink and Jacob Heffernan attended this year’s sessions, workshops and the volleyball tournament. Here’s a recap of the highlights and what they learned:
- ISTA TransPack Forum is a good opportunity to better learn how DDL’s customers are attempting to further their understanding of the distribution environment, as the packaging profession is continually challenged by the continually evolving distribution environment.
- A few presentations addressed the changing distribution environment, such as how retail has moved to e-commerce and is now beginning to test drone deliveries. A presentation by Clemson University demonstrated some of the patents Amazon has on the future of shipping including underground tunnels and floating distribution centers where drones would collect products and then deliver them.
- Another presentation that stood out was Bernard McGarvey’s and Bryan Cardis’s from Eli Lilly and Company discussion on the performance and creating of profiles for thermal shipping containers. In their presentation, McGarvey and Cardis showed the relationships between the pre- usage temperature exposure and the duration to the final performance of the container to its destination, creating a performance curve to find the optimal usage for time and temperature.
- In addition to the many great sessions and workshops there was also the annual volleyball tournament, which DDL has sponsored for the past several years. The volleyball tournament is always a great way to get to know industry peers and network with other companies. “This year we participated in the fun games, although we were not successful going 0-2, but each game went down to the wire. I am confident we are one year away from being one of the top teams in the tournament” said Doornink.
In addition to many informative sessions, a great part about attending conferences such as HealthPack and ISTA TransPack Forum is it provides an opportunity for members of the medical device packaging industry to reconnect with old colleagues, as well as interact with customers and meet new contacts.DDL looks forward to participating in next year’s HealthPack being held March 6-8, 2018 in Kansas City, MO, and the ISTA Transpack Forum being held March 20-23, 2018 in San Diego, CA.