Diabetes is on the rise worldwide. Some 10 million people are diagnosed with the disease every year.

That unfortunate statistic has led to increased demand for insulin pens. These medical devices are used by diabetics to inject insulin. The device is consists of an insulin cartridge, a dial to measure the dose, and disposable pen needles to deliver the dose. Insulin pens offer several advantages over the traditional vial-and-syringe method of insulin delivery, including improved patient satisfaction and adherence, greater ease of use, superior accuracy for delivering small doses of insulin, greater social acceptability, and less reported injection pain.

Millions of these devices must be assembled each year. One company that’s helping to do that is Syntegon Technology GmbH. Based in Waiblingen, Germany, Syntegon manufactures automated equipment for assembling and packaging medical devices, pharmaceuticals and food. The company has 33 locations worldwide, including six in the U.S.

Recently, Syntegon’s subsidiary in Vallensbaek, Denmark, developed a standardized automated system for assembling insulin pens. Automation components from Festo Corp. are critical to the functionality of the machine.


Circuit component

“By using the Festo automation platform, which includes the servo press kit, we are greatly expanding the flexibility and agility of our systems,” says Michael Andersen, sales director for Syntegon Technology in Denmark. “A key component of greater agility is the Festo servo press kit YJKP.”

The YJKP is a preconfigured modular system consisting of software, controllers and standard electrical drives that are easily integrated and offer a high degree of flexibility. Capable of producing a maximum force of 17 kilonewtons, this cost-effective servo press is easy to parameterize and ready for immediate use.

“We have installed more than 100 servo press kits in our automated assembly lines for insulin pens,” says Ulrik Keldke, head of Syntegon’s engineering department. “The precisely adjustable pressing and joining forces ensure consistent quality and low reject rates. What we particularly like about the Festo servo press kit is that it is quick and easy to commission, and the machine operators don’t need to be trained to use it.”

Servo control over the pressing operation is critical for safe assembly of the pens. “The servo press kit keeps the tension and pressure constant. The glass of the syringes should never be subjected to irregular pressure, since they would break,” explains Keldke.

The machine can be expanded into a complete production line with other systems from the company, such as standardized packaging machines. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can thus obtain standardized machines for every step in the process of producing an insulin pen: filling, capping, assembling, testing, labeling and packaging.

All the machines rely on electrical and pneumatic components and modules from Festo. This ensures consistency and faster delivery times. It also lets OEMs take advantage of open interfaces to higher-level controllers. The CPX-E-CEC module from Festo establishes a connection to the process-control level, allowing it to be used with Ethernet/IP, Profinet and EtherCAT.

For more information on automated assembly and packaging systems, call Syntegon at 49-7151-14-1150 or visit www.syntegon.com.

For more information on automation components, call Festo at 800-993-3786 or visit www.festo.us.