Citation: De Sanzo I, “Packaging Line for GSK Autoinjectors: a Case Study”. ONdrugDelivery, Issue 113 (Oct 2020), pp 61–62.

Ivan De Sanzo describes a unique automated complete packaging line provided to GlaxoSmithKline for three different autoinjectors.

Recently, during the most difficult times of the covid-19 pandemic, Marchesini UK managed to deliver a new highly automated packaging line to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) UK to handle three different autoinjectors for key new products including biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma and for the treatment of lupus.

When Marchesini won the tender from GSK to supply a complete line for packaging the three devices, at a speed of 140 per minute, its solution consisted of six machines and five Marchesini robots, capable of handling two different sizes: single device laid flat or four devices positioned next to each other.

The line, designed for rapid size change and line clearance operations, successfully completed all operation qualification (OQ) activities with performance qualification (PQ) underway.


Upstream from the GSK line there is a tray-emptying unit to feed the trays with devices. A Gigacombi followed by a Robocombi (Figure 1) empty the devices from the trays and feed them onto the conveyor belt connected to the twin-head labeller RE 302 2T (Figure 2), which wraps a label around the device and applies a label on the front and back of it too.

Figure 1: The Gigacombi (left) empties trays and stacks empty trays, and the Robocombi (right) inserts devices into pucks for downstream packaging.

The RE 302 by Marchesini’s Neri Division has a series of advantages for the customer: a smaller base, full access and visibility of the work area, quick size changeover operations thanks to special digital indicators and high label application precision. It’s also highly versatile, being able to handle products made from different materials, from glass to plastic, but also various shapes and sizes, be they round, oval or any other unconventional shape.

Figure 2: The RE 302 2T twin-head labeller wraps a label around the devices and applies labels on the front and back too.

A new Robocombi takes the labelled device and transfers it to the machine from Waldner (Wangen, Germany), which puts it into the moulds with the thermoformed cases

“This has been a fantastic team effort between the Marchesini, Waldner and GSK teams, delivered through the adversity of covid challenges.”
– Nigel Wood, Engineering Capital Director, GSK.

Once sealed, the cases with the devices reach the MA 255 continuous-motion horizontal cartoner with Robocombi, which puts them into the carton together with the information leaflet. The cartoners in the MA family are one of Marchesini Group’s masterpieces: impressively versatile machines that can package the widest variety of shapes and sizes for both the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

The cartons are then weighed on an external weighing unit and transported towards the labeller BL A-420 (Figure 3), which performs the serialisation, stamping and sealing operations. Thanks to its outstanding versatility, the BL A-420 unit can fit all types of printing and vision systems currently available so that all the drugs packaged have their own unique code.


Figure 3: The BL A-420 labeller performs serialisation, stamping and sealing operations.

An MCP840 TT monobloc casepacker-palletiser equipped with a Gigacombi completes the packaging process. The MCP840 TT has a very small footprint and can handle a wide range of cartons, even those larger than average, and meets all the requirements related to drug serialisation and traceability.

Both the labeller and the casepacker-palletiser are fitted with Sea Vision systems to satisfy the international regulations for visual control and labelling for fully serialised product supply assurance.

Nigel Wood, Engineering Capital Director at GSK, said: “This has been a fantastic team effort between the Marchesini, Waldner and GSK teams, delivered through the adversity of covid challenges.”

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