3 Types of Filling & Sealing Phases: Which is right for your product?
After injection molding, many diagnostics products require filling and sealing with various liquids and reagents. You might need filling contract services for diagnostics products to fill and seal vials, bottles, or any container with liquid.
But one of the first factors you need to consider is the type of phase you need for project. There are three different types of phases for diagnostics products that need to be filled and sealed:
It’s crucial to choose the phase that works best for your project early on, so you can manage your cash flow and outputs realistically.
When do I need manual?: A manual machine is best for you if you are producing parts at lower volumes. You might be attempting vial or bottle filling for the first time.
Lead time: Lead times tend to be shorter because you can quickly build a machine or retrofit a machine to fit the needs of your product. Lead times for manual filling and sealing stations tend to be 8 to 10 weeks.
Investment and piece price: The initial investment is lower (10s of thousands). However, because of the manual operation, your price per piece will be higher.
Throughput: Thousands of pieces per day.
Process: Typically, an operator must manually complete all steps of the filling, sealing, or capping process. This includes manually loading the instrument, filling, foil sealing or capping. This could involve 1-3 operators.
When do I need semi-automated?: A semi-automated machine is best if you are planning on producing at mid-to-high volumes. Many clients at this stage may already have a multi-cavity mold or have performed manual filling with this product. This makes you more prepared to transition to a faster-paced production environment.
Lead time: It can take 12-16 weeks to set up a semi-automated machine for your application.
Investment and piece price: Semi-automated machines require a slightly larger capital investment compared to a manual machine, but the benefit is a higher throughput, faster cycle times, and lower piece prices.
Throughput: Generally, the daily output can be in the low tens of thousands. However, the throughput depends on the application. Factors that impact throughput include how much of the product must be filled or which part of the process is has been automated.
Process: This process reduces the potential for human error, and reduces risk and increases efficiency overall. The machine is mostly automated and may only require an operator for final steps, such as capping or assembly. With this process, you will have a high level of confidence and quality in your final product.
When do I need automated?: A fully automated machine is best for you if you’re ready for large-scale production and have a confident high-volume forecast. You need a highly-customized, full production cell for your application. Typically, you don’t start in this phase. You don’t want to make this large of an investment before fully testing your process and confirming your product’s performance.
Lead time: Lead times for a fully automated, custom filling and sealing machine run anywhere from 24-36 weeks.
Investment and piece price: The initial capital investment for an automated machine is high and can run into the 100s of thousands. However, this cost is quickly recouped due to a significantly lower piece price, higher throughput, increased quality and reduced need for human intervention.
Throughput: The benefit of this option is the super short cycle time, resulting in higher daily throughputs and reduced piece pricing. Your part can go from several dollars per part to less than a dollar per part. The throughput can be hundreds of thousands of parts.
Process: This process is fully automated and does not require an operator to assemble the product. This machine can fill, seal, and label a product that is ready to be packaged.
Work With a Trusted Manufacturing Partner
Natech has added filling, sealing, and capping capabilities for our clients and we have extensive experience with these phases . Our liquid filling contract and sealing capabilities all include custom work cells, foil sealing and capping, and custom trays or packaging for diagnostics products.
Make sure your contract manufacturer is working with you to create a custom solution and plan to find the best option for you. By figuring this out ahead of time, you will be able to manage your cash flow and outputs.
We can take designs to injection molding to final assembly. Our expertise in liquid filling contract services and manufacturing for lateral flow and molecular diagnostics will help move your ideas from concept to commercialization. Work with a contract manufacturer you can trust to help you choose a filling and sealing phase that’s right for you. Improve cycle times, increase throughputs, and reduce your piece prices with Natech.
Want to learn more? Schedule time with an engineer to find a custom solution for your project.