Talk with Dr. Harold Harder and you realize he's a man on a mission. As president of Blessings International, he's actually a man on a multitude of international missions. Tulsa, OK-based Blessings is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and medical supplies to teams or missions. Drugs are supplied to clinics and hospitals in developing nations that serve indigent populations.
Blessings is also involved in its own benevolent projects that provide pharmaceuticals to locations of special need and/or disaster relief, as well as delivering medicines used by other organizations for their missions. Blessings' work was made much easier late last year when it added an Enercon Compak™ Jr. portable induction cap sealer, a Modular Packaging Systems' MC-2 tablet counter-filler, and a Model R310 semi-automatic labeler from Universal Labeling Systems.
"In any one year, we supply between 70 and 90 countries worldwide with products," says Harder, who earned a Ph.D in biophysics and a fellowship in pharmacology. "In our 25 years, we've shipped to more than 140 countries. Our products are all shipped outside the United States." Harder explains that 95% of these products are solid-dose tablets or capsules.
Blessings sources drugs globally, including the purchase of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. Most of the drugs purchased internationally are bought in bulk for economic reasons. Harder estimates that Blessings repackages nearly one-third of its drugs and vitamins. These are filled primarily into bottles at its 5,000-sq' facility, which the company plans to expand. The organization also outsources some of its packaging. Harder says, “We've really gotten more seriously into repackaging in the past year.
Filled bottles are manually capped before they're induction-sealed with the Enercon Compak Jr. "Before, we just used a pressure seal liner in a cap so when we hand-sealed it to the bottle, the pressure from screwing the cap tight would cause the glue on the liner to seal to the mouth of the bottle." Unlike hand sealing, the new process provides tamper evidence. That helps Blessings meet Good Manufacturing Practices and ship packages with a more professional appearance, which in turn creates a favorable impression of Blessings International.
The Compak™ Jr. is used on bottle sizes from 60 to 750 cc. The unit's timer is set to the number of seconds the inner seal requires for a secure bond. To seal the cap liner to the mouth of the bottle, the Blessings worker puts the Compak™ Jr.'s sealing head on the cap and presses a trigger on the handle of the machine. The timer counts down to zero as power is applied. Torque, power, and time may be adjusted to assure that seals are secure and consistent.
With the automated equipment, he says, "The time saved in getting the job done, at least to catch up with requests, is invaluable. Thus, the justification for obtaining the packaging equipment is not just long-term economics, it also relates to the timeliness of preparing these medicines for shipment." And for an organization on an international mission, those benefits become blessings.
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