Always ready for innovation, ahead of the times with Famar Tec
Famar Tec, an historical company located in the Bologna area, was founded in 1969 in the heart of the packaging valley, to then be acquired in 2015 by the Curti Industrial Group, active in the engineering sector with a strong business differentiation and already present in the world of packaging both for food and pharmaceutical. One of the protagonists of the merger and acquisition operation is Alessio Wagner, now General Director, who was interviewed ahead of his participation at Pharmintech by Ipack Ima.
What technological innovations are you presenting to the market in this moment?
"Famar Tec is an historical brand in the production of automatic machines for primary and secondary packaging. We are mainly aimed at the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical market but we also have customers and applications in the cosmetics, food and tobacco markets. We have always been strongly focused on product innovation and lately we have been concentrating on the development of more sustainable technical solutions in order to reduce the consumption of our machines’ utilities. In this regard, at the next edition of IPACK-IMA we will present our new integrated blistering line, Connexa 600, the result of an extremely ergonomic design aimed at minimizing format changeover times and power and air consumptions . Another issue is the ability to intercept market trends such as, for example, the increasing use of oral oncology medicines. This makes it necessary to equip blister machines with suitable containment systems. As we don’t produce these systems, we work in partnership with the main providers, so to mechanically and electronically equipping our machines. "
Wagner then reflects on the impact of the pandemic on the way they do business and continues:
"The health emergency has forced us to rethink the service model. We have strengthened remote assistance, which is now essential to support customers in the marketplace. The pandemic has also forced us to rethink the way we test machines before their delivery. As we had to do without the physical presence of our customers, we adopted new technologies to enable virtual remote testing, using companies specialising in audio and video filming. Full HD filming and also the use of drones have enabled us to test and ship machines to our customers despite the pandemic. These are elements that are now well established and part of our service offering. Let's not forget that remote assistance has been a standard on our machines since long time, but this was limited solely to the possibility of restoring and/or modifying the operation of the machines. A major impetus, mainly on the domestic market, has been given by Industry 4.0. All our machines have been designed to be interconnected to th company systems. We have then also developed sw. systems to facilitate the management of spare parts that are fundamental for the correct operation of the machine. This sw. allows the machine groups to be displayed directly on the machine's HMI and the necessary spare parts to be found immediately. An easy drag-and-drop operation makes it possible to compose the trolley and proceed with the order to our service department".
Are there any emerging markets in this post-emergency?
"Among the surprises is certainly nutraceuticals, which has been a driving force in the last five years and is growing even more after the pandemic. It is a less complex market than pharmaceuticals, with rules that are not comparable in rigour to the pharmaceutical requirements, but it is a rich market, where there are high margins on the end product. "
What prospects do you see for the market in the coming months?
"The trend is positive, especially for us who are involved in the pharmaceutical market. In fact, the UCIMA data show that it is a less suffering sector than others. In general, however, the packaging industry has been preserved and in this context, the pharmaceutical even more so. If we then move towards widespread distribution of vaccines through pharmacies and community medicine, this could be an important opportunity for us. What I imagine is a distribution of pre-filled syringes or single-dose bottles. A market that, if consolidated, could have an important impact for Famar Tec, which supplies machines for the secondary packaging of these products, already collaborating with world leaders in the production of flu vaccines. In general, it must be said that the world of vaccines is a trend with positive prospects for 2022, after an already very positive 2021. Another trend we are looking at closely is a possible revolution in the materials used in packaging. In a market like pharmaceuticals, this is not as dominant or prominent as food. However, the migration towards packaging that minimizes the use of plastics and makes greener choices such as cardboard and paper will be kept under observation. I believe that the pharmaceutical segment has this as one of its next targets, with the pharmaceutical manufacturers driving the revolution. And we will have to be ready, because a machine that handles plastic material today may well be converted to handle paper material in the medium or long term. When I talk about paper, I’m thinking of composite materials with a biodegradable, vegetable base and limited plastic content. I believe that this transition can take place quite quickly in secondary packaging; I am referring for example to plastic trays used for secondary packaging of vials, bottles and syringes as replacing a plastic material with a greener material has no impact on the integrity of the product. This is not the case for primary packaging such as the materials used in blistering processes. The transition to replace the current plastic and aluminum materials will be much slower, as the integrity of the products has to be guaranteed until the expiry date.