Digital Magazine

IP Paperboard Replaces Plastic in Medical Device

Thoro Packaging, Corona, CA, has collaborated with Thayer Medical Corp. to develop LiteAire, described as a "unique, dual-valved holding chamber for use with metered-dose inhaler drugs."

Substituting folding carton board for injection molded plastic cuts costs by as much as tenfold, says David Sladek, president of Tucson-based Thayer. Unlike the bulky plastic version, the LiteAire folds flat to fit into a pocket or small purse, a feature that encourages patient compliance. It has ample room for printed instructions and can be reused by a single patient for up to a week before disposal.

“It was a challenging assignment,” says Jan Steiner, president of the 35-year-old converter. “It's not just a box. This is an FDA-cleared medical device that requires much tighter tolerances and far more sophistication than the typical folding carton. We needed to produce a device that printed flawlessly and converted precisely. For starters, the board had to have an excellent print surface. The product is four-color printed and needs 100-percent ink coverage for the graphics and directions for use. The graphics have to look good.” The substrate also required complete FDA clearance, which meant full documentation and a number of studies, including bacteriological and bio-compatibility testing.

Thoro turned to International Paper for its Everest folding carton board. A proprietary coating technology is said to give Everest board superior printability, smoothness, and brightness while maintaining excellent stiffness and convertability. IP also played an important role in the design and testing process, which took nearly three years.

Once FDA clearance was obtained, Thoro made its first production run of 125,000 units. Since then, it has followed up with several additional runs.

Supplier Information
International Paper,
Stamford, CT; 203/358-7000; internationalpaper.com

Subscribe to PFFC's EClips Newsletter