MG2 and LEK: a partnership based on innovation and flexibility concepts


In 2013, MG2, world leader in the manufacture of automatic machines to dose pharmaceutical products into hard shell capsules, celebrates a 17-year partnership with LEK, a Sandoz company, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis  Group.

In 2013, MG2, world leader in the manufacture of automatic machines to dose pharmaceutical products into hard shell capsules, celebrates a 17-year partnership with LEK, a Sandoz company, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis  Group.

A winning strategy for the makers of automatic dosing machines for pharmaceutical products has always been to provide customers with innovative solutions which are flexible and versatile enough to be adapted to a wide variety of production applications. This is the reason why Lek, part of the Novartis Group (one of the world giants of the pharmaceutical industry) since 2002, decided to rely on MG2 Process Division’s capsule fillers to manage a part of its capsule production;  first, Lek bought some G120 and MG Futura machines, then three capsule fillers Mod. Planeta, joined in 2010 by a Mod. G250. Lek also showed its interest in the solutions offered by MG2’s Packaging Division, which supplied the company with ten case packers Mod. GSL10.

The market outline

Lek is a part of Sandoz, a global generics leader. The company saves and improves lives by developing, producing and distributing high-quality, affordable, pharmaceuticals. Thanks to its global network, Sandoz medicines are now available to 90% of people worldwide. In addition to the direct cost savings to patients, Lek contributes to the stability of healthcare systems worldwide and free up resources for new and innovative medicines. The company makes far more than just traditional off-patent medicines, standing out from the crowd thanks to its ability to develop and produce a wide range of differentiated products. Lek chose MG2 because it was looking for flexible, modular, advanced technology solutions. Important factors in the decision were the high-precision and adaptability of the dosing system developed by the Bolognese company, two important features which put MG2 machines ahead of competitors in this market sector. Among MG2’s wide offer, the Slovenian company chose continuous motion capsule fillers, which are versatile and modular both in terms of dosing capacity and production speed. These machines are suitable for laboratories as well as R&D departments, which can easily scale up to transfer laboratory results directly to the production line; this can be done by using any one of the MG2 capsule filler models which all employ the same dosing principle.

The solutions provided

Today, Lek can count on three capsule fillers Mod. Planeta 100, equipped with different dosing units for powders, tablets and pellets; these units can also be used simultaneously for multiple dosages into the same capsule; moreover, the machines are equipped with NETT, an in-process weight control system developed by MG2. NETT allows to check the net weight of all capsules in real time, rejects any out-of-weight capsules and automatically adjusts the dosing chambers accordingly. MG2 was the first manufacturer in the world to fit its machine with an integrated net weight control system which meets the most sophisticated quality control specifications of pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, LEK decided to cope with its increasing production requirements by putting a capsule filler Mod. G250 beside the three Planeta already installed. G250 is a high-performance capsule filler which can reach a production speed of 200.000 capsules/hour; G250 is suitable to handle wide batches of capsules, filled with pellets in this specific case. As for end-of-line solutions, starting from 2009 MG2 provided LEK with ten horizontal case packers Mod. GSL10, most of them are employed in Ljubljana facilities. These machines can handle different case sizes and complete cartoners’ lines.

Results obtained

The range of machines chosen by the Slovenian company is very heterogeneous, suitable to  meet any requirement for Research & Development phases as well as the final product packaging. The long and fruitful cooperation between the two companies is based on MG2’s ability to meet LEK’s demands which have renewed and increased over the years.

The machines installed at LEK’s                                                                                            

Planeta runs at production speeds of 6.000, 12.000, 25.000 and 50.000 capsules/hour. The speed reaches 100.000 capsules/hour on the Planeta 100 version. By adding extra components to the operating units, it is possible to upgrade from one speed to another. The machine can be equipped with a statistical weight control system for filled capsules (SWC). As an alternative, customers can choose the NETT in-process weight control system which checks the net weight of all capsules. Latest Planeta’s upgrade allows to install the MultiNETT system, suitable to check with great precision product microdosages and, individually, the different components in case of dosage combinations. The machine has an innovative design and the characteristic round, cylindrical shape that recalls MG2 technological tradition, based on continuous rotary motion. Moreover, this design is ideal to make operation and maintenance easy.

G250 continuous motion capsule filler is a high performance machine, suitable to reach a production speed of 200.000 capsules/hour, the ideal solution for medium and high productions. The machine can dose different kinds of products such as powders, pellets, microtablets, tablets and low dosages of powder even without compaction, as in the case of powders used in medical devices for the treatment of asthma. G250 can carry out different dosing combinations inside the same capsule (ranging from size 000 to 5,  including tamper-proof capsules), such as powder and tablet, two different kinds of pellets of tablets. G250 as well can be equipped with SWC and NETT weight control systems.

GSL10 is a horizontal case packer suitable to form, fill and close RSC cases. GSL10 guarantees positive and forced case opening, reliable product feeding and collation, operator ergonomics, easy and quick size change-over. The case can be closed either by means of tape or hot-melt glue. GSL10  can handle up to 10 cases per minute, in accordance with the case size and product arrangement. Product feeding can be placed either to the right or left of the case store. GSL10 can be equipped with several product feeding solutions, as well as some optional units such as bar code readers, videocameras, ink jet printers, labellers (for pre-printed labels or P&A) and reject stations.