Elevating Pharma QC

RxPack's collaborative journey with Labman has been nothing short of extraordinary.
5 min read
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a man with brown hair wearing a black and white checked shirt folding his arms and smiling against a blank background
Enrico AppianiQuality control and laboratory specialist, RxPack
To continue to meet the stringent industry standards required by the pharmaceutical industry in the face of changing regulations, RxPack needed to elevate their quality control processes and streamline their research and development (R&D) endeavours.
Labman developed an automated, robotic system to allow RxPack to test their MDI (metered dose inhaler) valves at speed and in a fully repeatable way. 15 years after this initial system was developed, RxPack were back at Labman to develop a second system to allow them to double their throughput.
With Labman's robots, RxPack significantly streamlined their quality control processes. The robots allow the products to meet the stringent criteria of CFR 21 Part 11 standards efficiently, replacing labour-intensive tasks and improving overall quality control. The increased throughput of having two systems now also empower the endeavours of RxPack’s rapidly burgeoning R&D efforts, allowing them to bring new, fully tested products to market far quicker.


hours a day savedVerses a lab technician manually testing values


validated processRemoval of user variation for fully-compliant products.


hour operationUnattended operation to allow for higher throughput

In the world of pharmaceuticals, precision, efficiency, and quality control are of the utmost importance. Companies operating in this highly regulated industry must consistently meet rigorous standards to ensure the safety and efficacy of their products. One such company, RxPack, a global leader in pharmaceutical dispensing solutions, found itself facing a critical challenge in their quality control processes: ensuring the precision and reliability of the valves used in their Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs). RxPack needed an innovative solution to enhance their quality control procedures and provide scope for R&D improvements; they turned to Labman for help.

RxPack’s components are used in pharma products the world over. Their MDIs are used in inhalers for administering medications such as in asthma inhalers. In the pharmaceutical world, even the tiniest discrepancies can have severe consequences, hence the high degree of regulation and the stringent standards. For RxPack, ensuring the valves in their MDIs dispensed the correct dose consistently was a mission-critical task.

The existing quality control process relied on manual testing, which was not only labour-intensive but also highly susceptible to human error. A dedicated team member spent hours each day meticulously testing the valves. The need for precision, efficiency, and data consistency became abundantly clear, prompting RxPack to seek an innovative solution to address these challenges.

"Maybe an average supplier would say that such a change was not feasible; instead Labman made it work and made it quickly"
a man with brown hair wearing a black and white checked shirt folding his arms and smiling against a blank background
Enrico AppianiRxPack

Labman’s partnership with RxPack first began 15 years ago when they first faced the need for such an automated system. Delivered in 2008, the custom-built system streamlined the process of firing a canister of gas and weighing the vial to observe the efficiency and reliability of gas ejection. Performing these repetitive tasks that were previously handled manually offers RxPack’s team the accuracy, reproducibility, and, most importantly, time savings that they need to stay ahead in their industry.

15 years later, and with Labman’s consistent support, this original system continues to serve its purpose well. However, with pharmaceuticals advancing, and the scope of RxPack’s research and development expanding, they commissioned a second system from Labman to increase their throughput.

Visiting Labman again in 2021, RxPack wanted the same again please. The pharma industry’s evolving requirements demand ever more precise testing of MDI components, especially due to changes in gas formulations required by environmental standards agencies. With a growing R&D department designed to provide innovative solutions to these requirements, the need to test both existing products from a QC perspective, but also to validate new ideas, are crucial to RxPack.

The saying ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’, seems most apt, as the new system is almost identical to the older version, but with a few upgrades for speed and usability. As Enrico Appiani, RxPack’s QC and laboratory specialist commented ‘the old system is almost perfect’.

The new system runs on Labman’s updated baseApp software and our robot framework is in its second iteration, however, the process remains almost unaltered, allowing for minimal onboarding time. “[The old system] was already good, but [the new system] is now much easier to use. After a few days, almost anybody can use this system.’

The introduction of Labman’s original custom system, and now its younger sibling, have brought about significant benefits for RxPack. Foremost among them is the substantial time savings. The robot can perform tasks that would have taken a human operator several hours each day. This time could now be allocated to more strategic and value-added activities, whilst the system can continue 24 hours a day to test the valves.

Beyond time savings, the robot brought enhanced operational efficiency. It ensured consistent and accurate quality control, reducing human errors, and enhancing data integrity in the QC processes. Moreover, employees adapted quickly to the robot after minimal training, thanks to its intuitive user interface and straightforward pre-run checks.

At times, the team at RxPack have sought to add new routines to their testing procedures or have required upgrades in order to be able to accommodate an R&D need. We pride ourselves on our ability to support and maintain our systems worldwide and to work with our customers to ensure that the systems work exactly as they need them to. “Maybe an average supplier would say that such a change was not feasible; instead Labman made it work and made it quickly,’ stated Appiani. ‘This change was needed for one of our very important customers, so it was a great benefit for us having this done.’

RxPack’s partnership with Labman continues to evolve. This successful implementation of laboratory technology demonstrates how collaboration and innovation can bring tangible improvements to the quality control sphere. Labman’s systems have made it possible for RxPack to adapt quickly to shifting industry standards, ensuring compliance and product safety.

As the industry progresses, innovative partnerships between Labman and organizations like RxPack will remain critical to ensuring the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products for patients worldwide. The future holds exciting opportunities for both companies as we work together to tackle new challenges and push the boundaries of pharmaceutical products.