Implant placers:
Inno­va­tion that goes under your skin

With the devel­op­ment of a new implant syringe, Gaplast has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the appli­ca­tion of sub­cu­ta­neously admin­is­tered drugs.

Today, implants con­taining active ingre­di­ents (also known as “rods“) are firmly estab­lished in the field of long-term med­ica­tion. Due to the retarding release of the active ingre­dient, they replace the daily intake of tablets or the admin­is­tra­tion of injec­tions. That way, they pro­vide pro­tec­tion and safety for patients – either human or animal.

How­ever, admin­is­tering them with the help of com­mer­cially avail­able implant placers often involves a number of hur­dles. Fre­quently, the implant is not pushed into the injec­tion channel, but into the sur­rounding tissue; not rarely, admin­is­tra­tions have to be repeated sev­eral times because the needle’s retrac­tion causes the med­ica­tion to shift or be pulled out a bit again.

With their new type of implant syringe, Gaplast, a pack­aging man­u­fac­turer from Upper Bavaria, Ger­many, aims to min­i­mize these unpleasant side effects during administration.

It all began with an idea

“The idea goes back to the mid-1990s,” recalls Ingmar Kneer, team leader in the med­ical tech­nology sector at Gaplast. “At that time, we received the first inquiry from a large German generic man­u­fac­turer for the devel­op­ment of an implant syringe. Inno­va­tion and inge­nuity are firmly anchored in our DNA, and quite quickly we came up with a new type of mech­a­nism. It pulls the can­nula out of the patient’s tissue after the implant has been applied into the injec­tion channel. This ensures reli­able administration.”

Today, this device is avail­able with a depot for one or three months. Ingmar Kneer: “It is used, for example, in the treat­ment of onco­log­ical dis­eases, but also for the long-term med­ica­tion of hor­mones in human and vet­eri­nary med­i­cine. Addi­tional long-term or depot appli­ca­tions have already been initiated.”

“Every step ful­fills the highest stan­dards without com­pro­mising func­tion­ality or visual appear­ance.“Ingmar Kneer, team leader in the med­ical tech­nology sector at Gaplast

Full func­tion­ality

Only approved “pharma proof” or “med­ical grade” mate­rials are used in the man­u­fac­ture of implant syringes. The main mate­rial – a mod­i­fied styrene-acrylic copolymer – guar­an­tees full func­tion­ality as well as sta­bility of shape and color. “We can pro­vide evi­dence that our implant syringe shows sig­nif­i­cantly less color devi­a­tions and defor­ma­tions caused by ster­il­iza­tion than com­pa­rable med­ical devices,” says Ingmar Kneer.

Tight net­work

In order to grant the highest level of quality, Gaplast not only relies on par­tic­ular mate­rials, but also on a close exchange with a spe­cial­ized partner net­work. “The inten­sive exchange with all part­ners is a matter of course for us,” explains Ingmar Kneer. “We heavily involve them in process step devel­op­ment, thus making sure that all com­po­nents are pre­cisely matched for production.”

Gaplast’s device is avail­able with a depot for one or three months. The implant syringe is used, for example, in the treat­ment of onco­log­ical diseases.

Careful han­dling

Harro Höfliger is part of this net­work – the com­pany designs high-pre­ci­sion machines for the pre-assembly of devices and the inser­tion of implants. They make sure that the implant is assem­bled and pack­aged to operate prop­erly and in top quality – although very tight tol­er­ances (e.g. in the stylet area) are used here. Not only the syringe body has to be kept intact, it must also be guar­an­teed that the syringe itself remains opti­cally flawless.

During the assembly process, this require­ment is met by sup­plying indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged implant syringes in trays and care­fully inserting them into the feeding units using pre­cise pick-and-place tech­nology. Numerous in‑process con­trols (IPCs) ensure con­sis­tently high func­tion­ality. Camera sys­tems on the machines pro­vide seam­less mon­i­toring of the filling and feeding process. Ingmar Kneer sums up: “Every process step ful­fills the highest stan­dards without com­pro­mising func­tion­ality or visual appear­ance of the device.”

About Gaplast GmbH

For more than 30 years, the pack­aging man­u­fac­turer with head­quar­ters in Altenau (near Ober­am­mergau, Ger­many) has been an owner-man­aged family busi­ness and is a healthy indus­trial com­pany today. Orig­i­nating from a man­age­ment buy-out by the senior boss Roland Kneer, at two loca­tions in Upper Bavaria, the com­pany develops and pro­duces intel­li­gent and sus­tain­able bot­tles, clo­sures and appli­ca­tions made of plastic for well-known com­pa­nies all over the world.

Gaplast con­siders itself a solu­tion finder and pro­vides cus­tomers with all com­po­nents from a single source for tailor-made product solu­tions. Mean­while the com­pany employs about 300 people and trains appren­tices in nine pro­fes­sions. In 2020, the annual turnover amounted to 44 mil­lion euros. Gaplast is DIN ISO 9001 and 15378 cer­ti­fied, ISO 13485 is in preparation.

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Photos: Gaplast GmbH