Annual Report from the BFS IOA Chairman for 2010

Dear BFS members,

Once again it is time for me to look back on the year that have past, and also give you a glimpse of the plans we have for the coming year.

During year 2010, the wheels returned to full speed in most parts if the global economic markets. From many of the suppliers to the BFS community, I have got the information that order books have become more than full. Of course nice to hear, but on the other hand, this means longer delivery time for those that are eager to start up new or expanded operation with brand new BFS machines. Anyway, this is very positive for us in the BFS community, since this is a sign of the growing interest for Blow-Fill-Seal as an excellent technology for pharmaceutical products. A rough estimate indicates that more than 30 new BFS machines where shipped throughout the world last year ! Certainly impressing figures.

Let us now look back and summarise 2010 from a BFS IOA perspective;
The BFS IOA year started very nicely in Marne la Vallee-Chessy, just outside Paris, where our European and also Annual General Meeting took place April 15-16. Our intention was to meet the spring in Paris, but instead we faced the reality of the consequences from the gigantic volcano eruption in Iceland. Despite all concerns for how the travel back home, we had a very good meeting with many interesting presentations. The trend of high number of participants that started in 2007, continued with more than 75 members showing up. At the AGM the Accounts for 2009 and the Budget for 2010 were approved. The proposals for new Board members were also accepted by the members present. This gives me the opportunity to present the Board for BFS IOA for 2010/2011 for you;

  • Chairman
    Peter Åkerman, Senior Adviser, AstraZeneca, Sweden
  • Technical Officer
    Kevin Downey, Head of Quality, TEVA Runcorn, UK (new)
  • Officer for Training and Education
    Dr. Martin Haerer, Director Pharm. Affairs/Qualified Person Holopack, Germany
  • Officer of Operation
    Jesper Laursen, Business Director, MELITEK, Denmark (re-election)
  • Board Member
    Patrick Poisson, VP Manufact. Fill/Finish, United Therapeutics, USA (new)
  • Appointed Board Member
    Sandra Marguillier, Supervisor BFS Production, Pfizer, Belgium (new)

After the meeting most of us had to find alternative ways for how to come home, which indeed was an interesting experience. It meant many hours travelling by cars or trains instead of one or two hours flight. Some people were unfortunately forced to prolong their stay in Paris, but I hope they were well treated by the French hospitality. Hopefully, the volcanoes in Iceland will remain sleeping this spring, so you dare to come to our meeting in Italy in a few weeks !

In September we traditionally returned to USA for our meeting with the American chapter. This time the meeting were held in Arlington VA (Washington DC) on the 16-17 of September. We now tried to be proactive based on the learnings from 2009, were we had to squeeze in 80 persons in a conference room design for 50. Although we didn't reach the all time high for USA this time, still 69 participants showed up to take part of our program. Thanks to the contacts of our new Board member, Patrick Poisson, we were happy to listen to some very interesting presentations that have been rather unusual in our earlier meetings. One of them covered the considerations during developing a new BFS product, and another some reflections of how to design and develop BFS facilities. I think these presentations were very well appreciated.

Last year we announced that we had the intention to arrange a Training seminar for BFS technology in China. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too complicated to find a suitable way to arrange this seminar. The language barrier was of course one of the reasons. However, China is a BFS market that grows extremely fast, and there is a huge aspiration to learn more of the BFS technique. Hopefully we can look forward to find a new opportunity for a training seminar in China in the future.

The BFS year ended with the Asia meeting, that this time it took place in Hong Kong in November 29-30. Since this period of the year seems to be the Wedding season in Hong Kong, we first had some difficulties to find a suitable venue. But as always, our Officer of Operation, Jesper Laursen managed to choose a nice hotel with perfect conference conditions. The only obligation was that we had stop for the day at around 5 pm, so the staff could rearrange the meeting room for the next wedding!

Besides all the valuable presentations around new developments in BFS machines, leak detection and polyolefins, we also for the first time had a session to more in detail go through the Point-to-Consider document. I think this initiative was welcomed by the audience, since it became clear for us that the majority of the participants were not aware of the existence of this document, and even fewer had read it. I also have to mention that we followed another of our traditions; to go out for a boat trip for the conference dinner. This time the dinner was served on a Chinese junk sailing around on the wavy water in the beautiful harbour of Hong Kong. Certainly a nice tradition that we will try to continue!

The meeting attracted almost 60 participants, which is about average for our Asian meetings. This time we had more people coming from China, but unfortunately not so many from India, the other big market for BFS in Asia. We have had a long discussion in the Board how to arrange the Asia meetings in the future. Of course we want to make it possible for BFS friends from all Asian countries to travel to our meetings, but on the other hand, Asia is a huge part of the world. One alternative is to arrange two Asian meetings every year, but unfortunately, the BFS IOA is a too small organisation to set up more than one Asian meeting in a year. If we should consider that for the future, we absolutely need more contribution from our members in Asia to come to our meetings and give presentations. If you are willing to support us in this matter, please don't hesitate to contact me or anyone in the Board.

Then to some of the other BFS activities beside our annual meetings. To start with one positive thing - in conjunction to our meeting in Washington, we had a first meeting together with PDA regarding the foundation of a PDA Interest Group for Blow-Fill-Seal and Flexible Containers. This first meeting were attended by about 25 persons. At that meeting it was agreed to set up a Steering committee for the Interest Group, and the BFS IOA is of course represented in this work. During the time since September, this committee have had a few telephone meetings, and the plan is now to have a second Interest Group meeting in Berlin on March 24, followed by a meeting in conjunction to the PDA Annual meeting in San Antonio, TX, USA, on April 13. I recommend you all to visit the PDA homepage ( to find out more of the objectives for this PDA Interest Group, and also get more information regarding the program for the two meetings in the near future.

Another reoccurring topic in my Annual reports has been the progress of our PTC (Point-to-Consider) - document. We decided last year in the Board that despite the potential future co-publishing of this document together with PDA, the document needed an update. The Board have therefore worked through the text one more time, and made several updates and complementary additions. Most of them were presented at the Hong Kong meeting as mentioned above, and our ambition is to present the 2011 year's edition to the audience at our upcoming AGM in Italy this year.

Last year we also announced that we planned to perform a survey around Particle studies and Environmental monitoring in BFS operation. Unfortunately we have not been able to progress this during 2010, but our intention remains, so we are now looking forward to achieve this in 2011. I hope to come back to you later in the year.

Let us now take a short look on what will happen with the BFS IOA in 2011. As you already have seen on our homepage, we have sent out an invitation to our European meeting, also our Annual General Meeting for 2011, which will take place at Lake Como in Italy April 6-7. You are of course most welcomed to come there to enjoy not only the BFS presentations, but also to take delight in the beautiful landscape of the south side of the Alps, as well as meeting you BFS friends, colleagues and peers !

At the AGM you will have the opportunity to review and vote for approval of the Accounts for 2010, and our Budget for 2011. There will also be a vote for two positions in the Board; Chairman and Officer for Training and Education. From the Board, the nominated are Peter Åkerman as Chairman and Dr. Martin Haerer as Officer for Training and Education. Both are nominated for a period of two years. No other nominations have been received.

The US meeting for 2011 is planned to take place in Charleston, SC, in September 28-30. The plans also include a potential site visit to the Rite Dose facility. We will then traditionally have the Asia meeting by the end of the year, this time we plan to return to Singapore, which will allow good connections from most part of Asia and RoW. The dates for the Asia meeting are December 5-6. Please book these dates in your calendars, and look at our homepage to get more details later.

As every year, I will once again encourage you all as members to come up with suggestions of topics that you want us to put more attention to in our programs. And, even better, if you have something you want to present from your own experience that will be even more appreciated! You are always welcome to us in the Board to discuss any ideas that can contribute to return a better value for the BFS community.

Finally, I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to lead this fantastic organisation the last two years. I also want to thank you as members for your interest in the Association during 2010, and I hope you will continue to support the Association with your membership also in 2011.

On behalf of the whole BFS Association I want to take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all our valuable Sponsors for their important contribution to our mission.

And, for those of you who will have the possibility - most welcome to the upcoming meeting in Italy. Looking forward to see you there!


Best personal regards

Peter Åkerman
Chairman of the board BFS IOA
March 2011