Garvey’s Pharmaceutical Solutions Help COVID-19 Vaccine Makers Protect Potency, Increase Throughput

Jan 29, 2021 | Equipment, Pharmaceutical, Vial Drying, Company News

Best-in-class vial drying, conveying, and accumulation solutions support the pharmaceutical industry’s effort to deliver safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible


Prior to 2020, most people outside of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries likely didn’t spend much time thinking about the vaccine supply chain. Now, it’s a topic of significant interest worldwide as pharmaceutical manufacturers work to develop, produce, and distribute the vaccines that will allow us to collectively put the pandemic behind us.

Two of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 vaccine effort are the sheer scale of production required (the United States alone needs hundreds of millions of doses) and the fact that the current COVID-19 vaccines must be kept very cold — as low as -70°C — in order to retain their potency and effectiveness.

For decades, Garvey has supported the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry with solutions to help vaccine makers produce more products while also protecting potency. Today, many vaccine manufacturers, including participants in Operation Warp Speed, are using Garvey equipment to get more safe, effective products out the door.

Garvey’s pharmaceutical solutions comprise three types of equipment:

  • Automatic vial dryers decrease the time vaccines spend out of the cold chain during the manufacturing process
  • Accumulation systems maximize throughput by keeping production lines running
  • Conveyors boost productivity by increasing line speeds

While conveying and accumulation equipment are becoming standard in the industry for their ability to increase throughput, the game-changer in this suite of equipment is the automatic vial dryer, which helps ensure vaccine effectiveness.

Most initiatives to improve the vaccine cold chain focus on what happens after the products leave the manufacturing facility. But, there’s a temperature excursion that routinely takes place during the manufacturing process and can cause vaccines to start losing their effectiveness before they’re even placed on a truck.

In a typical process, vaccines are manufactured and then stored in a refrigerator or freezer. When the vials are ready to be shipped, they’re taken out of the cold chain for inspection and labeling. Just like with a cold beverage on a hot day, when the cold vials are brought to room temperature, condensation forms. This makes visual inspection difficult and interferes with label adhesion.

In many facilities, the solution is to place the vials in a conditioning room or dry them with large fans until the condensation dissipates, a process that can take 24 hours or more. Spending this amount of time at room temperature can cause vaccines to start to degrade, a process that is permanent and irreversible.

Garvey’s Automatic Vial Dryer can reduce drying time to less than 15 minutes. Using patented pressureless loop technology with a high-volume laminar flow accumulator, the system can dry liquid-filled or lyophilized vials up to 100 ml as fast as 500 vials per minute (vpm) and single-file them into a labeler or inspection machine at a rate up to 900 vpm with no vial damage or breakage.

“When we built our first vial dryer in 2014, we never could have imagined that this equipment would play a role in such a massive and important public health campaign,” says Thomas Garvey, President of Garvey Corporation. “Our team has been working throughout the pandemic to support essential industries, and we’re proud to be able to manufacture equipment that helps produce these much-needed vaccines.”

To learn more, visit the Garvey website or watch the Automatic Vial Dryer in action on YouTube.

About Garvey

For nearly 100 years, Garvey Corporation has been a leader in producing conveying, accumulating, and automation solutions for the pharmaceutical industry that can help increase throughput by up to 30%. Garvey’s line of solutions includes cutting-edge accumulation tables, rotary tables, conveyors, and more essentials to make your production lines more efficient. Visit Garvey online or follow the company on social media: FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedIn.