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from Brückner USA
17 Jul 2017

Blood bags: Safe packaging for the elixir of life

Virtually no other medical product is associated with as many emotions

as blood reserves. Irrespective of whether donor blood comes into the

market as red blood cells, white blood cells, blood platelets or blood

plasma - in Germany, three quarters of people do not require money for

their blood donations. According to the blood donor service of the

German Red Cross, German hospitals now consume approximately

15,000 blood counts - per day!


Medical progress has also increased the need for blood products: organ

transplants, major surgical procedures and cancer therapy have increased the

number of blood and blood component transfusions by 50 to 100 percent over

the past decade. For several years the clinics have been trying to deal more

sparingly with blood products, therefore the numbers have been falling slightly.

However, blood reserves save lives and are almost irreplaceable.


The demand for blood products is high; their shelf life is limited; making it

crucial that not a single drop is lost. The conventional container for blood

reserves - the blood bag - is made of PVC. PVC is heat-resistant for sterilizing,

flexible when cold for freezing, transparent, and can be welded reliably -

permitting safe storage of blood.


Highest quality standards are indispensable for the production of the blood

bags. This applies not only to the film material, but also to all the connections

and connecting pieces. The only suitable technology for processing PVC is

high-frequency welding.


Here Kiefel GmbH, Freilassing, has the market leadership and the benefit of

decades of experience, which flows into the blood bag production systems of

the company's KIR Highliner series. The machines produce blood bags with a

volume between 150 to 600 ml and a production capacity up to 2,200 bags per

hour. The machines produce the complete blood bag, with two to five

connections and connecting pieces.


High frequency heart

The heart of the machine is a high-frequency generator. This allows the

welding of high quality medical bags made of PVC - the product of choice for

blood storage. The modular concept of the generators allows output between

eight and 32 kilowatts. High frequency welding uses the dipole properties of

the PVC - the two opposing electrical poles of the material.


The PVC films to be welded are exposed to a high-frequency electromagnetic

alternating field with the aid of the generator, which excites the dipoles and

leads to molecular vibrations. The heat is generated directly in the material

and only in the areas that are to be connected. Pressure on the areas heated

to near the melting temperature joins them - they are welded with highest



Zero-defect product

Faults in the weld or the connections must not happen, because the blood of

each donor is too precious. The features of the KIR Highliner ensure highest

quality standards.


Film cleaning and web edge control, weld thickness measurement, process

control, automatic feed devices, tear out and stacking stations, laser marking,

– all these options guarantee speed, reproducibility, accuracy, and complete

process control.


The KIR Highliners work with up to two welding stations. Servomotors drive

these stations. They ensure the highest precision and the constant monitoring

of the welding parameters. If a parameter deviates from its target value, the

machine marks these bags as rejects.


Kiefel is the world market leader in the construction of machines for blood bag

production. It is not unlikely that the blood or some of its components from

most of the 108 million blood donors per year will be transported to the patient

in a bag produced on a Kiefel machine.




Blutbeutel-Anlage KIR 33 Highliner

(Fact Box) Worth Knowing

Each year, 108 million people donate blood worldwide. Nearly 50 percent of the blood donors come from countries with a high average income, although only 20 percent of the world's population live here. 65 per cent of all blood transfusions in low-income countries are given to children under the age of five; while in the industrialized countries 76 per cent of all transfusions are given to people over 65 years of age.   The blood with the least risk of transporting infectious diseases comes from voluntary and unpaid donors. Only 43 out of 156 countries reporting their data to the World Health Organization manufacture medical products from blood plasma. 113 countries have to import these products. (Source: WHO)