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140 stainless steel storage containers for Astellas Pharma

Astellas Pharma supplies innovative medicines worldwide. The company’s plant in Meppel (NL) specialises in the production of tablets in the field of urology and oncology. Additional tablet containers were needed at the plant to increase its on-site storage capacity. These are special pharmaceutical stainless steel receptacles capable of storing tablets and capsules as an intermediate product. Astellas contacted Gpi with a request for 100 of these containers, plus another 40 to be supplied at a later date.

Alf Tent, Project Engineer at Astellas, talks about the initial stage: “The aim was to increase our stocks of intermediate product from one to three months. These stocks consists of ready-to-use tablets prior to these being put into blisters and packs. In order to expand storage capacity, we contacted a number of companies, including Gpi. Gpi met all the requirements for the order – especially when it came to documentation, which is of major significance in our sector. Each product involves a huge amount of paperwork, so it’s important to get this in order. Gpi was able to explain precisely how the documentation works and the traceability of materials.”

“Gpi is a nice partner to work with. There’s a good balance between approachability and professionalism”

Project Engineer at Astellas Pharma

The assignment

In total, Astellas placed an order for 140 new tablet containers. The containers have a 250-litre capacity and are manufactured from type 316(L) stainless steel. To maximise hygiene, the current design was modernised and the containers were fully polished.

New design

Alf talks about renewing the existing design: “Following an evaluation with our users, we proposed a new design and gave this to the engineers at Gpi to work out a solution. The new containers come with a robust frame and improved castors. This improves the manoeuvrability of the new trolleys and the ease with which operators can transfer these from the production area. Most of the modifications have been implemented with sanitary objectives in mind. For example, there were parts which were difficult to access for cleaning staff and where water got left behind. The new design modifies the rims so that they are now tapered and also includes openings so that the water can drain off properly after cleaning. This makes it less labour-intensive for the cleaning team. The design has therefore been enhanced in a number of ways.”

“The design has been enhanced in a number of ways. Operators find the trolleys move smoother and the cleaning staff’s work is more pleasant due to a better sanitary design.”

Production and delivery

The containers were produced at Gpi’s production plant in Lopik. “Contact with Gpi was excellent throughout the project. We were given a guided tour and a complete demonstration beforehand. We visited Lopik regularly for factory tests of a series of finished containers. It was certainly useful to have someone from production there, so that any remaining issues could be fixed right away,” says Alf.


Alf can look back on a successful collaboration. “Gpi is a nice partner to work with. On my first visit here I was already getting positive vibes. Contact between us has been absolutely fine, both easy-going and businesslike. In my view, this balance between congeniality and professionalism is positive”


The new stainless steel storage containers give Astellas more storage capacity and greater user convenience. The majority of the new 140 PEB containers are now being used for the storage of tablets and capsules for the treatment of urological disorders.

About Astellas Pharma

Astellas Pharma is a pharmaceutical company that is transforming cutting-edge science into medical solutions. With a workforce of more than 15,000 employees worldwide, the company is dedicated to improving the health of people by making innovative medicines available across the globe.