It's Showtime!

Visitors to INTERPHEX 2010 will find an abundance of packaging innovations. Plus: Check out our preliminary program for LIVE video interviews at the show.
Mar 02, 2010
Volume 34, Issue 3

SPECIAL NOTE: Check out PharmTech's preliminary program for its live video interviews at Interphex 2010.

Hallie Forcinio
This year's Interphex will deliver one of the best opportunities of 2010 to learn about the latest pharmaceutical packaging materials, containers, machines, and services. Interphex 2010 will take place on April 20–22 at the Javits Center in New York and will reveal new packaging designs as well as technology for filling, brand protection and traceability, coding and labeling, and quality control. The conference program also will feature several packaging-related sessions.


A semiautomatic benchtop filler incorporates features normally found only on automated systems, including networking capability and a user-friendly operator interface. Four easy-to-change metering systems broaden the number of products that the unit can handle (AdaptaFil benchtop filler, Filamatic, Baltimore, MD).

Brand protection and traceability

A new patented process invisibly marks packaging surfaces with a pseudorandom pattern of thousands of microdots (10–15 μm in diameter) to provide anticounterfeiting protection without changing the printing process or ink. The process also does not change the appearance of the finished package, raise production costs, or increase energy consumption. Microscopic variations in the thickness of the varnish layer also can be used to invisibly mark the packaging in a way that's impossible to replicate. Compatible with offset, rotogravure, flexographic, laser, or inkjet printing, the micropatterns rely on a digital key of 128 bits and easily integrate into any packaging production line. Product authentication is accomplished in seconds by capturing an image of part of the packaging on an office scanner or camera phone and emailing it to a secure server for automatic verification (Cryptoglyph process, AlpVision, Vevey, Switzerland).

A serialization system provides a standard, yet customizable, way to add product traceability to packaging lines with a minimum of reengineering. Designed to work with various printers and cameras, the system links to information technology networks through tried-and-tested data-communication protocols. A high-precision mechanical transfer unit capable of operating at a speed of 90 m/min takes each folding carton from the cartoner and transfers it to the printer in the optimal position for serialized marking. A camera verifies print legibility and correctness. The system is available with a feature that detects whether the carton has open flaps and whether it is correctly aligned. Any carton on which the marking cannot be verified as "good" is reliably rejected into a lockable catch bin (XMV Mark and Vision System, Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed, Ithaca, NY).

A new name in anticounterfeiting technologies specializes in multilayered brand-protection solutions. Printed covert and overt security features and software help pharmaceutical packagers achieve serialization, authentication, and track-and-trace objectives (AuthentiTrack software, Covectra, formerly known as Pharmorx Security, Southborough, MA).

Digital-watermarking technology embeds an encrypted code into existing package graphics. This covert authentication feature cannot be seen by the unaided eye but can be identified digitally by a web-enabled mobile phone or handheld reader using patented security-class software. The code not only authenticates the product, but also provides background data and refers consumers to interactive websites where they can obtain additional information or place orders (DigiTrack digital security feature, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Somerset, NJ, based on hardware and software from Complete Inspection Services, Indialantic, FL, and its technology partner Digimarc, Beaverton, OR).

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