New Equipment for Pharma Package Labeling

March 18, 2020
Hallie Forcinio

Hallie Forcinio is packing editor for Pharmaceutical Technology and Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, editorhal@sbcglobal.net.

Equipment and Processing Report

Equipment and Processing Report, Equipment and Processing Report-03-18-2020, Volume 13, Issue 3
Page Number: 48-51

Labeling equipment for primary and secondary packaging and a new label printer improve speed and quality.

Although INTERPHEX 2020 has now been rescheduled from April to July (July 15–17, Javits Center, New York, NY), a number of machines for labeling and label printing will be highlighted at the show. One machine is the compact BL-A420 CW carton labeler from Marchesini Group USA. It integrates printing, inspection, and checkweighing and operates at speeds up to 400 cartons/min. A patented timing device sets the cartons at the correct spacing and is synchronized with the speed of the conveyor, eliminating the need for size changeover adjustments (1).  

A fully integrated load cell in the stepper conveyance system checks the weight of each carton. If the weight is correct, the product proceeds to the next steps (printing, inspection/serialization, and sealing). If the weight is not correct, the carton is rejected. After checkweighing, a vignette label is applied on the upper panel of the carton. A unique 2D DataMatrix code and corresponding human-readable data are printed on the side flaps and sometimes on the upper panel. The unique codemakes it possible to track each carton. A camera then verifies the printing. After print inspection, two pressure-sensitive, tamper-evident sealsare applied on the corner closing points of each carton (1). 

New software for the Easy Door operator interface makes the operating system more powerful and faster. The wider screen is more ergonomic, and the touchscreen is easier to use because it works like a mobile phone. Ahigh level of flexibility means that the machine can be integrated with various printing and vision systems (1). 

NJM, a ProMach product brand, plans to introduce the enhanced Courser 230 vial/syringe labeler. Equipped with a trunnion starwheel, the compact labeler positively handles vials, syringes, bottles, ampules, cartridges, centrifuge tubes, auto-injectors, and other small or unstable packages, with the option to later modify the system in the field. A new vertical label spool dispenser, designed in collaboration with sister company, Weiler Labeling Systems (WLS), improves ergonomics and accuracy. The system achieves speeds of up to 250 vials/min and 200 syringes/min, with label placement accuracy of +/- 1 mm (1/32 in). An option for orienting packages allows for specific label placement, such as for containers with a flange or graduation, at speeds of up to 100 parts/min (2). 

Other options include a thermal-transfer or laser printer for printing variable information, including serialized data, a print inspection system, a label removal system to reconcile incorrectly printed labels on a separate web, and a label placement inspection system that identifies packages with missing labels and triggers a downstream reject device (2).

Another new and compact labeling option, the semiautomatic Herma211 HC wraparound labelerfrom Herma US, applies labels to cylindrical products such as syringes, tubes, glass vials, and ampules ranging in diameter from 10–120 mm at a rate of approximately 30 labels/min.Well-suited for small-batch manufacturing in biopharmaceutical applications and the transition from clinical trial to full production volumes, the wraparound labeler can also print and inspect variable information on labels and reject any faulty labels before application.

A digital label printer, the Autonomy IV model from WLS, combines quick turnaround, production planning flexibility, real-time variable data application, inventory reduction, and/or multilingual label printing. Integration with a vision inspection option, such as the Total Layout Control system from Antares Vision, ensures print quality. The ultraviolet-curing, drop-on-demand printer reproducesmost barcode formats and human-readable codes from static or dynamic data, including serialized data. In addition, it can print high-impact visual graphics in full color or black-and-white at speeds up to 3050 in/min. Whether printing variable data on pre-printed labels or the entire label, the digital printer can print up to 72 mm wide and handle roll sizes up to 18 in (457 mm) in diameter (3). 

References

1. Marchesini Group, “Interphex 2020, the Marchesini Group Focuses on Serialization and Inspection Machines,” Press Release, Feb. 10, 2020. 

2. NJM, “NJM Introduces the Enhanced Courser 230 Vial/Syringe Labeler,” Press Release, Jan. 29, 2020. 

3. WLS, “Weiler Labeling Systems Presents the Autonomy IV Digital Label Printer at Interpack,” Press Release, Feb. 5, 2020.