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Printing, labeling, aggregation, and inspection equipment meets serialization requirements.
INTERPHEX, the annual pharmaceutical trade show, always presents a wide array of packaging innovations. The 2014 show (March 17-19 in New York City) included equipment designed to meet serialization requirements.
Videojet 8610 thermal inkjet from Videojet prints nonporous substrates like coated paperboard, blisters, film, and foil with fast-drying, solvent-based inks. The key is a patented ink cartridge designed to jet methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)-based inks “Formerly, you had to have a knock-out area for water-based thermal inkjets,” said Jim Kerper, North American sales manager for the Systems Solution Group at Videojet Technology, in an interview with Pharmaceutical Technology. A shutter-based mechanism controls the printhead, which prints at a resolution of 240 x 240 dots per inch at speeds of up to 102 m/min (333 ft/min). Character height with a single printhead is 12.7 mm (0.5 in), but up to two printheads can be ganged. Higher print quality on the nonporous surfaces aids the inspection process. In addition, the unit’s preset font packages help the vision system recognize the code (e.g., to distinguish “O” from zero or “B” from 8). The serialization-ready thermal inkjet prints alphanumeric characters, as well as linear and two-dimensional barcodes including QR codes and the GS1-compliant DataMatrix code specified in serialization requirements. The printer can be supplied with an installation- and operation-qualification validation package.
Labeler and case-aggregation system
Another serialization-ready system consists of a print/apply labeler from Domino Amjet integrated with the Intelli-Pac Manual Case Aggregation System from Omega Design. The stainless steel machine handles loose or bundled bottles and cartons. The process begins with placement of a case on a table or in a case former. A plunger-equipped printer/applicator applies a serialized label. One camera reads the case label and another captures the codes of each item in the case to establish a parent/child hierarchy. Configurable for manual or semiautomatic operation, the ergonomic system seamlessly integrates to layer-aggregation technology, case-label printer, operator touchscreen, data-management system, case-loading table, and handheld scanner. Other capabilities include unit-to-bundle data syncing, case-to-pallet data syncing, and case-forming and taping. Domino also offers equipment for applying serialized codes to primary containers.
Text, art, and barcode inspection tools
An advanced quality-control (QC) tool bundle from Global Vision inspects text, artwork, spelling, Braille, and barcodes and provides annotation functionality. Web-based software deploys on an on-premise or private cloud server and provides enterprise-wide access to packaging QC tools. “Proofware gives any enterprise instant access to everyone involved in the security of their brand copy and artwork throughout the enterprise,” explained Reuben Malz, president of Global Vision in a press release. “With Proofware a new level of collaboration is achieved between different teams within the organization, their customers, and suppliers” (1). Other features include report management tools to organize inspection reports and easy integration with artwork, document, and product-lifecycle management solutions. Software permits multiple inspections to be run with the same set of files. Proofware also supports e-signature, call-outs, stamps, measurement, and color inspection.
1. Global Vision, “Global Vision Releases Proofware, the First All-in-One, Cloud-Based, Packaging Inspection Suite,” Press Release, Feb. 11, 2014.
For further discussion, read the PackForum article in the June 2014 issue of Pharmaceutical Technology.
—Hallie Forcinio is Pharmaceutical Technology's packaging editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.