PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING | OCTOBER 2014 41 ■
In addition, new coding and marking equipment can offer
increased controller flexibility and allow for changeovers
to happen quickly and seamlessly when switching over to
another product. When marking products bound for different international locations, manufacturers can simplify code
changing processes to reap operational benefits such as
less downtime, waste and rework as well as enhanced efficiency and traceability.
HOW CAN YOU GET THERE?
First, work with an experienced global provider. Working
with an organization that has offices and personnel across
the globe can help pharmaceutical manufacturers quickly
reach their supply chain objectives. With experience across
industries like pharma, food, beverage and aerospace, a
global provider can identify multiple solutions well suited
for particular pharmaceutical applications.
Second, look at the full range of coding and marking technologies currently available. Thermal ink jet is a popular
solution for many pharmaceutical applications like cartons
and blister packs, while thermal transfer overprinters and
continuous ink jet printers are a better fit for most flexible
packages. Lasers are often selected for bottles, labels, ampules and tubes. Consider all options to find the best solution for meeting industry regulations and strengthening the
visibility of products traveling throughout the supply chain.
Finally, look to utilize a supplier with vast application support, especially one that can perform an array of tests with
different coding equipment on a variety of substrates using various inks. This allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to make
more educated decisions that will best suit their specific coding
requirements, budget and supply chain objectives. ■
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Kearns has over 11 years of experience in pharmaceutical packaging. As the North America Strategic Account
Manager for Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices for
Videojet, Tim is focused on common platforms that drive
efficiencies for the end customer and OEMs.
the transfer of data beyond manufacturing and packaging.
Manufacturers and repackagers will be required to place
a unique product identifier and bar code on prescription
drug packages. This means every drug sold in the U.S. will
be required by the manufacturer, distributor and dispenser
to provide detailed information about how the product was
handled throughout the supply chain. By 2023, all pharmaceutical products must be serialized and equipped with
devices that allow for interoperable data exchange between
disparate tracking and monitoring systems.
Yet ultimately, the underlying trend is toward improved
patient safety and ensuring that the correct drug travels
safely through the supply chain all the way to the patient.
TACKLE SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES WITH
IMPROVED CODING TECHNOLOGY
Pharmaceutical manufacturers can address many of the
factors driving changes in their supply chains by improving
their coding processes and technologies. Here are four im-
portant considerations to keep in mind:
• Select the appropriate coding solution: From thermal ink
jet printers to laser marking systems and more, various
technologies are appropriate for the many applications
in a pharmaceutical manufacturing environment. The
right solution should be chosen to match the line speed,
substrate to be coded, the manufacturing environment,
as well as the code requirement throughout the package
• Get the right code on the right product: Systems offering
Code Assurance link on-product coding to a centralized
message database to take message/code creation and
management off the production floor.
• Choose durable equipment: High-speed coding in the pharmaceutical industry requires equipment and inks that can
handle flexible pharmaceutical processes.
• Don’t forget the ink: Pharmaceutical codes may require specialty solvent-based inks for quick drying times and good adhesion on cartons, glossy labels, aluminum blister cards and
other laminated poly products. Other applications, like glass
and plastic bottles, may require inks
that are smudge-resistant or those
that have ultraviolet fluorescing properties. A range of inks is available for
continuous ink jet, thermal ink jet
and case coding solutions.
Above: Videojet 7510 Laser. Right:Videojet 9550 Print & Apply Labeler
■ PHARMPRO. COM