drupa touchpoint Packaging – Serialization meets Late Stage Customization
The opening presentation of day two at the “drupa touchpoint”, the official forum for innovative and trendsetting packaging solutions at this year’s drupa was held by Michael Urso, Product Manager for Pharma Packaging Solutions at Atlantic Zeiser.
During his presentation he pointed out that the pharma industry is recently facing two mayor challenges: the first one is the trend that batch sizes are continuously getting smaller. This is caused by many aspects such as the growing trend for market segmentation of medications and country specific regulations regarding the declaration of products.
These factors lead to a growing diversity of secondary packaging of the same physical format containing variable information such as languages, ingredients, warnings, doses, color codes etc. As a result the costs to manage this complexity and the capital lockup in the warehouse are in many cases already today a burden for pharmaceutical companies and especially for contract packaging organizations.
The other big challenge is the serialization of each individual pharmaceutical product with a unique serial number that needs to be reported to a central database or along the logistics chain. This will be required soon in many regions of the world such as the EU or the United States. Implementing serialization properly into the packaging process itself is already a huge challenge that has already been puzzling many pharmaceutical companies for the last years.
In the further course of his presentation he explained where in the process chain Late Stage Printing and Serialization could take place starting from sheet printing over the packaging process itself to the warehouse. “Indeed first trends show that also in the warehouse already packed but for the rest ‘naked’ products are customized and serialized by service providers just shortly before dispatching. This is then literally the latest stage of late stage printing.”, Urso noticed.
Depending on the amount of products variations, markets served, production volumes and the complexity of the process itself there cannot be only one right or wrong answer where in the process late stage printing and serialization should take place. However it seems that doing it offline shortly before packaging the products seems to be an approach with many advantages. For example the fact that not every single packaging line needs to be equipped with the full range of serialization Hardware is a significant cost benefit.
Finally the new DIGILINE Versa which celebrates its premiere at the drupa was presented to the audience: The machine is designed to combine late stage printing and serialization in one work step on flat and glued cartons before being supplied to a packaging line.
The system is equipped with the new OMEGA Pro 4 color UV inkjet form Atlantic Zeiser that allows late stage printing with a resolution of 600 dpi at 60 m/minute.
At the same time the Unique Code Software database application guarantees (in combination with different vision systems integrated into the machine) a secure serialization process according to all existing and future regulations. After the successful printing process all serial numbers are securely stored for consecutive process steps such as aggregation, warehouse management or forwarding to hubs.
“Alltogether DIGILINE Versa can save a lot of money because it does two things at the same time both in a reliable and cost-efficient way: Serialization and late stage printing. As this will consequently reduce complexity, the potential to improve rentability is tremendous”, Michael Urso closed.