Coding and Serializing

Octapharma codes and prints up to 50 different folding box formats using the versatile OMEGA inkjet digital printing system from Atlantic Zeiser. The contact-free printing and coding solution ensures rapid job changeover, maximum quality and variability even with small batch sizes. This has provided an expandable, future-oriented solution for printing and coding in one of the world’s most state-of-the-art plasma fractionation plants.

The task

  • Maximum quality for coding and serializing pharmaceutical packaging in clean room conditions
  • Versatile and flexible systemfulfilling existing and future country-specific requirements in pharmaceutical coding
  • Cost-effective printer model for variable data printing
  • Meeting the key quality standards set by the US FDA (Food & Drug Administration), and EMA
  • Product tracking and identification of product forgeries facilitated via serialization
  • Identification of 10,000 folding boxes each day with multi-line number codes, in combination with a 2D GS-1 bar code
  • High machine availability
  • Integration and component matching on one packaging line

Key to success

  • With easy to use and solvent-free drop-on-demand inkjet print technology, OMEGA offers flexibility, versatility and environmentally friendliness, including minimal setup times.
  • Printing samples during initial project phases impresses with the highest quality level and razor-sharp printed images on pharmaceutical cartons with different absorption values.
  • Understanding and sector-specifi c expertise for serializing, coding and product tracking of pharmaceutical packaging, products and the handling of special quality standards.
  • Partnership-based collaboration between packaging manufacturers Schleuter, Octapharma and Atlantic Zeiser.
  • Future-oriented system confi guration for special legal requirements for product tracking and anti-forgery protection.

Customer solution at a glance – configuration of the integrated Atlantic Zeiser printing and coding solution

  • OMEGA 36 DoD single-pass inkjet printer with 36 mm printing width and 360 dpi resolution for a high-contrast printing of smaller font sizes, bar codes and GS-1 Datamatrix codes.
  • SMARTCURE 50/300 UV LED curing system for immediate curing of the smear-proof UV ink and high scratch-resistance and endurance of the printed image.
  • Integration kit to control the entire printing and curing process with integrated ink feed.
  • Special UV ink from Atlantic Zeiser and solvent-free inkjet printing.
  • Integration into packaging lines for folding pharmaceutical boxes in clean room conditions for 50 different folding box formats.

Cost-effective identification with inkjet solution

Future-oriented solutions need to be set up quickly in line with changing requirements and avoid downtime. The primary task is to implement the coding and identification processes cost-effectively with continuous print layout changes. “The OMEGA offers an exceptionally low ink consumption,” states Christian Schneeweiss, Technical Supervisor at Octapharma. We can label one packaging item completely using the highest quality for around 70 cents per 10,000 boxes. The ink volume of the droplets can also be finely adjusted so that we are achieving the required quality level with just an 80% ink volume.”

Versatility is key

The liquid ink is immediately dry and smear-proof via UV curing, both on absorbent and non-absorbent carton surfaces. This is simply not feasible with the thermotransfer or CIJ (Continuous Inkjet) printing processes previously used, whilst maintaining the same level of quality and variability. Added to this is the fact that CIJ has always been a critical factor due to the handling of solvents in the sensitive blood plasma environment.

The entire packaging system for the various cartons was developed and produced by Schleuter, and augmented and coordinated with externally supplied integration components. The systems process challenging carton packaging from flat to 3D and pack the varying bottle packages.

The machine manufacturer suggested the leading DoD inkjet print solution, OMEGA. Various carton materials were sent to Emmingen in Germany for testing purposes, the headquarters and R&D site for Atlantic Zeiser. “The sample prints were simply fabulous!” says Christian Schneeweiss. “Even printing on absorbent substrates and slightly curved cartons was of a consistently high quality. As a result, after a series of tests, it became clear that the OMEGA was the ideal system for our requirements in the identification, labeling and coding of varying carton formats for our pharmaceutical packaging.”

Ute Heiler