Fast and safe label coding for more process safety

Pharmaceutical labels with durable print and resistant to wear and solvents

When coding pharmaceutical products, manufacturers must be able to rely 100% on the flawless and durable printing of variable data, such as the expiry date and batch information. In many cases, however, the printed image produced by thermal transfer technology, which is most widely used to code labels for vials, ampoules and syringes, does not offer sufficient resistance to wear, abrasion and disinfectants.

Atlantic Zeiser‘s DIGILINE Label printing system, as installed at Meyer Pharma AG* offers a solution.  DIGILINE Label uses high-performance UV-curable inks and ensures high print quality and superior resistance to abrasion and alcohol-based solvents.

Scope of the project

The production managers of Meyer Pharma AG* were faced with multiple challenges when printing labels for vials: Thermal transfer technology was being used to print lot numbers and expiry dates on self-adhesive labels. The print often proved to be sensitive against wear caused by contact and friction of the small bottles against one another in the packaging line. This resulted in a relatively high rejection rate of vials that had already been labeled and lead to a large amount of manual rework. Friction of the vials in the covering box also rendered the printed information illegible at times. Another frequent complaint from administering doctors and clinics was that the print would blur when exposed to disinfectants. Other challenges were expensive stops in the packaging line caused from malfunctions of the printers as well as relatively slow printing speeds of 15 meters per minute which significantly limited throughput. These reasons prompted the production managers to look for a more reliable solution with high, durable printing quality which guarantees high productivity.

Customer solution

Atlantic Zeiser was identified as a competent system partner with long-standing experience in DoD UV-inkjet printing technology. This technology is characterized by the use of special inks that completely cure within fractions of a second when being exposed to UV light and makes the printed information extremely resistant against external influences like wear or solvents. Besides high performance DoD printing systems, Atlantic Zeiser is also known to develop and produce specific UV-ink formulas. In order to quickly and reliably feed the coded labels to the packaging line, Atlantic Zeiser developed the DIGILINE Label. The system was installed and put into operation at Meyer Pharma AG*, without making changes to the existing machinery necessary, all within one day. DIGILINE Label was developed to react on pulling impulses from the attached label applicator while the integrated label buffer automatically adapts to its cycle speed. Thanks to the maximum print speed of up to 60 meters per minute (depending on the format); a production of more than 400 labels per minute is now possible. Two independent unwinders with a splice feature were also integrated into the system to allow nearly uninterrupted production runs. Since the installation of DIGILINE Label with its reliable DoD UV-inkjet technology, production stops have become history and the amount of waste has been reduced to a minimum. Another advantage is the consistent printing quality of the contact-free printing technology as opposed to thermal transfer printers which require frequent exchange of print bars to maintain quality. With the absence of expensive ink ribbons, operating costs have been  significantly reduced thanks to DIGILINE Label. Would you like to learn more about how Atlantic Zeiser can support you to lower your process costs when coding labels for primary packaging while minimizing waste? Contact us and we would be happy to schedule a free consultation!

Ute Heiler

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