By implementing DataLase Casemark, drug manufacturers can reap in cost savings of around 30 to 50 per cent for a medium volume line, providing a rapid payback on investment in less than a year, Steve Kelly, CEO told In-PharmaTechnologist at a recent web conference.
This new labeling process applies the Casemark material directly onto the packaging substrate in the required mark area and a computer controlled beam of laser light 'writes' the required data onto that area, which then undergoes a colour change reaction where the laser light strikes, so imaging occurs without contact with the substrate.
"This unique laser light technique replaces the need for out-dated paper labels, provides a much higher resolution than inkjet printing, and is the only system capable of delivering a consistently verifiable bar code on-line-and-direct-to-carton," said Kelly.
"Barcode quality and consistency is logistically very important to the pharmaceutical supply chain and this groundbreaking process provides significant benefits over these traditional print-and-apply labelling techniques," said Kelly.
The process has no costly production waste, as it requires no inks, ribbons or applicators, and unlike printing inks or inkjet fluids, the laser-marked image is not prone to 'bleeding' on absorbent substrates.
Because the imaging occurs without contact with the substrate, there is also no physical induced thermal print head wear, and so the system is virtually maintenance free, and enjoys an almost 100 per cent production uptime, said the company.
Furthermore, this non-contact laser imaging process allows for late pack customisation to take place at any point in the packaging line or the retail chain, meaning that on-line marketing information such as special offers and promotions, as well as brand and product changes, can be readily updated, eliminating the need for expensive reprints, said the company.
"This gives customers the edge in marketing and also enables them to customise print runs, reduce stock keeping units and also reduce lead time for design changes," said Kelly.
Later this year the British firm also plans to launch a tablet marking system, Pharmamark, for recording medication, dosage, origin, and patient details with the goals of eliminating medication errors and counterfeiting and enhancing traceability.
As a result of this hive of activity, the materials science firm has recently expanded its UK facility in Widnes, Cheshire.