Automating Security

Two sister companies, one with experience in information technology and another with a history of providing pharmaceutical packaging inspection and security solutions, team up to bring efficiency to item-level serialization.

Coesia Group, controlling a multinational portfolio of automated machinery businesses in different industries, has combined the expertise of two of its sister companies, G.D and Laetus, to develop C-TTS, a track and trace solution for pharmaceutical packaging applications. With G.D’s knowledge of complex IT solutions in packaging machines and Laetus’ experience in packaging security solutions in the pharmaceutical sector, a competent team was established.

 
A dedicated module from Laetus can be added to packaging lines to position cartons for coding and verification of serialized Data Matrix and human-readable codes.

C-TTS features a module-based system that can bring item-level serialization to existing packaging lines. Following the suggestion by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) that a serialized 2-D Data Matrix be added to cartons, C-TTS features printing and vision inspection technology along with needed software for producing verifiable 2-D codes. (In addition, France’s new CIP-13 code will require a Data Matrix code by December 2010, and U.S. companies may begin printing the 2-D code to meet FDA’s draft guidance on serialized NDC for package-level standard numerical identification.)

“Global pharmaceutical companies are considering investments to add such Data Matrix codes, but they must still remain efficient on their packaging lines,” says JÖrg Liedtke, sales and marketing manager, Pharma Track and Trace, Coesia Group. “They have to verify printed content, which if not produced properly could increase reject rates and affect line efficiencies,” he says. “To meet new requirements, such as Turkey’s new law, drug manufacturers are printing both a Data Matrix encoded with the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), serial number, batch, and expiration date, as well as all encoded information in human readable numbers. They need printing technology as well as the software and OCV/OCR systems to support it.”

Producing such codes on high-speed lines is part of the challenge. “You need smooth package handling for printing Data Matrix,” Liedtke says. “The heavy vibration of a cartoning machine, for instance, can influence printing.”

C-TTS provides modules for integration into packaging stations or cells where cartons or other units are individually inspected, marked, and verified. The modules provide hardware to facilitate package handling, printing, and inspection as well as software that can receive, generate, transmit, and archive serialization data. Each module features its own XML connecting interface.
Off-the-shelf software allows packaging and IT departments to communicate data so that information flows in and out of corporate ERP/MES systems with minimal interruption to lines or existing corporate infrastructure. Up to 250,000 codes can be processed per second and stored in a track-and-trace repository.

“Multilayer systems made up of technology and software are needed to comply with serialization rules,” he says. “But line efficiency must be maintained.” ■

C-TTS is an off-the-shelf track-and-trace solution designed to plug into corporate and plant manufacturing through industry-standard interfaces, report Laetus and G.D, part of the Coesia Group.

 

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