Ink Dries on Printing Acquisition
Domino Printing Sciences has acquired Alternative Printing Services GmbH (APS; Herrenberg, Germany).
Known for its innovations in thermal ink-jet (TIJ) technology, APS has invented specialty inks for use in industrial processes on a wide variety of materials, including coated paper, metals, and plastics.
Nutec Systems Inc. (Lawrenceville, NJ) is the master APS distributor in the United States. Nutec employs APS inks in Hewlett-Packard (HP) TIJ cartridges, which have been successfully used in the pharmaceutical industry for variable-data printing.
“APS TIJ will become the high-quality and high-convenience product in the Domino group range,” says Lee Metters, strategic product director for Domino UK. “It will suit users for whom self-sufficiency is a prime requirement, as well as those users who need high-quality printing, bar codes, or graphics.”
Domino now has a full range of technologies. “APS technology will become a core part of our range and will complement our range of primary, secondary, and pallet printing and labeling machines. The APS technology can be used beside Domino’s other technologies, where appropriate, so a laser code on a blister or bottle could be complemented by a TIJ carton code and a shipping box labeler, for example.”
Werner Schäffer, president of APS, says that the ability to print high-quality text, bar codes, and 2-D bar codes on a wide variety of materials are all key benefits for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing customers. “The APS printer is already able to offer serialized coding, where each pack has a unique number, at high speed. This is the technique that is being successfully used to prevent counterfeiting through providing individual pack-level traceability and authentication. The solution matches the industry goals for greater control and traceability on all pharmaceuticals and medical devices.”
Schäffer adds that APS TIJ is fast enough to match pharmaceutical manufacturing lines and does not need specialty coated materials. “There is no longer a need to wait for RFID,” he says. In addition, HP’s TIJ cartridge format requires virtually no maintenance, resulting in low downtime.
Schäffer adds that manufacturers are focusing on reliability, uptime, and output, as well as costs. “In Western Europe and the USA, there is a need to compete with the lower-cost regions of the world, so you find high levels of automation and more highly developed plants. Plant flexibility is also a key trend with many manufacturers looking for ways to reconfigure lines quickly to match their sales demands,” he explains. “TIJ offers quality with very low downtime, so it matches these market needs.”
And in the newly developed regions of Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe, there is still strong factory output growth, Schäffer notes. “Often this is through the application of labor, meaning factories are not highly automated, but they need the same coding and control. TIJ technology balances the global trends of improved quality management, traceability, and environmental sensitivity. It works equally well in a highly automated factory and right down to a simple manual production line.”