New Team Forms to Accelerate Security

Debuting at Pack Expo International, the four-company collaboration seeks to reduce the complexity of serialization and aggregation.

A group of packaging solution providers have come together to provide a single team that can help drug companies prepare for upcoming electronic pedigree and serialization requirements.

Acsis Inc. (Marlton, NJ), Cognex Corp. (Natick, CT), Nosco (Gurnee, IL), and Omega Design (Exton, PA) have formed “4 Serialization,” a collaboration that includes software, inspection, machinery, and labeling solutions that can be employed on a pharmaceutical packaging line. Acsis provides software to support supply-chain visibility and traceability data collection; Cognex develops machine vision sensors, systems, and software; Nosco prints and supplies preserialized pharmaceutical packaging; and Omega Design builds and integrates machinery on packaging lines.

A FANUC robot presents a bundle of serialized bottles to a
Cognex vision system to aggregate the bottle codes to the
bundle code.

At Omega Design’s booth at Pack Expo International 2010, the team set up a bottle packaging line to demonstrate how a serialization strategy could be implemented. After exiting an accumulator, round bottles are printed with serialized 2-D Data Matrix bar codes under the oversight of Omega’s Intelli-Sort system, which codes and verifies bottles while unscrambling them.

The codes are printed on the bottom of the bottles, and an Omega-built mechanical system rotates the bottles to present them to a Cognex machine vision system for data capture and verification. As the bottles move to a checkweigher integrated by Omega, Cognex’s OmniView system takes four pictures of each bottle and stitches them together to create a 360° image of each bottle. This approach enables companies to continue using round bottles without worrying about bottle orientation.

Preserialized 2-D bar codes printed by Nosco on the bottle label are captured along with other bottle and label attributes by the DataSync system and then linked to the 2-D codes printed on the bottom of the bottles using LabelSync. Creating the association between the two codes at the checkweigher also allows the system to include other item data such as weight and closure torque, explains John DiPalo, Acsis’s chief technology officer. DataSync and LabelSync can be integrated at any point in the line, however.

The bottles then move on to an Omega MMX shrink bundler, where another 2-D bar code is printed and applied to the bundle. The bundled bottles then pass by a Cognex camera that captures the bundle code, and a FANUC robot picks up each bundle and presents the underside of the bundle to another Cognex camera, which aggregates each bottom-situated bottle code to the bundle code using PackSync.

Data are then transmitted to Acsis’s Serialized Packaging Data Management Module within the Productrack Suite, which can create and manage relationships among items, bundles, cases, and pallets. The system can accommodate other aggregations as well as manual or rework, adds DiPalo.

The line on display at Pack Expo is just one model of how a pharmaceutical line can handle serialization and aggregation, the companies report. At Pack Expo PMP News editor Daphne Allen witnessed the line and was told by that the team "takes a modular approach and really focuses on flexibility. "We realize many companies already have lines in place that need to be converted to support serialization, so we can work with existing equipment and add new systems and structures where needed. It does not have to be a rip-and-replace scenario," a team member explained at Omega's booth.

Omega Design has built a system to present 2-D bar codes printed on the bottom of bottles to a Cognex vision system for code verification and data capture.

The 4 Serialization team is preparing to help companies accomplish the following (as stated in a press release):

*Achieve compliance with the approaching ePedigree and serialization mandates by working with solution partners who know the industry and its requirements.
*Build a solution that is flexible enough to meet specific individual needs.
*Engineer packaging with preserialized 2D and RFID solutions and launch structured pilot programs and production scale-ups.
*Maximize results without affecting machine speeds and accuracy.

The 4 Serialization team can provide an enterprise strategy for compliance that can combine 2-D- and RFID-enabled printed packaging, packaging execution systems, distribution execution systems, and ePedigree solutions that can integrate into existing ERP and enterprise applications.

The team speaks in a Webcast December 9 to explain how it can help drug and contract producers launch pilots and scale-up in a cohesive and practical way to avoid common pitfalls. We are also pleased to have Bob Celeste, Director at GS1 Healthcare U.S., offer an update on serialization and electronic pedigree developments in the United States.

Register here!



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