Optel Vision Expands Product Line

By adding a printing component, a company completes a track-and-trace suite.

By Anastasia Thrift

Inspection equipment company Optel Vision (Quebec City, QC, Canada) recently added a printing line to complete a track-and-trace suite for pharmaceutical and medical packaging. Calling it their Capture and Control (C&C) system, Optel works with pharma packagers to create serialization solutions that will secure lines via linear, 2-D, or Data Matrix bar codes.

Item-level codes can be verified on the label web or on bottles.

The reason behind the expansion was that Optel wanted to offer a complete turnkey solution at the packaging level. The company hopes its features can meet anticipated customer
concerns.

“We have sensed more interest in the last three months, and the pharma companies to whom we present our solution are impressed with how configurable our system is,” says Jean-Pierre Allard, serialization product manager.

“We consider being easily configurable as one of the most important assets. FDA standards are not completely defined, and customers do not want to spend extra money to reconfigure their EPC format or layout every time the standards will be revised,” he continues.

Optel aims to secure drug supply chains by implementing a coding system that will appear on labels and be read by its vision inspection system—the capture portion of the suite. The control arm refers to the aggregation phase, collecting the codes via hand-held scanners. C&C manages the current production batch database by knowing what code will be printed, and Allard says it made sense to control the coders directly.

“C&C is meant to be the unique entry point of the batch parameter such as the lot number and the expiry date,” Allard says. “That information is then printed by all the different line coders [at item level, bundle, case, pallet, etc.] all using the information entered only once by the operator.”

The line can be divided into components. Some options available for single-line implementation include one system for item-level labeling with any combination of label coding, RFID encoding, inspection of web or labeled product, and ejection. Automatic aggregation systems (bundler, case packer, etc.) work with some or all of aggregation inspection, label coding, an RFID encoding, label inspection, and ejection. Finally, system(s) for manual aggregation (case, pallets) can be customized with an RFID scanner, bar code or 2-D scanner, or table coder.

If there is a manual aggregation station in single-line implementation, the Optel Bridge will be embedded in it. That consists of the database management, a connection to plant EPCIS, an interface for recipe and batch configuration, and user management (password and access level).

When used on multiple lines, packagers can take advantage of additional systems to organize product. A master system, the Optel Bridge, connects to every C&C line. It gathers the product recipe, manages the users password and access level, and interfaces directly with the plant EPCIS. If the plant has a central automatic or manual palletizing system, C&C can track and trace the pallet contents and generate labels with unique numbers

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