Standing Together to Meet Global Serialization Rules

Three companies unite to provide a powerful stand-alone platform.

A new system launched in Brazil at FCE Pharma is designed to offer a stand-alone solution to support different approaches to pharmaceutical product serialization. VisioCIT can handle either labeling or direct coding, reports Christoph Lehmann, director of Uhlmann VisioTec GmbH (www.visiotecamerica.com), which can position companies to meet Brazil’s pending rules as well as others around the world. “The development was driven by Brazil’s T&T law, which on one hand asks for the application of preprinted labels, but on the other hand might be direct coding,” Lehmann told PMP News. “We thought, why not build a jack-of-all-trades system to cover all? And funny enough, we already have positive feedback from other countries for this concept machine.”

 
 Close-up view of the VisioCIT system.

The system is built on the platform of Uhlmann’s L250 bottle labeling system, so the basic framework is standard, says Lehmann. The new system combines product handling and checkweighing equipment from OCS Checkweighers (www.ocs-cw.com/english/home); a label dispenser and platform from Pago Labeling (www.pago.com); and track-and-trace software, vision inspection technology, and additional coding technology if needed from Uhlmann VisioTec. Uhlmann serves as the turnkey system provider to help customers with initial specifications, installation, and use.

“OCS is Uhlmann’s partner for high-end checkweighing requirements, and Pago is our partner for all labeling concerns,” reports Lehmann. “We would work with others as well, but these two partners have been proven over the last decade to be top-notch.”

Situating serialization at the checkweigher made sense, according to Lehmann. “Checkweighing is, let’s say, 100% standard in pharma, and it requires space,” he says. “Why not use this real estate and add coding and vision as well? Vision, on the other hand, is mandatory for most customers once they start using digital technologies other than mechanical embossing, which will become obsolete with all track-and-trace initiatives globally.”

The modular, all-in-one unit can be installed on packaging lines after the cartoning station. (If customers already use one or more of the other components, the configuration of the VisioCIT can be changed to a coding and inspection system only, explains Lehmann.)

Filled and closed cartons are evaluated by the checkweigher and are only allowed to proceed downstream to labeling/printing if they meet established parameters. (Weight-based determinations may include both product and required leaflets.)

VisioCIT then directs the system to apply serialized codes, which could be either predetermined codes or just-in-time randomized serialized numbers. An on-board vision inspection system captures and verifies the codes and then stores them as active serial numbers that can be recognized during further packaging and data-processing procedures. According to Uhlmann, once a product has run through the VisioCIT system, it can be considered complete.

Preserialized labesl can be handled by VisioCIT.

All weighing, coding, and verification processes can be accomplished at high speeds (up to 300 cartons per minute) to achieve high OEE, reports Uhlmann.Thanks to a stand-alone design, all VisioCIT processes can be validated separately and independently from existing packaging processes. The system can expand to include alternative modules and technologies for tamper-evident labeling, ink-jet printing, or laser marking.

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