TRACK AND TRACE: Single-Source Solution
Domino's new software brings one-stop serialization to pharma packaging.
By Anastasia Thrift
Dominoï¿½s new user-friendly software helps companies with coding and marking for 2-D Data Matrix labels, as well as enabling RFID serialization technology.
In addition to its printing capabilities, Domino (Cambridge, United Kingdom) now provides software for serialization. The company acquired German software solutions provider Control Information Technology (Koblenz, Germany) to offer pharmaceutical and medical packagers consolidated support to achieve serialization and compliance.
Domino completed the acquisition of Control in November and began immediately offering this service to its customers. With the software, integrated controllers interface with existing databases within packaging companies. John Pitts, U.S. pharma business development manager at Domino, emphasizes the ease of use that the new software will provide customers. The Java-based program works with all operating systems and incorporates easily with existing infrastructure.
“The advantage is that we can talk to any OS; we can talk to popular ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems that we would need to interface with,” Pitts says. “It runs on all server and client architecture.”
The decision to acquire the new technology came from Domino’s intention to provide full-spectrum solutions to its customers. With increased anti-counterfeiting and pedigree initiatives, Domino felt a responsibility to ease customer adoption of new standards.
“It is a new product for us,” Pitts says. “It’s something completely different for a coding and marking supplier to provide the software as something to provide the complete solution.”
“Product identification is really what we consider our core competency to allow companies to put date and lot codes on their merchandise,” Pitts says. “We see serialization as part of product identification and our core competency.”
Pitts continues: “After looking, we decided to buy Control in Germany. To be able to do serialization, we need software that can do this on the packaging line at production line speeds. We are one of the few vendors to do this.”
Apart from the software initiative, Domino has also engaged in a U.S. pilot program for hybrid RFID and 2-D Data Matrix serialization tracking. Domino is providing the 2-D code printing to a major U.S. pharmaceutical company participating in the trial program.
“We’re providing the printing system to provide the Data Matrix to the pharma company,” Pitts says, “We aim to prove it’s operable on the packaging line at speeds up to 200 bottles a minute, to prove they can test and code the RFID tags, and that they can do the matching 2-D printing all at production line speeds.”
This follows a recent European program that also combined Data Matrix and RFID technologies. This Pharma Traceability Pilot came about because of continuously rising drug counterfeiting in Europe. Domino contributed EPC Gen2 RFID tags for the pilot, which tracked more than 20 product lines through the supply chain.
The pilot used software that fits with EPCglobal’s e-pedigree standard to convey information. This makes it directly applicable to U.S. use, where it can be applied to current initiatives to create e-pedigrees for total supply chain visibility.
Domino uses binary, continuous ink-jet (CIJ) printing, thermal ink-jet (TIJ), drop-on demand, thermal-transfer, (TTO), print and apply, and laser technologies per customer requirements. CIJ technology was the company’s original focus.
Now Domino looks for additional innovative technologies, such as the above and valve-jet printing and laser coding and fume extraction. Their global reach has spread across Europe, India, China, and the United States.