Inline or offline coding – based on the same technologies

Flexible marking & coding for the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical product packaging is there to make sure the products can be tracked, traced and protected from piracy. It must also provide consumers with various information, such as the expiration date. With a raft of marking and coding solutions on offer using various technologies, KBA-Metronic enables the subtle and economic marking of pharmaceutical packaging in large batches and small runs.

The international pharmaceutical industry is often an easy target for product piracy and medicine counterfeits. Online sales channels are especially at risk as they can be used as a platform for circulating fake or copied medicine of dubious quality. Along with damaging the patient's health, the reputation of the brand's owners might also be damaged.

Track & trace measures including the coding of pharmaceutical packaging with individual serial numbers detect counterfeits. "The effort associated with track & trace is great, but with the appropriate coding and marking systems this can be kept within reasonable economic limits," says Oliver Volland, managing director of KBA-Metronic.

Marking and coding systems integrated into the production line are suitable for batch production. Flexible offline marking systems are the better choice for small runs as well as limited special campaigns in terms of time and space.

As a coding and marking system specialist, the KBA subsidiary offers solutions for both cases with various technologies and is thus able to offer tailor-made solutions for almost every coding application.

High print quality with thermal inkjet (TIJ)

betaJET thermal inkjet printers from KBA-Metronic print freely programmable plain text, codes and logos with a resolution of up to 600 dpi. Even the smallest characters are legible with this resolution. Suitable reading devices can import coded data in the complete logistics chain from the wholesale to the pharmacy and guarantee the traceability and authenticity of the PPN code and serial number.

An important point to consider when choosing a coding system is maintenance, in particular the exchange of worn parts. The betaJET does not contain any moving parts in its ink supply system which could interrupt production and cartridges can be changed quickly and easily by the operator. The automatic ink-saving mode as standard limits costs linked to consumables.

Thermal inkjet printers are thus suited to coding the outer carton or plastic packaging of pharmaceutical products.

Smear- and smudge-proof with laser

Using a laser is ideal for the pin sharp, permanent coding of pharmaceutical products and packaging at high speeds. laserSYSTEM coding systems meet the demanding requirements of the pharmaceutical industry (21 CFR part 11) and code a variety of surfaces as well as a raft of materials permanently without smearing or smudging.

The laserSYSTEM series has proven itself in the pharmaceutical industry where it is used for coding paper and carton, plastic film as objects made from PET, PVC, PP, PA and glass. When equipped with a CO2 laser plastic film can even be cut, perforated and scored.

Offline coding

Some pharmaceutical products are only made in limited quantities. Fully automatic production lines equipped with integrated coding devices do not pay-off for promotional, seasonal or special products with low batch sizes. Nevertheless, such pharmaceutical products must still be coded. Manual coding and marking is likely to end in errors and amount in high costs. Semi-automatic coding systems meet these criteria without going over budget.

This versatile offline coding system can print on flat-lying folding boxes, carton blanks, single sheets, blister packs, paper blanks, ISO board, block bottom bags and other containers.


Available with various printing technologies

Compared to manual solutions, semi-automatic coding with the udaFORMAXX is not only more cost effective, but it is also safer and faster due to its interruption-free operation. Operators are able to refill the cartridge without stopping production. In addition, the system can also be equipped with various printing technologies.

Oliver Volland: "The most ideal coding solution in terms of technology and economy is determined based on the individual requirements. Our betaJET thermal inkjet systems and the laserSYSTEM series are predominantly suited to the counterfeit-proof, serial coding of pharmaceutical products."