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Pharmaceutical product traceability assured through advanced 2-D code reading


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Within the pharmaceutical industry, stringent legislation exists to combat counterfeit goods by ensuring each product can be traced throughout the supply chain. In order to achieve the required levels of traceability, manufacturers are increasingly reliant on printed 2-D codes combined with advanced code reading technology.

As a major international integrator of Item Level Serialization and Tracking Solutions, Advanco works together with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers installing Automatic Identification (Auto-ID) throughout the complete supply chain to ensure product traceability.

As fulfilment of the second phase regulation of the Drug Tracking System and the ackaging Tracking System as defined by the Ministry of Health of Turkey, Advanco recently installed a complete traceability solution for one of its key global manufacturers.

With over 60 million medicine boxes manufactured and distributed each year from the facility in Turkey, accurate and reliable code reading were essential to achieve the required levels of traceability. Furthermore, the ability to read multiple codes within one field of view as well as any potentially blurred or distorted codes were challenging application requirements.

An Integrated Solution

Designed as a pre-shipment product traceability solution, Advanco has developed an Optical Box™, comprising of a Cognex® In-Sight® ID reader and an innovative light system that provides the most suitable environment for multiple code reading. Extensive research and testing had been carried out to analyze various code reading technology options involving both Cognex ID readers and other manufacturers’ products. The results concluded that Cognex was the only company to provide suitable ID readers with the advanced vision technology capable of consistently reading multiple codes within one field of view, as well as being able to read distorted or blurred codes.

A 2-D Data Matrix code is printed onto the surface of each medicine package using an inkjet printer. The boxes are then shrink wrapped in batches of up to 25 and placed manually into the Optical Box. In just 1.4 seconds, the Cognex In-Sight 5615 ID reader decodes all 2-D codes in a single action, the information is processed by Advanco’s ARC software and is displayed for the operator. Any defective products trigger the alarm and are removed. This procedure not only ensures all packages ready for shipment are fully traceable, but also improves production processes for both code marking and wrapping operations as any defects can be addressed immediately.

Advanco’s workstation, including the Optical Box, was installed at the customer’s manufacturing facility and further testing was carried out across the range of products to ensure the solution could maintain high read rates regardless of changes in product size or shape. Following a successful trial period, ten workstations were integrated.

Customer Benefits

From the outset, the code reading solution has ensured high read rates for all products, even when the 2-D codes have been obscured by the plastic shrink wrap. With these accurate and reliable read rates, the customer is now 100% satisfied that all 2-D codes are fully readable before leaving the facility.

Following the success of this project, further installations are currently planned with the customer. In addition, the Optical Box traceability solution is due to be rolled out to other pharmaceutical companies across Turkey and the rest of Europe.

Dr Olgun Yenersoy, Managing Director of Advanco commented, “Having tested many other vision cameras on the market, Cognex’s extensive range of cameras and ID readers offers unrivalled code reading capabilities, with each product being both reliable and easy to integrate. Our continued partnership with Cognex provides us with the latest in advanced vision technology which in turn, ensures our customers comply with stringent industry regulations regarding product traceability.”

About Advanco

Advanco is a major international player in the integration of solutions for Item Level Serialization and Track-and-Trace involving Automatic Identification throughout the entire supply chain.

Since its creation in 1981, Advanco has always been at the forefront of innovation. The R&D budgets invested by Advanco are well above average for the technological sector.

Today Advanco is considered as an expert in serialization and tracking of items. Life-Sciences, Food and Consumer Products sectors are covered with our proven turn-key solutions.

Advanco is a recognized SAP partner for supply chain management with components expertise in serialization and tracking. Many applications are already running live with major players in the pharmaceutical sector.

Leader in Serialization in Pharma and in Life-Sciences
  • Solutions integrator with rich heritage in MES, Auto-D and Track-and-Trace
  • Certified partnerships as “expert” solution integrator
  • SAP and Microsoft
  • Active member of GS1 Global
  • References in production and distribution with serialization
  • 60 serialized lines live with validation (GAMP 5)

Applied R&D

  • Tested and Certified by SAP and Microsoft
  • Supported by the Belgium Government
  • Collaboration with SAP Research

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