Healthcare manufacturer upgrades track-and-trace capability

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Olmec-UK, a vision systems integrator in the healthcare, food and pharmaceutical sectors, has implemented a custom designed high speed in-line code reading system to meet the track and trace code reading requirements for CIP13, now mandatory in France. The system, fully integrated into the control system at a leading healthcare manufacturer, provides 100 per cent reading and verification of codes on cartons and is capable of read rates up to 1,200 cartons/min.

Since the beginning of 2011, all pharmaceutical products distributed in France are required to conform to French CIP13. This means they must have an ECC200 Data Matrix barcode that incorporates the CIP13 code, a batch number, expiration date and human readable text.

The vision system designed by Olmec reads the 2D code and text that is printed onto the carton as it leaves the cartoning machine. The 2D code is also verified according to seven parameters of ISO 15415. Cartons are automatically rejected if the 2D code is unreadable or missing, or if the text is missing or incorrect. The system provides batch reporting including statistics on the quantity of cartons manufactured and the quantity rejected. In addition, individual carton print codes can be checked and the data printed.

Full integration into the production line control system was critical to ensure that no cartons could be missed. Olmec undertook a detailed analysis of the existing control system functions including triggering and reject reconciliation as well as the failure mode of all sensors to ensure a seamless integration of the code reading system. Installation and commissioning of the system was supported with a comprehensive documentation package.