New Domino inkjet caters for track-and-trace

Domino G-SeriesAs pharmaceutical manufacturers around the world start down the path of serialising their products, printing technology suppliers are stepping up with new systems to make coding faster and more robust.

That includes Domino Printing Sciences, which recently introduced a new product in its thermal inkjet printer range - the G series - that has been designed to cater for the needs of manufacturers seeking to print 2D bar codes and other machine readable formats in order to fulfil track-and-trace requirements.

It is particularly well suited for printing datamatrix codes such as will be used in the pilot project currently being run in Sweden by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA), according to Domino UK Ltd's pharma business manager, Simon Smith.

"The G series allows you to print high-quality, 2D datamatrix barcodes at speed on the production line," he said in a recent interview. 

The system has a maximum speed of 300 metres per minute, but can handle a 2D datamatrix, as well as four lines of other code, at a speed of around 100m/min, he added.

"Traditional printing technologies, such as continuous inkjet, would run that task at a speed of around 10m/min to achieve high-quality," according to Smith.

The G-Series also offers both water- and solvent-based inks, a feature which is unique in the marketplace, he added. Historically, thermal inkjet printers have made use of water-based inks, which means they can only print onto porous substrates. Domino's use of ethanol-based inks means that printing can also be done on varnished surfaces.

The G-Series' intelligent printhead is another asset in the fight against counterfeiting, as up to four can be synchronised via a single controller that works in real-time to process and queue up to 16 messages in the print buffer.

The result is a print solution capable of fulfilling "complex coding and marking requirements simultaneously on four different production lines with different ink types," according to Domino.

Domino acquired the technology underpinning the G-Series along with German company Alternative Printing Services GmbH at the end of 2008, to complement its other printing technologies such as the D-series laser coding systems, which also have applications in the track-and-trace arena.

"This completes the range of coding technologies at Domino, from product to pallet," said Smith. "We can now supply coders that work on blisters, cartons and flexible packaging, shipping cartons and pallets - a real end-to-end offering."

Domino has a partnership in place with packaging security systems specialist Laetus and OCS Checkweighers to provide a single, integrated system for track-and-trace applications.

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