Safapac’ s standard batch code printing onto bottles and cartons is by inkjet printers as a text format – pallets, labels and batch coding are computer generated and the labels are then hand applied. A request was made to print 2D datamatrix batch coding on products for the French market in compliance with the SC Trace / Crystal Standards, including Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC). This standard was to be rolled out in France in 2016 and is now being implemented in Holland. To achieve the above request, the requirements of the Standard had to be understood as well as what new printing technology would be required to print these 2D datamatrix and SSCC’s.
How requirements were met
Two documents were provided from the customer to work with – these detailed what data was required and in what format. They also referred to the GS1 standard of coding. These firstly had to be understood so that coherent discussions could be carried out with customers; and when sourcing / trailing of the printer hardware / software.
A problem first incurred was finding a printer with the correct form of software – suitable printers on the market appeared to only be set up for the pharma sector and not for the specified industry. This meant that there was a difference in the application identifiers used.
The printers were trialled regardless in terms of print quality, ink quality and software adaption. The trialled printers were then customer approved and purchased. Once ability was proven, the next challenge was how the code would be verified, stored and data provided to the customer.
The steps involved to verify the printer capability were as follows; scanners / software had to be trialled and purchased, the SOP for checking had to be created, training of personnel undertaken, data storage checked, ERP system had to be updated to hold data, IP data storage changed to hold live data, data exported to customer and a new reporting system had to be designed to contain traceability information.
The implementation of this new procedure and the steps involved to make the customer requests a reality show the commitment & dedication within the technical team that allow these new concepts to take off.
A number of countries, including Turkey, now require each bottle to be separately numbered and allocated to cartons and pallets. The above systems have been extended to cater for this pack serialisation.