What To Look For In High-Quality Pharmaceutical Ink

On the search for new pharmaceutical ink? Consider these key elements to find the best formula for your needs.

At each stop of the pharmaceutical supply chain, traceability is an essential concern. Companies must thoroughly document the pharmaceutical development/distribution process, beginning with raw material sourcing and ending with a patient sale, to comply with stringent government regulations. 

Federal laws like the Drug Quality and Security Act have established strict labeling requirements and supply chain protocols to:

  • Prove drug authenticity and help prevent counterfeit drugs from entering the market
  • Ensure that all drugs are made from safe source materials
  • Track the movement of large product batches and individual units 
  • Improve recalls with the aid of full traceability
  • Verify the authenticity of returned products

By complying with modern labeling laws, companies improve consumer safety and maintain a high degree of operational efficiency. Conversely, noncompliance can hold some serious consequences, including product recalls, fines, and, in the most serious cases, a full license revocation. 

To ensure code compliance and avoid legal issues, pharmaceutical developers must be diligent when applying traceable codes to product packaging. This not only requires a high-quality printer but also a suitable ink formula.

If you’re in the process of selecting a new pharmaceutical ink for your operation, consider the following qualities to ensure that you find the best formula to meet your needs.

Use Ink That Is Compatible With Your Substrate(s)

Naturally, the first thing to consider when selecting ink is whether a potential formula is compatible with your packaging materials. 

Built from porous, semi-porous, and non-porous materials, pharmaceutical packaging can take on a wide variety of forms. From glass bottles to paperboard cartons to flexible plastic pouches, pharmaceutical packaging companies utilize a number of substrates to keep products safe throughout the supply chain. Of course, all of these different materials have their own unique surface properties that influence the effectiveness of different ink formulas.

For example, if a line operator uses a porous-compatible ink on a semi-porous material like coated paperboard, the applied code will end up smudged and illegible. In an industry that strictly requires traceability, misapplied codes can lead to severe consequences. Consequently, it’s essential to only code pharmaceutical packaging with ink formulas designed with your packaging materials in mind. 

Similarly, it’s important to use a printer that is capable of creating the required codes. Continuous inkjet printers, for instance, are great at applying text codes and lower-resolution barcodes. However, they are frequently unable to print at high enough resolutions to create reliable data matrices—for that application, a thermal inkjet printer or thermal transfer overprinter will likely be a better fit. 

To put this subject in better perspective, consider the chart below to see the material compatibility and general specifications of today’s top pharmaceutical marking systems.

 

Continuous Inkjet Printers

Thermal Inkjet Printers

Thermal Transfer Overprinters

Average Max Printing Speed 

320 m/min

120-300 m/min

100 m/min

Max DPI Resolution

Below 100 DPI

600 x 600 DPI

600 x 600 DPI

Curved Surface Compatibility

High Compatibility

Low Compatibility 

Non-Compatible

Blister Pack Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Non-Compatible

Carton Compatibility

Compatible

Compatible

Non-Compatible

Glass Compatibility

Compatible

Compatible

Non-Compatible

Rigid Plastic Compatibility

Compatible

Compatible

Non-Compatible

Label Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Flexible Packaging Compatibility

Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Consider Environmental Concerns Both in Your Facility and Along the Distribution Chain

For traceable codes to fulfill their intended roles, they must remain legible throughout the entire product lifecycle. This means they must be able to resist elements that can affect legibility like: 

  • Physical movement
  • Humidity presence
  • High temperatures/low temperatures
  • Light exposure 
  • Oil and alcohol presence

Fortunately, today’s ink market is filled with specialty formulas designed to resist these potentially disruptive issues. 

For example, InkJet, Inc.’s portfolio contains many pharmaceutical ink options that offer:

  • Heat-resistance
  • Alcohol-resistance
  • Moisture-resistance
  • Thermochromic/color changing qualities
  • Fast drying times  

By working with a trusted ink source like InkJet, Inc., you can find a formula that will remain legible from the beginning of production until the end of the product’s lifecycle.

Looking for the Best Pharmaceutical Ink for Your Operation? Complete Your Search with the Help of InkJet, Inc. 

In an industry as highly regulated as pharmaceutical manufacturing, it’s important to work with a partner who knows the challenges of the field first-hand. At InkJet, Inc., we have been helping pharmaceutical companies achieve code compliance for over 30 years. During this time, we have developed a robust ink portfolio designed to meet the high requirements set by modern traceability standards. 

Call today to learn which formula may be right for you.

For more information on pharmaceutical ink, contact us online today or call 1(800) 280-3245

 

 

InkJet, Inc. Divider

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