Domino & Intrex Provide an Integrated Coding Solution for Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Aspen

Get in touch

Project background

Looking back on a 170-year heritage, Aspen is a global specialty and branded pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Durban, South Africa and offices in more than 50 countries. Aspen focuses on manufacturing post-patent, branded medicines and domestic brands. Their manufacturing capabilities cover a wide variety of product types including steriles, oral solid dose, liquids, semi-solids, biologicals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Domino Printing Sciences (Domino) has worked with Aspen for many years, via Intrex, a Domino distributor and trusted Polish machine manufacturer specialising in complete solutions for the coding and marking process. Domino and Intrex have worked together on a number of projects implementing CO2 Laser and TTO (thermal transfer overprinting) coding technologies at Aspen.

For their production site in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, Aspen was now searching for a new labelling and coding machine for a bottle filling and packaging line. The line produces 150 bottles per minute; each bottle requires a serialised traceability label, and a separate on-product identification code on the base of the bottle.

To meet Aspen’s needs Domino and Intrex collaborated to provide an automated coding solution for the line in Bad Oldesloe. The total coding solution deployed by Intrex, features a U510 UV laser and V320i TTO printer, to provide serialised traceability coding onto labels and bottles.


Fast Facts

  • The strict regulatory specifications of global pharmaceuticals dictate that only perfectly coded products can enter the supply chain. Pharmaceutical manufacturing lines therefore require robust and reliable coding solutions, alongside automated machine vision for quality control and inspection.
  • Aspen required a complete, automated coding solution for marking the labels and bases of pharmaceutical bottles, delivered from a single supplier. The solution needed to be user-friendly, and easily operated by a single human machine interface (HMI).
  • Domino and Intrex’s collaborative approach resulted in the successful implementation of an integrated UV laser and TTO traceability coding solution with automated machine vision, for Aspen’s pharmaceutical lines.
Aspen montage lr

Finding a solution

Aspen needed a solution for a liquid filling line producing 150 bottles per minute. The bottles required labels containing serialised traceability data, as well as direct product codes on the bases for identification on high racks. An integrated machine vision control and rejection system is key to ensure only correctly labelled and coded bottles enter the supply chain. The whole solution needed to be user-friendly requiring as little intervention as possible, avoiding error and related downtime and waste.

Working closely with Domino, Intrex developed the complete solution for Aspen. The final design includes a V320i TTO printer for coding the bottle labels for Aspen’s HDPE pharmaceutical bottles. An automated machine vision system checks each label and ensures that only correctly coded labels are dispensed onto the bottles. A rejection system automatically disposes of any defective bottles.

The base of each bottle is then marked with a code used for allocation in a high bay warehouse. It is essential for Aspen that these codes are consistent, and readable, despite uneven bottle bases. For this coding step, Intrex supplied a Domino U510 UV laser, which is especially suited to coding the HDPE plastic material and provides superior code quality, with a compact design allowing for easy integration into the confined space available in the machinery. As a final step, the base codes are checked by a second machine vision system, ensuring only perfect bottles go into the supply chain.

All components within the coding solution can be operated via a single HMI, so that Aspen’s operators can monitor all processes on the line from a single location, improving the ease of use and operational effectiveness.

We have been working with Domino for a long time, and we have implemented various projects with CO2 lasers and thermal transfer printers working together. The new UV laser has achieved excellent results for coding the bottom of the bottles.Thorsten Hadwiger, Project Manager at Aspen

Need more information?

Contact us about our innovative and award-winning printing and marking solutions.

Get in touch