Canadian Packaging

Veterinary Pharmaceuticals: Reliable Coding for Animal Care Products


December 11, 2009
by Kate Jennings, Markem-Imaje

For those who think that date coding is only important on products intended for human consumption, Bimeda-MTC, a veterinary pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Ont., wants you to think again.

Just as pharmaceuticals intended for people, veterinary pharmaceuticals also need to be safe and effective, and though it differs by country, the products are also required to adhere to strict regulatory rules.

Date, lot and expiration coding on veterinary pharmaceutical products is of extreme importance—not only so that the products can be distributed and used in a timely manner, but also to ensure that products can be traced back to their production source should there ever be any question about the product’s integrity.

Bimeda provides veterinarians and owners of livestock, horses and pets with products manufactured in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-, Health Canada– and European Union-approved facility. The level of regulatory standards upheld at this one Canadian location allows the company to ship products all around the world. 

Offering a wide range of high quality products that are distributed through veterinarians and over-the-counter outlets, Bimeda is also a major contract manufacturer for several well-known animal health companies.

In addition to manufacturing, the company undertakes the majority of its own packaging at the Cambridge facility with some of its products packaged utilizing flow-wrap technology, while other products are sold in fully-printed packaging.

To meet quality standards, it is imperative that each product leaving the facility has lot and expiration date information applied before being shipped to its final destination. To make things more complicated, the codes are specific to each customer.

In order to mark every product with an accurate lot and expiration code, Bimeda had initially utilized hot stamp coders that were affixed to labeling machines. While it seemed like a simple solution, it soon became evident that this technology was not reliable for Bimeda’s pharmaceutical packaging, as the codes would often rub off either in transit or in handling.

That’s when Bimeda started searching for a new, more dependable coding technology.

According to Bimeda production supervisor Mario Oliveira, “We were looking for a printing technology that would be easy to set up and would immediately provide us with good and reliable print quality. We went to three different sources looking for a reliable and reasonably priced printing solution.

“But, after we investigated the Markem-Imaje solutions, we were sold. Ultimately, there was really no comparison.”

The solution implemented by Bimeda is the Markem-Imaje SmartDate 5 Advance thermal transfer printer for coding—a leading solution for over-the-counter drug manufacturers. Offering high-quality, durable coding at the fastest print speeds, the SmartDate 5 Oliveira believed it to be the missing piece from the Bimeda packaging line.

Purchased through Markem-Imaje Canada headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., it even customized the equipment for Bimeda: it was measured and installed utilizing a special bracket, so that the new printing technology would integrate seamlessly with the existing packaging machinery, and not the other way around.

Because the printer is designed to work on numerous substrates (flow-wraps, bags, tray seals, pouches, sachets, vacuum packs and labels), it was perfectly suited to the needs at Bimeda, where packaging varies by product and customer. And the SmartDate 5 printer is capable of rapid changeovers—that means that the company’s needs for different codes for their wide range of customers is not a problem, and does not impede the production process.

Just as companies rely on accurate coding and marking for the human pharmaceutical products that allow folks to live healthy lives, animal caregivers rely on these markings to assure the safety and well-being of their animals and to protect their investments. Companies and individuals procuring Bimeda products can rest assured that the products they rely on are accurately coded thanks to Markem-Imaje technology.

About Markem-Imaje
Markem-Imaje is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York-based Dover Group and is a trusted world manufacturer of product identification and traceability solutions, offering a full line of reliable and innovative inkjet, thermal transfer, laser, print and apply label systems and RFID-based systems.
With more than 95 years of experience, Markem-Imaje delivers fully integrated solutions that enable product quality and safety, regulatory and retailer compliance, better product recalls and improved manufacturing processes. Headquartered in Bourg-les-Valence, France, Markem-Imaje employs more than 2,800 people in 33 worldwide subsidiaries, including Markem-Imaje Canada in Mississauga, Ont. and provides more than 30,000 customers with optimal product marking and coding solutions.
Additionally, customer support is supported via six Markem-Imaje R&D centers, several equipment repair centers and manufacturing plants strategically located around the globe.

For more information, visit www.markem-imaje.com.