Datamax-O’Neil’s I-Class printer helps manufacturer respond to government requirements and gain higher productivity and profitability

Posted May 26, 2010

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration in China passed legislation that required pharmaceutical enterprises involved in the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical products to apply barcode identification on all unit-dose medical product packaging. As a pharmaceutical manufacturer specializing in vaccine production, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products had to find a barcode solution to meet the requirements set by the legislation. They sought the help of Datamax-O’Neil to implement a track-and-trace solution, using Datamax-O’Neil’s I-Class series industrial printers.

Wuhan Institute of Biological Products produces an average of more than 100,000 vials of various vaccines daily. These vaccines have to be delivered to health and epidemic prevention stations as well as disease control centers throughout China on time and uninterrupted to meet the daily needs of disease control and prevention. While complying with the new legislation, they also had to ensure that product identification in the manufacturing process would not impact the existing production flow or slow down productivity. To support this, the Institute required an industrial strength printer that it could rely on for mission critical and accurate barcode label printing.

Enter the I-Class series printers. The I-4208 and I-4308 barcode printers feature a tough, modular design that includes a die-cast aluminum frame that assures durability and rugged reliability. The printers come with a standard 32Bit processor and 8MB (16MB) of standard memory for fast first-label output and print speed of 8 inches per second, with a printing resolution of 203dpi (I4208) and 300dpi (I4308) respectively, perfect for printing clear and accurate barcode labels for medical packages that come in varying sizes.

Another notable advantage: the printers’ ability to provide capacity for a 450m ribbon, with a maximum capacity of up to 600m. “During production, there is no need for operators to replace media so frequently,” said Shelley Xue, Datamax-O’Neil’s Territory Manager for Northern China. “Printing is uninterrupted, and this helps our customer save both time and cost. For pharmaceutical manufacturing, the ability to produce medical products on-time can mean more lives saved. Also, our printers offer long warranty periods, which gives our customers the assurance they need.”

Centralized Printing Solution

To meet its high production requirements, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products deployed 13 printers: two units of I4208 and 11 units of I4308. It also specified it needed a centralized system capable of managing and controlling multiple printers simultaneously to save time and cost. Their solution provider recommended a solution that allowed all printers to be centrally managed by a single host device via a wireless network. From deployment to on-going supervision and troubleshooting, only one operator is involved in transmitting work commands to the printers via a PC from the control room. By utilizing the system, the production line can churn out up to 300 barcoded packages per minute. At the same time, the printing solution identifies and sorts inaccurately-coded labels that can be picked up by production operators for subsequent reprint and correction.

The full implementation of the printing system took four months. The printers are still running smoothly and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products is extremely satisfied with the printer performance. Not only did it meet the legislative requirements set by the government, it also continued to maintain its productivity level, hence achieving a win-win result.

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