RFID for product traceability continues to gain steam in the life sciences and consumer packaged goods. Offerings are now touting high-speed applications that do not disrupt production output.
WLS, a ProMach product brand, introduced its latest RFID labeling solutions at Pack Expo Las Vegas booth #C-3518. The company has adapted its high-speed pressure sensitive label applicators and label printers to incorporate new RFID technology for vials, bottles, tubes, syringes and devices. The offerings on show can also be applied to industries beyond healthcare for authentication and inventory control.
The RFID labels are dynamic in that they can lock-in select variable data, while allowing other variable data to be updated through the life of the product. While batch numbers and other identifiers remain static, manufacturers and health systems benefit from dynamic product tracking and updates such a dosages and expiration dates. As the company explains, “This simplifies inventory control for end users while providing product verification and authenticity for manufacturers.” Because customer needs vary from new labeler implementation to modular, off-line options, WLS is launching labelers, label application systems, and print stands:
- RFID-Ready Labelers apply pressure sensitive labels embedded with RFID inlays from the converter, while preserving the integrity to the RFID chips and antennas. “The RFID labels are read, written (encoded), locked or unlocked (as required), verified, applied to the product and re-verified (as needed),” WLS reports. Variable data printing with vision inspection systems can be coupled with RFID-Ready Labelers.
- For customers looking to keep their existing labels and incorporate RFID, WLS offers a flexible option in its RFID-Enabled Label Application Systems. The first label head releases a standard pressure sensitive label onto the vacuum drum while the second label head releases the wet RFID tag, synchronized and centered, onto the standard pressure sensitive label, enabling the vacuum drum to apply both the wet RFID tag with the standard pressure sensitive label onto the product. Encoded and verified wet RFID tags are married to the standard label and applied to the product, with a re-verification option if needed.
- For an off-line solution, RFID-Ready Print Stands are designed to print on pressure sensitive labels embedded with RFID inlays from the converter. “Utilizing an off-line, stand-alone, on-demand RFID-Ready Print Stand allows WLS customers to adopt RFID labeling without altering or upgrading their existing labelers,” says the company. “The high-speed RFID-Ready Print Stands incorporate full-label vision inspection with rejected label removal and verification, verifying the printed label and the encoded RFID tag.”
“Given our extensive experience integrating variable data printers, vision inspection systems and serialization with our high-speed labelers, RFID is a natural progression for us,” said Peter Sarvey, director of business development at WLS. “The adoption of RFID labels is being driven by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers that want to offer improved traceability and product authentication as well as end users who require products with a dynamic fingerprint to track dosages and inventories. RFID labels can be valuable to any industry interested in improving traceability and product authentication, not just hospitals and pharmacies.”