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Packaging Process Safety

The safety of packaging media in automatic packaging processes with Data Matrix ECC 200

Data Matrix ECC 200 Code
Data Matrix ECC 200 Code

For almost thirty years in pharmaceutical packaging the identity and the correct matching of the packaging media to the pharmaceutical code has been assured. Thus a system was born, which for the first time in the world guaranteed thorough product identification right across the board in fast processing by means of a bar code - and for an entire division of industry.

However, the pharmaceutical code is certainly also a child of its time. Current technologies have enabled essential improvements to be made.


Data Matrix ECC 200 – Data without limits

Pharmaceutical code compared to data matrix code
Pharmaceutical code compared to data matrix code

Data Matrix is able to encode data in any desired form and in almost any desired amount.  A complete DIN A4 page could be accommodated. In manufacturing processes this is not necessary, where space problems play a different role.

This illustration shows the difference very impressively - Coding space requirement for the same print requirements:

  • Pharmaceutical code data content: 5 decimal places
  • Data Matrix-Code: 10 decimal places

All the advantages at a glance!

  • Data quantity
    Whether numerical, alphanumeric or the complete ASCII table – everything can be coded, up to the order of magnitude of 1000 characters and more
  • Data security
    The read out of incorrect data is practically impossible. A highly-developed mathematical error detection procedure prevents reading errors
  • Readability
    Data Matrix ECC 200 incorporates an error correction procedure, which reconstructs up to 30% of destroyed data. Thus adequate compensation is provided for poor print, soiling and other negative influences
  • Space requirement
    Data Matrix ECC 200 can be scaled over wide ranges. If a high quality printing process is available, then module sizes of 0.2 mm can be achieved. A code with 10 numerical data points then has a surface requirement, including a rest zone, of less than 9qmm (3mm x 3mm)
  • Future security
    Data Matrix ECC 200 is a standard in accordance with ISO 16022. It has been acclaimed by many notable industrial organizations as the respective industrial standard. The clear signs are that it will be the subject of intensive further evolution in the coming years, particularly from a technological point of view. This will ensure that the user can continue to enjoy the benefits of the availability of the most up-to-date equipment at an economic price

Code reading in practice: Data Matrix code reading on folding automats

Data Matrix code reading on folding automats
Data Matrix code reading on folding automats

This has always been the greatest challenge in the field of pharmaceutical packaging: The paper folding automat.

The adjacent illustration shows the solution. Data Matrix reading under the stack using an angled optical system and on the reverse side during the traverse. The code has 16 modules and a data content of 16 alphanumeric characters. A module size of 0.4 mm was chosen. This guarantees perfect reading results, even if the paper quality is poor or the printing is not optimal.


Data Matrix reader in miniature

View of a Data Matrix reader
View of a Data Matrix reader

Optical and sensor systems, light and electronics - all housed in a 25 x 25 x 80 (mm) package!. The world's smallest laser of its type. 300 packaging slips in DIN A5 format per minute, resulting in traverse speeds of 2 meters per second during reverse side reading. And this performance is achieved without reading errors. The installation and control conditions are similarly favorable, as is well known from decades of pharmaceutical code reading. Reading systems for cardboard carton packaging and labeling are also available. The complete system is operated and controlled centrally via an intelligent industrial terminal.