Using its patented image amplification technology Vardex has built high speed high resolution laser marking system. The system(s) are capable of printing over 1cm2 area in a few milliseconds while maintaining high print resolution. The systems thus are the best laser marking solutions avaible to implement federally mandated track and trace of pharmaceutical products through pringting high density 2D data matrix bar codes.
Standardization movements, at both national and international levels, have been under way for anti-counterfeit security, product identification and tracking solutions through 2-Dimensional (2-D) data code matrix marking. At national level departments like Department of Defense and NASA had developed their own standards. Department of Defense selected Data Matrix (Military Standard 130) for the mandatory unique identification of assets for all of the services. The pharmaceutical industry has been trying to establish a global standard for product and package marking with 2-D data matrix codes. The implementation of standard would allow detection of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in the market and reduce medication errors in hospitals1. It would save lives as well as reduce the estimated $75 billion annual loss to the pharmaceutical industry2. Law enforcement officials are pushing for passage of legislations such as ammunition accountability act that would make it mandatory for manufacturers to mark ammunition for identification and tracking purposes3. Thus there is a whole range of issues faced by the industry and the public at large that can be solved by individual marking of products with 2-D data code matrices and implementation of marking standards.
The reason laser technology, despite being superior to other marking technologies, has not been used at large scales for serial 2-D data code matrix marking is the lack of a laser marking solution that can print both at high speeds and high resolutions simultaneously. The VLS Laser Marking Technology provides a novel and vital solution that can help solve the problems haunting both the public, the government and the industry.
1In 1999 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." According to the report, between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths may result each year from medical errors in hospitals alone and more than 7,000 deaths each year are related to medication errors.
2Source: World Health Organization, Media Center report on Counterfeit Medicines, Fact Sheet No 275, Nov. 2006.
3 (http://www.ammunitionaccountability.org/Legislation.htm) The link provides a summary of legislations that have been introduced across United States.
Marking Speed: Despite significant advances
in speed performance of galvanometer based laser marking solutions, the
number of parts marked per second remain low (less than 10).
Increase in Pixel/Dot Resolution: Graphics
and higher resolution 2-D data matrix codes require more number of
pixels to be marked which reduce the speed of galvanometer based
marking systems in terms of parts marked per second.
Simultaneous High Speed & Resolution:
Galvanometer based laser marking despite being better than other
non-laser marking technologies is still inadequate for Simultaneous
and High Resolution product marking.
A majority of the prevailing laser marking systems use galvanometer-based optical scanning technology where the laser beam scans across the material placing one pixel mark at a time. Although the galvanometer based marking technology has made significant advances in terms of speed and performance, it still lacks in providing simultaneous high resolution and high speed marking. For example, in order to place a 20 x 20 data code matrix mark on a material, the galvanometer based system scans across 20 rows/columns. Unlike a galvanometer based system, 2-dimensional mirror array based marking system can place the entire 20 x 20 data code matrix in a single operation. Moreover, the mirror array devices have the ability to change the code matrix values at high speeds thus allowing fast serialization marking of products. These attributes make the Mirror array based 2-D code matrix marking system a better laser marking solution especially when it comes to the attribute of high marking speeds.