Laser Micro Engraving Provides Increased Traceability and Security of Pharmaceutical Products

Traceability of products in medicine and pharmacy using inextinguishable ID codes is gaining importance due to drug-tracking regulations increasingly pursued by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) as well as the Federal Drug Association (FDA). Such verification is, in particular, intended to reduce the globally increasing fraction of low-grade product copies.

Using dedicated ultrashort pulse lasers, 3D-Micromac has developed a novel technology for marking transparent materials for these reasons. In this cutting-edge approach, the marking is, in contrast to conventional methods, not placed on the material but within the container.

On principle, shape and design of the markings know no bounds. By this innovative technology, two and even three-dimensional items can be generated inside the material. The laser micro engraving is likewise versatile with respect to materials that can be marked: Mineral glasses as well as polymers can be provided with internal coding items. Depending on customer’s requirements, high-contrast markings can be generated as easy as codes invisible for the human eye. In either case, no particles are emitted since engraving is made in the interior of the container.

Information protection for the product’s lifetime

In medicine and pharmacy, encoding of diverse information is typically done within a data-matrix array. The code is read out using dedicated scanners, being available in pharmacy wholesale and hospitals. Thus, the customised track & trace solution allows, if needed, to rapidly determine source, bottling date, charge, and other important product details. While the removal of the product ID is impossible, any external manipulation is being recognised at the latest during readout of the code.

Marking sizes range from a just a few microns up to several millimetres. Being located in the container’s interior, the coding item is protected from any environmental attack. No abrasion can occur and the information is preserved during the entire lifetime of the product.

3D-Micromac, a leading supplier of customised laser micro machining systems, has gained an established position in the international market over the past several years. As a developer and manufacturer of complex workstations, as a service provider for materials and surface machining or as a solution provider for the development of specific production processes, we are able to find the best solution for every customer’s task.