Offline Carton Coding Machines

Optimum coding of cartons may be achieved using an offline carton coder.

Two challenges can mean that pharmaceutical cartons are best coded offline. One relates to the very nature of the carton’s construction, the other to the demands of the offline carton coding machine.

Crash-lock cartons

Typically used for the packing of multiple packs at the end of the line, these cartons are designed to be easy to erect by hand, but not to be handled by a carton erector. Once a full complement of product has been inserted, the carton is closed by hand and then is ready for shipping – once it has been coded. This would probably require a conveyor with an inkjet printer and some careful placement of the cartons.

An offline system would deliver cartons to the line already printed and ensure that the pack is ready for shipping once complete.

Datamatrix barcoding

Datamatrix barcoding has dramatically increased the level of sophistication of the carton coder used for the marking of pharmaceutical cartons. Printing a datamatrix code online can have the following disadvantages:

  • The closed end flap can bulge and present a convex surface to the printer.
  • The speed of the carton can vary.
  • The presentation may not be perfectly square.

An offline coding system brings a number of benefits over online coding, namely:

  • The feeder presents the cartons to the printer in their flat form.
  • Speed of presentation is constant and measured by high resolution encoder.
  • Pre-coded and verified cartons are delivered to the production line.