Belgium's Printing International introduced a single-station version of its ultra high quality (UHQ) tablet printing technology into the US market via local distributor AC Compacting.
The single-station product, called the PI450/CM and showcased at the recent Interphex exhibition, is claimed to be unique in the tablet printing industry, because it uses a pad printing technology rather than roll printing. In pad printing the tablet is held stationary by a vacuum while the pad transfer the image to the tablet in a vertical motion. The technology underlying the process was first introduced at the Achema show in Germany in 2003.
This, when coupled with the closed ink cup steel doctor blade and high precision image plate, allows the PI450/CM to produce what the Belgian company says is the highest resolution and clearest print in the industry, with an output of 225,000 to 400,000 tablets per hour.
The system has been developed specifically for one-colour, one-sided printing on round, elliptical, oblong and oval shaped coated and uncoated tablets, said a spokesman for AC Compacting. This allows companies to print high-resolution images on their tablets that increases brand recognition and could serve as a deterrent to counterfeiters through the use of multi-dimensional data matrix imaging, he added.
The quality of print is simply not achievable using traditional roto gravure printing, the most widely-used technology in the pharmaceutical industry, he said.
"The UHQ tablet printing technology may also provide solutions to issues such as severe picking of tablets whose brand information is embossed," said AC Compacting in a statement.