New software developed for the Linx 6900 Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printer has been developed to meet the new Standard Identification System for Animal Health products. This global guideline is being implemented by all leading manufacturers of animal health products and is expected to appear on most registered goods by the end of 2007.
The new standard has been introduced by the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) in order to provide a robust identification system capable of tracking animal health products from production to application in an increasingly global market. It also conforms to the requirements for traceability under EU Directive 2004/28/EC. In association with all leading industry bodies, the IFAH recognised that GS1 128 Data Matrix codes, which can contain a greater amount of information than conventional one-dimensional bar codes, provide a concise but flexible format that can be easily included onto primary packs or labels as well as outer cases.
The standard stipulates that all Data Matrix codes used for animal health products should be machine readable at a size between 30 and 48 characters. Linx has developed new software for the Linx 6900 capable of printing Data Matrix codes of up to 48 characters, providing customers with the ability to incorporate the maximum amount of information in their codes. Typical data will include the lot number, expiration date and GTIN.
At the same time, Linx has configured an extremely user friendly operational interface developed to minimise the input required from operators, thus reducing the risk of errors. “Accuracy is essential if the 2D code is to be beneficial as a traceability tool, so the system is designed to make data entry as easy as possible,” comments Simon Powell, Marketing Manager of Linx.
Creation of Data Matrix barcodes is easily accessible through the interface. The operator is able to enter all the required data from one screen, minimising the risk of missing data. The software checks that the correct number of digits is entered for the item number and the company prefix to further reduce the risk of errors. Company prefix data within the code needs to be entered only once, and is then stored in the printer memory for use in every code. It can be edited if required at a higher user level. Operators can select a number of different human readable formats for the Expiry Date to be printed in, but the software automatically configures this information to the required format within the Data Matrix code.
This software is available for Linx 6900 printers with a three-line printing capability and a Midi printhead.
The introduction of this capability is matched by Linx’s recently launched SL range of laser coders, which can also produce Data Matrix codes to meet the Standard. The choice of technologies underlines Linx’s ability to meet customer’s precise requirements.
“The forthcoming Standard Identification System for Animal Health highlights the increasing popularity of Data Matrix codes and the need for coding manufacturers to provide high-quality machine-readable solutions,” confirms Simon Powell. “The choice of CIJ or laser technology, tailored to the specific parameters of the Standard, confirms that Linx is well placed to produce outstanding reproduction of Data Matrix codes whatever the product or packaging or customer requirements.”
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