Domino’s BK651 ink offers effective solution for pharma

Scores highly in PIRA performance and light-fastness tests

BK651 black ink scores highly in independent tests for performance and light-fastness

Domino Printing Sciences has received top marks during independent tests on its latest water-based BK651 black ink for thermal ink jet (TIJ) applications, which was developed specifically for the pharmaceutical industry.

The ink has been awarded a grade A through to Blue Wool 4 during testing on printed samples of the ink to establish its performance and light-fastness undertaken by PIRA International, a packaging, paper and print industry specialist.

Samples of 2D data matrix codes printed by Domino’s BK651 ink were tested against samples produced using other market leading inks to assess fading characteristics. These samples were incrementally exposed to a filtered Xenon arc light source to Blue Wool 5 in compliance with ISO 105-B02. This is considered to represent the worst lighting that is likely to occur in a retail environment. After each exposure, the legibility of the data matrix code was assessed and a measurement of the colour difference taken relative to unexposed print samples.

The results concluded that of the samples provided to PIRA, Domino’s BK651 water-based black ink maintained a grade A through to Blue Wool 4 and softened to a grade B at Blue Wool 5. Samples of a competitive ink achieved consistently lower results, attaining a grade B throughout and a grade D for the final Blue Wool exposure.

Chris Berry, senior scientist at PIRA International, said the results were ‘very reassuring’.

‘When testing light fastness, exposure to a filtered xenon arc light can have a large effect on 2D datamatrix code legibility, resulting in rapid fading of a printed code,’ he said.

‘With this in mind, Domino’s BK651 samples performed much better than those of a leading competitor ink, reaching two grades higher at the same Blue Wool reference. This illustrates just how well the ink is likely to perform in the environment it is used in and subsequently means it is well suited to the pharmaceutical industry’s high quality standards.’

Packaged medicines and healthcare products within the pharmaceutical industry typically have to withstand significant wear, from being stored in distribution hubs for periods of anything between five and 24 months, or being subject to the stresses of global transportation. At the end of these processes, it is vital that the product codes are still readable and confirm to the top quality Grade A for light fastness.

Craig Stobie, life sciences manager at Domino Printing Sciences, commented: ‘As the EU continues to contemplate requirements for its Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), which will become legislation from 2013, what we do know is that product identification and traceability codes will be key. These inks will need to maintain their quality ensuring consistent readability of codes throughout their lifecycle; from manufacture through to patient usage.’