Innomech develops track and trace technology


Allows faster identification and resolution of manufacturing quality problems

GB Innomech (Innomech), a UK-based advanced automation systems specialist, is helping to develop a new low-cost way of uniquely marking pharmaceutical products and improving product traceability.

Innomech, based in Witchford, Cambridgeshire, says the technique will allow faster identification and resolution of any manufacturing quality problems and will be invaluable as an anti-counterfeit measure because the specific coding and validation systems are almost impossible to copy.

A 2mm x 2mm matrix code printed onto the surface of drug capsules

A 2mm x 2mm matrix code printed onto the surface of drug capsules

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Innomech’s technology will enable products to be marked with a code that is either unique to the item or shared by only a small number of items produced together.

The codemark is an unobtrusive two-dimensional dot matrix identifier linked to a look-up database. In effect the matrix code acts as a key to access more detailed information, such as the specific batch codes of raw materials used during production, the time of manufacture, the production line and so on. A version of the database could be accessible online for anyone to verify that the item is genuine.

The codes can be printed or laser etched onto products, applied to virtually any substrate and even added onto the surface of pharmaceutical capsules or coated tablets. Matrix codes can be as small as 2x2mm holding the code for up to 10 billion numbers. The codes can be read by widely available readers or in many cases from a picture taken with a simple camera phone, making them ideal in the battle against counterfeit medicines, the firm says.

‘Innomech is now working with several clients to help adjust their manufacturing processes to incorporate this powerful new approach and enable products to be much more easily marked than has previously been possible,’ said Steve Robertson, managing director of Innomech.