Serialization in the pharmaceutical industry
If you compare only initial costs of RFID and data matrix identification superficially, RFID is around ten times more expensive if you only take the costs for tags and label printing into consideration. But, as the pilot project has clearly proven, RFID is the cheaper version with respect to an overall view of all costs (total cost of ownership), including labor costs, and equipment. The benefits of RFID are clearly in the speed and reliability of the processes: Identification is not only faster, but as many as 500 tags can be read simultaneously without having to unpack the carton – optically based processes are only able to read a maximum of 200 tags simultaneously and require line of sight in all cases. However, as most recipients at the end of a logistics chain, i.e. the drug stores, do not have an RFID reading device, optical identification is used as well.
Customers benefit from project experience
The pilot project enabled Turck to gain considerable experience in the serialization of pharmaceutical products. The know-how acquired with fully automated machines in particular, and with regard to the specific requirements of the pharmaceutical sector, as well as the handling of projects of this magnitude in collaboration with several partners is of particular value to both Turck and its customers. Ten subsequent projects followed in Korea alone, and discussions are in progress concerning similar projects in Europe, America and Asia.