Serialisation and Aggregation of COVID Vaccine

Since early in 2022, scanware electronic GmbH has been providing track & trace solutions for the Dermapharm group along a packaging line of a COVID-19 vaccine. The steps include serialisation of the folding box containing the vials, aggregation of bundles and finally, on the pallet.

The project was given the green light in June 2021. Of course, getting delivery of the eagerly anticipated vaccine under way quickly was a key concern. This paved the way for the new normal in light of the pandemic. The order followed at the end of July and a few months later the parts were delivered and installed on site, followed by training for the users.

In January 2022, the first batch of the vaccine was processed on the line. One crucial step is cooling down the vaccine, packed by case, in a designated freezer. Before delivery, each box is packaged into a larger case with dry ice, making sure the temperature is always in line with the requirements of the sensitive vaccine. Naturally, this second case is again labelled and read to ascertain the traceability before moving onto the pallet and the freezer lorry. To be in line with EU directive 2011/62/EU, each packaging step is aggregated based on the serialised data of the folding box. The vials contained in the folding box leave the packer oriented lengthwise. They are then conveyed onto the Mark & Verify station. The box is printed with serialised data, and the print verified with a camera. Next, five folding boxes are combined as a bundle.

Next up, an operator on site manually moves the bundle past a scanner, reading and identifying them, then places them in a shipping case. On the panel PC, the correct reading and processing of the aggregation data is visualised. Once the required number of bundles has been placed in the box, case inspection occurs and a printer provides the required box label. The station used for this step, CAPA MB, can be used for a ‘Rework’, if required.

From there, the cases are moved into a deep freezer, cooling the vaccine down to the required temperature. When they need to be shipped, cases are collected from the freezer and placed into an outer box filled with dry ice, then the identical label of the inner box is re-printed and placed on the shipping box. Finally, the pallet data is aggregated and dispatch on a freezer lorry.

Alongside the scanware track & trace stations, the scanware data management IMPERA is operating. Every step along the way is processed and aggregated in real-time. Upon completion, the data is transmitted to the site database.

The track & trace units developed by scanware which were utilised for the packaging inspection of the COVID vaccine are highly flexible and tailored to the needs of producers and contract packers. Quality parts and the integration of printers and scanners of major brands offer clients a broad selection of tools according to their preferences.

The successful completion of the project within the tight time frame was a challenge that scanware and Dermapharm completed successfully by working closely together. Due to the pandemic, the majority of communication took place via video conferencing, a first on both sides. Fulfilling the requirements on the line has further strengthened the working relationship between the companies and in the end, this trusting relationship benefits the citizens who have received their mRNA vaccine.

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