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Download: eDossier “Label printing quality management in China”

Download: eDossier "Label printing quality management in China"

Inspection and quality control is a critical topic, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. There are many stringent safety requirements. How are the Chinese tackling the latest challenges in print quality management? What are the most recent trends and solutions?

The current situation in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry is vital, and its development has powerful national support. Governments pay a lot of attention to standardizing the industry and have a lot of influence in that area. After the SARS pandemic, health awareness in China increased, which is very good news for the pharmaceutical industry. Read the full article in our eDossier “Label printing quality management in China.“

In 2010, the Chinese pharmaceutical label market demand was more than 165 million m2, and the increase is predicted to be 10% to 12% in the next three to five years. Europe and America had a market demand of 300 million m2 and 250 million m2 respectively and both are expected to increase by about 3% annually. Thus, the market demand of pharmaceutical labels in western countries is higher than in China. However, the Chinese market is expected to witness an increase in demand in the next 5–10 years.

With increasingly higher quality requirements from end-users and higher costs of raw materials, the profit margin for label producers is considerably squeezed. In order to develop and win work from the competition, the label producers need to increase the quality of their products’ and improve production efficiency, while decreasing costs and strengthening the management mechanism.

However, there are certain problems for the Chinese pharmaceutical label producers, in particular. In general, resources are not well integrated and the comprehensive management level needs to be improved. The Chinese label production companies are relatively small, their location is dispersive, the work environment is not comfortable and quality management is not effective.

Chinese pharmaceutical label companies mainly use offset printing and letterpress printing techniques to produce self-adhesive labels. Combination printing and flexo printing are used as extra processes.

There are certain difficulties for pharmaceutical labels in quality management for the following reasons:

  • Various types
  • The size of the label is relatively small
  • A lot of text is required in a small space
  • High printing requirement of ink colour, clear text and aberration control

The common defects are missing print, text defects, dots, aberration, miss register, die-cutting problems, and defects occurring on laminated products, such as scratches and excessive adhesives. In order to get more information, visit our shop to download the whole article.

Based on safety issues, the requirements for pharmaceutical labels are higher than that of personal care labels. However, the common quality inspection methods are traditional and 95% of the companies use manual methods. In the past three years, labour costs have increased dramatically and management has been more difficult. Because of the new challenging situation, automatic label printing inspection is in big demand, and the trend is increasing.

Manual vs. automatic inspection

Manual inspection is easily affected by the following subjective factors, such as lack of experience, emotions or environmental conditions. Therefore, consistency of the standard of inspection is poor, and 100% inspection cannot be achieved. In order to avoid missing a defect and making mistakes, a review process is added to the inspection. Although this improves the result, efficiency is poor and extra labour is required.  Learn more about the “Label printing quality management in China” – you can easily download it in our shop.

Andreas Keller

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