Pushing Technical Boundaries with our Flexible Inkjet System
When it comes to storing biological material (human or animal cells) at temperatures as low as -196°C, content information and traceability is crucial to ensure the results of the analysis are correct and relate to the actual sample. The quality and reliability of this information can have a direct impact on the wellbeing of patients, which makes it of crucial importance.
Inkjet Codes for Extreme Conditions
This is where our Grauel products are introduced. Grauel, a brand of AAE, leads the way in high quality digital inkjet print solutions. We are proud to present our latest development: a hightech dual color inkjet printer (used to print 1D and 2D bar codes on a wide variety of medical tubes). The bar codes on these tubes have to meet extremely stringent quality demands (grade B quality) which allow the barcodes to be scanned easily and correctly by a wide range of (laboratory) scanners.
Customer Benefit, Knowledge, Quality and Co-operation
Grauel was awarded this project due to our deep understanding of the inkjet printing process. To ensure the print meets the high quality standards various techniques need to be flawlessly integrated (pre-treatment, actual printing, curing, handling, etc.) into one system.
Knowledge about the ink properties (behaviour at extreme temperatures, etc.) shows that Grauel fully understands the printing process, supporting project co-operation and meeting the highest quality standards.
For this reason a User Requirement Specification (URS) document was drawn up with the input from both us and the customer on which the final offer was based.
With our highly skilled team of engineers the machine was designed in co-operation with the customer, meeting the predefined printing quality requirements (with the customer requirements included resulting in a state of the art application).
With the high quality standards of the inkjet process, operator involvement needs to be as little as possible. For this reason industrial robots will be used to handle the tubes (simultaneously picking up and placing multiple tubes on a flexible magnetic transport system). This flexible transport system consists of up to 16 individual carriers that can each move at independent speeds.
Each step in the process is therefore optimized for that specific process, allowing for extremely high quality. Once (plasma) treated, the tubes move to the next step where they are printed with a white patch. Immediately after this patch is applied, the print is UV (Ultra Violet) cured, to ensure the print is initially fixed (and does not flow during transport). The black bar coding is applied in the next stage, again the print is cured afterwards. The product carrier will move at different speeds during the print process for the white ink and the black ink as the various ink formulations have different chemistry and therefore require different print times.
Checking Print Quality
The full print is checked by multiple vision systems to ensure the full and complete print is meeting the highest quality standards. All prints are fully cured and subjects that failed to meet the quality demands are removed.
All accepted tubes are automatically removed from the product carrier by a robot and placed in a designated holder after which they are packed for shipment.
Being able to contribute to the next-level healthcare and wellbeing of patients makes us very proud to be co-operating and co-creating with a wide variety of customers within the medical branche. Having the opportunity to make a change is the main drive behind our state of the art technologies. Proud to be part of something great!