(UPM RFID, Tampere) - Laboratorios Gador has completed an RFID system pilot, evaluating this supply chain technology's ability to track and trace pharmaceutical drugs at the item, pack and pallet level.
The company, one of Argentina's largest pharmaceutical suppliers, supplies medications to nearly 2.5 million patients each month through its distribution network. The successful test, which was conducted by Telectrónica, Impinj, Zebra Technologies and UPM RFID, is the first RFID pharmaceutical pilot to be completed in Argentina, demonstrating the technology's ability to identify, track and secure high value products that are subject to counterfeiting, diversion and theft. According to leading research firm Havoscope Black Markets, counterfeiting pharmaceutical drugs is the number one black market activity globally, costing the industry $200 billion annually.
Using RFID technology to track and trace pharmaceutical drugs presents several technical challenges. RFID readers use radio waves to energize RFID tags and retrieve data stored on them. However, Laboratorios Gador's RFID-tagged medications, which include liquids, are packaged in metal blister packs and tubes, all of which interfere with RFID radio waves. In addition, Laboratorios Gador's automated packaging lines produce hundreds of units per minute, requiring that RFID systems encode and read variable data on individually tagged items at extremely high speeds. Reading Laboratorios Gador's pallets is equally complex, as they contain 360 packs of metal-wrapped medications stacked 18 rows deep, creating multiple barriers to the radio waves generated by RFID readers. "It was critical that we design an RFID system that optimized the traceability of goods throughout the production process without compromising operational efficiency," says Lic. Alan Gidekel, CEO, Telectrónica.
Telectrónica designed a state-of-the-art EPC global UHF Gen 2 RFID system that met all of these requirements, identifying individual items and accurately associating multi-item packs to pallets. The system was comprised of Speedway® Revolution readers, reader antennas and bulk encoding software from Impinj; Trap UHF RFID inlays from UPM RFID; RFID printers from Zebra Technologies; and traceability software from Telectrónica. If fully implemented, the system would help Laboratorios Gador increase inventory availability and delivery accuracy, while enhancing patient safety and confidence in authenticated goods.
"UPM RFID was pleased to take part in this innovative pilot, which showcased RFID's ability to track and trace medications not only internally, but also throughout the supply chain," says Jan Svoboda, Sales and Marketing Director, Americas, UPM RFID. "We believe that Laboratorios Gador's pioneering project will pave the way for more extensive RFID implementations in South America."
For further information, please contact: Mr Jan Svoboda, Sales and Marketing Director, Americas, UPM RFID, tel. +1 805 312 4679
Mr Lic. Alan Gidekel, CEO, Telectrónica, tel. + 1 54 11 4381 5222, ext. 15
About UPM RFID
UPM RFID, part of UPM's Engineered Materials business group, is the world's number one producer of HF and UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays. UPM RFID has a global service network consisting of factories in China and in the United States and a broad network of sales offices worldwide. The UPM Group employs around 23,000 people and it has production facilities in 15 countries. In 2010, UPM's sales amounted to EUR 8,9 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Further information is available at www.upmrfid.com.
Founded in 1994, systems integrator Telectrónica is headquartered in Argentina, with operations throughout Latin America. The company offers turnkey solutions that improve critical production processes, reduce labor costs and provide real-time information that enhance corporate visibility and decision making. It develops customized and cost-effective solutions for customers' needs in supply chain visibility, asset tracking and management, traceability and manufacturing automation. More information is available at www.telectronica.com.