Jones Packaging Inc. has become the first folding carton converter to receive a “Preferred Converter” certification for applying NFC OpenSense tags from Thin Film Electronics ASA to paperboard packaging for over-the-counter and prescription medication, Jones reports.
The tags are thin, flexible labels employing near-field-communication technology for detecting both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states. They contain unique identifiers that can be used for authentication and tracking. “Primarily, the tags are used for brand protection, tamper evidence, marketing, education, and data collection,” James Lee, Director, Technology & Innovation, Jones Packaging Inc., tells PMP News. The tags can wirelessly communicate these product states with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. They remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, allowing further communication with consumers and patients.
Jones has been working with Thinfilm since January 2016. “Since we announced our partnership, our teams have been working together to automate the application of Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense tags to paperboard pharmaceutical packaging on a high-speed production line at our converting facility,” says Lee. “We completed successful trials this past August and developed a video to visually convey the automated process – setup of the carton, application of the tag, reading of the NFC chip, recording of key information, and ejection of compromised packages.
“Throughout the trials process, we developed multiple structural design iterations to enable bidirectional carton panels that not only house the tag, but also protect it during shipment and filling processes on our customers’ production lines. We were able to take testing one step further by conducting trials on our own filling lines at our contract packaging services facility – this is an excellent indicator of success, given this equipment is similar to our customers’,” he says.
After trials, Jones worked with Thinfilm to complete a comprehensive evaluation program to achieve the Preferred Converter status. “This involved demonstrating our ability to establish key production processes and consistently meet designated standards related to carton design, tag application, process control, in-line testing/discrimination, product quality, data management, transfer/security, training and support,” Lee says.
The NFC OpenSense tags are intended to provide ongoing security. “One…