Full ink traceability, including recycled return inks

Full ink traceability, including reused press return inks

Tracing food and pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain is essential for protecting consumers. There are minimum traceability requirements that manufacturers must meet, according to regulations and guidelines established by governmental organisations, NGO’s (like the Rainforest Alliance) and brand owners.

The requirements also apply to packaging materials of affected products – including the inks printed on packaging. The optional GSE Traceability software module helps you to comply with these requirements.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and BRC standards

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) are the practices required to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that authorise the manufacture of food and pharmaceutical products. The BRC (British Retail Consortium) Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials is a well-known, commonly used standard to help packaging manufacturers adopt good manufacturing practices and support quality management systems.

Within GMP, traceability is seen as a key means to protect end-user health and safety. When a contaminated end product is detected, traceability is the most effective way to identify the root cause and to recall contaminated products.

Traceability is a two way process:

  1. In the manufacturing and supply process, batch numbers have to be recorded from the raw material to the package.
  2.  When a customer reports a case of contamination, it is possible to determine the raw materials used for producing the reported package.
Ink traceability

Consequently, ink traceability requires that

  • batch number IDs of inks are recorded as they arrive from the supplier;
  • a system is in place that traces these ink batches to the customer order or internal orders they are processed in.

The complicating factor with ink traceability is that spot colours are mixed from a recipe of base components. Additionally, the base components of recycled return inks must be identified. Managing this manually would be extremely complicated. However, with GSE Traceability software, ink traceability can be reported instantly, including when processing return inks. This is particularly beneficial when you work to BRC standards, which require you to deliver a traceability report within four hours.

How it’s done

If the GSE Traceability software module is activated, you can check the program option “batch code required”. Exchanging a barrel at the dispensing system or using a manually added component is only possible when a batch code has been keyed in.

When GSE Traceability is used in conjunction with the GSE Return ink management module, it is possible to specify the minimum return percentage to be traced, as well as the maximum return depth level – in other words, the number of times a batch of ink has been returned and recycled.

The proper configuration and use of software allows you to create traceability reports instantly, described either in batch-to-order or order-to batch sequences. These reports include, among others:

  • container IDs, formulas, order numbers, production dates and expiry dates of fresh dispensed inks
  • container IDs, formulas, storage locations and expiry dates of return inks
  • batch codes of previous and following barrels
GSE Traceability
  • instant ink traceability reports, including processed return inks
  • batch-to-order or order-to-batch sequences
  • configure minimum return percentage
  • configure maximum return depth level
  • expiry dates, including returns used
  • batch codes of previous and following barrels

Please contact us to learn more!