Protecting the Medical Supply Chain With Printed Temperature Indicators

Posted by Casey Cephas | 7/9/20 10:59 PM

After years of R&D, multiple rounds of clinical trials, and a rigorous FDA approval process, a medical product has yet another daunting challenge before it can be used by a patient – surviving transportation.

Due to the temperature sensitivity of many medical supplies, shipping around the world can be a logistical and financial burden. It’s estimated that 70% of leading pharmaceutical products require temperature-controlled transportation, and that 20% of products are ruined due to a broken cold chain.

Advantages of Printed Indicators for Medical Supplies

While there have been countless breakthroughs in the areas of pharmaceutical and medical products, innovation to protect the supply chain has lagged. Traditional methods for monitoring and identifying temperature damage have been expensive and only applicable to cartons and cases, not necessarily individual vials.

The good news is that printed indicators offer a practical and affordable solution to ensure your product arrives in good condition. Printed indicators are stickers or labels that feature functional inks that react to a specific environmental or chemical change, such as temperature. They are cost-efficient, easy to operate and read, and scalable across 100% of product supply.

Types of Printed Temperature Indicators

Printed indicators can be used in a variety of applications to detect and visually indicate all types of temperature changes.

  • Freeze alert – The indicator turns a designated color (typically blue) when the ink is exposed to freezing temperatures. These indicators can be printed on labels, plastic, and certain metals.
  • Thaw alert – Provides a safety warning when the product has at some point thawed or warmed above 5° F.
  • Tamper evidence – Printed indicators can detect product tampering, including extreme heat and cryogenic temperatures.
  • High-heat threshold indicator – Placed on the product or packaging, the indicator changes color when a set temperature threshold is crossed.
  • Warming alert – Visual temperature guidance ensures that medication is warmed for a comfortable injection.
  • Cold-chain compliance – Printing cold-chain indicators can be used to accurately monitor individual vials, cases, or pallets.
  • Shipping heat-abuse alert – Ideal for hot climates or during summer, these indicators are triggered to change color if the shipment is exposed to a temperature that could be damaging to the product.
  • Refrigerated packing sensors – To reduce the risk of freezing, these indicators activate when it is safe to pack and assures that the temperature remained safe through delivery.
  • Ambient air alerts – The indicator provides a visual alert if a product has prolonged exposure to room temperature air (above 68° F).
  • Fluorescing security inks – Provide quick, reliable validation for brand security, quality control, and many other uses.

Converting for Printed Indicators

Printed indicators can be converted to custom shapes and sizes as well as include bar codes, branding, and other personalizations. At Tapecon, we can recommend the optimal materials sourced from leading manufacturers. Based on your specifications and goals, we then use a wide range of printing and converting capabilities to create a printed indicator that enhances your medical product and operations.

Get started with Temperature Indicators

At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our printed indicator applications.

Topics: Printing, Smart Packaging, Printed Indicators

Written by Casey Cephas

Casey is the Marketing Coordinator at Tapecon Inc.

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