With COVID-19 infection rates climbing, the need for test kits has increased dramatically, both for healthcare personnel and the general public. Our World in Data reports that new cases exceeded 2.5 million globally on Jan. 6, 2022—that figure was under 439,000 just one month prior.
Impossible to ignore, testing and distribution sites have made headlines for extreme lines and traffic jams, while at-home test kits have been in short supply in many markets. Prices have also risen in certain chains.
Bioneer is one company aiming to meet testing needs. The Korea-based biotech company sought a labeling provider for its extensive COVID-19 test kit production operations at its Deajeon, South Korea, facility. Challenges of the project included a short timeline (given the urgency of supplying test kits) as well as a particularly tight labeling window that necessitated a highly accurate labeling system.
The company opted for Germany-based HERMA GmbH’s HERMA Basic applicators for nine packaging lines, applying 300mm-long top labels for product identification and tamper evidence, as well as a label on the side of the kit’s box. In an expedited timeframe, the applicators were integrated into product handling systems designed and installed by Hanshin Labelling, HERMA’s sales partner in the Republic of Korea.
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At 300 mm in length (nearly 12 inches), the project’s label length was challenging. Herma explains, “The label has a dual marking/tamper evidence functionality that seals the box lid’s front and back. Ensuring these lengthy labels are applied without creases or wrinkles–and without any offsetting” required serious precision and repeatability.
The HERMA Basic applicator was developed as a cost-effective system to meet precision labeling requirements in robust production environments. Simple integration and operation, coupled with ease of maintenance, are suited to getting labeling lines up and running smoothly in short timeframes. The Herma Basic is manufactured on the same production lines as the company's HERMA 500 high-performance applicators, with the same strict quality standards.
Currently, Bioneer labels and seals 40 boxes/min on each of the nine lines, for a combined output of over 350 kits/min.
“The HERMA Basic is perfectly suited for this task with its high repeat performance,” said Hee Chul Lee, CEO at Hanshin Labelling. “The reason we chose HERMA out of all the suppliers worldwide is the very high level of trust we have in the company. It is tremendously competent and the performance of the applicator is perfect for this application.”