Global medical technology company Becton Dickinson has utilised inkjet digital printing to fulfil the UK Government’s order for syringes and needles to administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to patients.

The vaccine, developed in the UK by Oxford University and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is already being distributed across Europe. In the UK, it has been integral to the rapid rollout of the country’s vaccine programme, which has seen around 28 million first doses administered to date (23 March, 2021).  These are being delivered with the use of Becton Dickinson’s Flu+ needles and syringes, which are manufactured at the company’s Fraga plant in the province of Huesca, Spain.

Domino Amjet Ibérica collaborates with Becton Dickinson in Spain on several printing and coding projects, one of which involves using Domino’s high speed K600i inkjet printing technology to digitally print unique codes onto the outer paper packaging of these needles and syringes being used for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The decision to incorporate the K600i UV inkjet digital printer into the Becton Dickinson packaging machines is noted as ‘a very ambitious move’, with the technology needing to overcome issues experienced with other marking systems, such as slow and inefficient changeover with multiple SKUs, stoppages and downtime for the replacement of consumables, recurrent print failures, and an inadequate print speed. In the Becton Dickinson plant in Fraga, the syringe and needle packaging machines work at a very high-speed requiring the best quality, fastest and most reliable printing equipment to cope with these high production needs.

Manuel Hernández, business manager at Domino Digital Printing Solutions for Iberia and Latin America, explained, ‘The K600i was capable of meeting the high-quality printing demands and this has resulted in drastically reduced miscoding rejects, with no compromise in print speed, and significantly improved printing costs for Becton Dickinson.’

Domino has previously detailed how, during the Covid-19 crisis, many label and packaging converters have reported increased demand for variable data printed labels.