INTERPHEX 2008 kicked off today, and I spent the morning attending two sessions from the conference’s Technology Enablers track.
The first, “The Role of Industrial Automation in Qualified & Non-Qualified Building Automation Solutions,” discussed the importance of a validated environment. Joe Evans of Rockwell Automation said in his presentation that ”QBAS” is the big buzzword right now. Treating this the same way you treat your process can be beneficial when it comes to validation–you only have to vaildate one system if you use a common platform.
The second session, “Results of Serialized 2D Barcoding Pilot to Support Item-Level Track & Trace,” described a joint venture between Catalent, Secure Symbology, and Biogen that used 2D barcoding technology at the item, case, and pallet level to revamp Biogen’s packaging and data integration processes. 2D barcoding was chosen in this project over RFID tagging because the product is a biologic, and the effects (if any) of this technology on biologics are not known. The speakers, John Vignola of Catalent and Richard Smith of Secure Symbology, fielded several questions on this topic. They said some independent labs have reported finding temperature variations when biologics were exposed to radio frequencies used in the tags. They also said the US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing this situation to make sure using RFID will not damage pharmaceutical products.