Volume 7 | Issue 3 | Year 2004

Those labels on your prescription bottles might be tiny in size, but they are mighty big in product security. Just ask CCL Label, Inc. – the premier manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labels in the industry. “We are the largest company, mostly due to our distinct ability to bring innovative products to the market – our primary market being product security,” says Robert Ryckman, director of product development for security products in the pharmaceutical division of CCL Label. With pharmaceutical counterfeiting posing threats to the healthcare industry and to patients, product security is at the forefront of operations within pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

Stuck on Security
CCL Label offers a wide range of products, including shrink sleeves and expanded content labels, or multi-page, multi-layer booklets constructed into labels for, pharmaceutical, personal care, promotional and regulatory (chemical and agricultural) markets. The company, however, is known primarily for its leading role in producing pressure-sensitive labels used for product security in the pharmaceutical industry. “We are one of the only printing companies worldwide with the capabilities to modify our manufacturing processes to integrate some of the leading technologies in product and label anti-counterfeiting,” Ryckman says. “One of our primary jobs here is focused on developing anti-counterfeiting features into labels for our pharmaceutical customers,” Ryckman says, noting that expensive drugs have become an attractive target for counterfeiters because of the products’ high value. “They try to duplicate the product and the label so the product looks exactly like the original,” he says.

This poses an enormous liability risk to pharmaceutical companies, as well as creating the potential risk to human health.

“If a patient is taking a pill in the belief that it’s a prescription drug that’s helping stabilize a health condition, that patient could be injured by not getting the full benefit of the real drug; so our role is to work closely with drug companies to make sure that counterfeiting their products is extremely difficult,” says Ryckman. “With the development of our innovative and sophisticated technologies, we can help pharmaceutical companies reduce counterfeit, product diversion or tampering of any kind,” Ryckman says. Playing a critical role in protecting pharmaceutical companies from counterfeiting attempts, CCL Label employs two primary anti-counterfeiting methods of printing: color-shifting ink technology and RFID technology. “We use color-shifting ink technology, which is also used in printing the new U.S. currency as well as other currencies around the world,” explains Ryckman. In addition to being applied in national currencies, this technology has long been used in producing bank notes, stock certificates and bonds.

Special inks and high-tech printing processes are used to achieve these printing methods and a tightly controlled and monitored supply chain guarantees that the raw materials necessary in these processes are out of the reach of counterfeiters. A limited number of printers are qualified to access the ink used in color-shifting technology, thereby controlling the supply chain. “This product is so tightly controlled, the manufacturer of it will allow only a few label companies to access it because if everyone could use it, there would not be the level of security there is now for customers needing this high-level product security,” Ryckman says.

CCL Label partnered with the manufacturer of this special ink and each company shares intellectual property. “Because we are such a large company servicing the pharmaceutical market, it was a natural fit for each of us,” Ryckman says. The ink manufacturer gave a nod to the partnership because CCL Label also fit its additional requirements in having R&D capabilities and the appropriate assets. “This is just one example of how CCL Label works as an innovative company to offer solutions to our customers in seeking out new technologies and determining how we can apply and integrate these new technologies into printing labels,” explains Ryckman. RFID technology is also used in the pharmaceutical industry to protect high-value products from being counterfeited. “It offers secure product identity because of the unique IDs they provide, using electronic serial numbers to identify each and every single label,” Ryckman explains. “The advantage of building RFID into your label is you can identify each product from each other.”

Eye-Popping Shelf Appeal
In addition to product security, CCL Label is renowned for its innovative work in developing eye-appealing products for its customers that easily attract the attention of consumers. “One recent development of ours that no other label company offers is what we call our PDS (product delivery system), which allows us to manufacture into a pressure-sensitive label any product a manufacturer might want to affix to the main product,” explains Ryckman. “We have the capabilities to affix things like a mini or full-size CD, a package of gum, BBQ sauce samples, or mini bottles of shampoo or conditioner. We can actually integrate these items into the pressure-sensitive labeling process.”

For example, a shampoo manufacturer might have developed a new conditioner it wants consumers to be able to try. “Not only can we make the shampoo label, but we can attach a small package of the conditioner to that label,” Ryckman. “This is far different a process than some manufacturers who attach a product using a shrink sleeve or some other method that is slow, expensive, and cumbersome. These companies would typically have to have an outside service or third-party contractor to do this because usually manufacturers’ production lines are not capable of doing this kind of work. But CCL Label allows manufacturers to apply these sample products inline in their normal manufacturing processes without slowing down their production line or without adding any additional labor costs. So we offer manufacturers a very inexpensive way to get their products into the consumers’ hands.”

With the development of specialized manufacturing equipment, CCL Label can offer these unique capabilities to its customers. “This is brand-new technology, and we are the first company in the industry to bring these capabilities to the marketplace,” Ryckman says. “We can attach virtually anything to a label and we are not limited by the size or shape of the package.” As marketers continually search for the next new method to grab the attention of time-squeezed consumers as they search for products on shelves, they turn to CCL Label to help them develop new products with instant eye appeal. “Another of our new technologies is called lenticular technology, which allows you to put depth and movement into a label so that when you rotate it, you can see motion in the label,” Ryckman says, noting this technology has been very successful in achieving consumer shelf appeal. “It’s a technology that uses a lens to create motion and this is something marketers are very interested in right now and it’s a very popular trend in the industry.”

Another popular technology CCL Label employs for manufacturers of a variety of products is shrink sleeves. “The advantage of this technology is it offers 100 percent decoration of a container and allows for eye-popping graphics and complete graphics coverage on 360 degrees of the product – so it gives marketers a lot of space on which to print product information as well as product graphics,” Ryckman says.

Currently enjoying its position as the innovative leader in the industry, CCL Label intends to build on that leadership distinction, says Ryckman. “With our R&D teams throughout our 26 locations, we can develop products for our customers that will get them the solution they require,” he says. “We will continue to lead through innovation and through our investments in capital equipment, which gives us advanced capabilities not found in other printing companies.”

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