Printing Technology Enables "Future-Proofing" In An Evolving Regulatory Market
On day two of Interphex, Todd and Todd interviewed Jim Kerber, System Solutions Group Sales Manager for North America, and Kasey Robertson, a Product Manager of North America with Videojet. The interview covers some of the company’s recent developments in printing technology that better equip manufacturers to follow regulatory issues.
Todd S: Good afternoon. This is Todd and Todd live in New York with Life Science Connect radio, live on location direct from Interphex day two. Todd we have an exciting crew up next on the show. If the afternoon is anything like the morning we are in for a heck of a ride.
Todd Y: I will tell you what. You know me, I don’t make a habit of missing many meals, but I darn near said the heck with lunch. There is too much cool stuff going on here to learn.
Todd S: Let’s get to it. Our next guests are here. Say hello to Jim Kerber. He is the System Solutions Group Sales Manager for North America. Jim welcome to the show.
Jim: Thank you.
Todd S: It is our pleasure. Thank you for joining us. Take 30 seconds and tell us a little about you and your background.
Jim: I have been in the coating and marketing industry now for 12-13 years, and with Videojet for the last seven, within their track and trace group focusing on brand protection solutions for counterfeiting diversion and supply chain visibility.
Todd S: Outstanding. We are also joined by Casey Robertson a Product Manager of North America with Videojet. Casey, welcome to the show.
Casey: Thank you. I have been on Videojet for about eight years specifically in this role as a Product Manager for the last four, and I specifically manage the front line with regard to thermal inkjet.
Todd S: Jim, lead us off. Give us a 10,000 foot view of Videojet. What do you do and how do you serve your market, and then walk us through and go deeper on your role there.
Jim: Okay. I would be glad to. Videojet is a Dan Herr company. We are the global coating and marketing leader for product identification — Identification of all sorts, and not just pharmaceutical, but lots and lots of market vertical.
We have a full equipment range from continuous inkjet, thermal inkjet, as Casey mentioned, thermal transfer overprinting lasers for a wide range of lasers, case coating, pallet labeling, and a wide array of printing as well as ancillary items and inks to serve all of those products.
Videojet, as mentioned, is a global market leader. We have over 325,000 printers deployed globally, 3,000 team members in 26 countries direct, as well as another 400 distributors and OEM’s serving another 135 countries around the world.
We are headquartered globally out of Wood Dale, Illinois in suburban Chicago and our mission in the pharmaceutical sector is to help the player’s future-proof themselves against the evolving regulatory market as it emerges.
Todd S: Go a little deeper in the day in your life at Videojet. What are you doing every day?
Jim: Well, I manage a team across North America that is specifically suited for or focused on traceability and brand protection solutions. This encompasses the regulatory serialization requirements and drug quality and security act for North America as it applies to pharmaceuticals.
We have a team based out of Atlanta, Georgia including software engineers, application specialists, and so forth that we actually discuss and work with our clients to form certain solutions to address their manufacturing needs and concerns.
Todd S: Jim, there is some buzz going on around this hall about Videojet's coating technology; how come?
Jim: We are a leader through innovation. We are always looking for the next step and next developments as far as printing technology is concerned. We spend a tremendous amount of time gathering the voice of the customer and get a 360 degree perspective of what that development should look like. We don’t do that in a vacuum.
We actually get client input into our engineering efforts. We invest a tremendous amount of effort into observation of the products and how they actually suit the manufacturing requirements and the needs of our customers so that we get feedback, not just from our teams, but also those downstream who are going to use it.
The discovery phase is also then used to come back and tweak the development of our products again so that it fully meets the needs of our client’s expectations and focused on ease of use.
Todd Y: Casey, walk us through some of the other applications that your customers can do when they are using your printers.
Casey: Certainly. The thermal line of inkjet printers was introduced to Videojet through an acquisition we called [inaudible: 00:04:25], and that technology was really used in the pharmaceutical industry because they have to print a GS-1 data matrix, and in order to do that you have to have a high-resolution printer.
The thermal inkjet printer is high-resolution and can do the GS-1 data matrix code very well and provide good readability while you are printing those. That technology exists today and we are doing that today in certain applications.
One of the core limitations of that technology is that it is suitable for only cartoning, and only on select material. It has always been the desire of Videojet to expand the core benefits of thermal inkjet being very clean and very high-quality code with very limited maintenance and taking that and expanding to a much wider range of applications.
With the 8610 today we are introducing this week and just launched this printer. It is going to be a proprietary printer cartridge. This printer cartridge has been specifically designed to jet any k-based fluid, and that is important because now, we can really expand where we can take these benefits and technologies to brands outside of just cartons to print on things like foils or coated labels or any of those things that we really couldn’t do before.
We can now do it and that is something that Videojet is very excited about.
Todd Y: Let me back you up for a little bit. Tell us about your specific role.
Casey: My role; I am the North American Product Manager for North America so again, with the acquisition of Wolke, I have been instructed with making sure that the sales staff is properly trained, going out to customers and gathering that VOC, understanding how they use their printers; what is important to them and what is not, and then we design and develop a team from there.
We have been doing this over the last few years and one of the feedback is love the technology, wish I could use it in more places, and that is what we are excited to say.
Todd S: Did I hear you say that you are going to launch that machine at this show?
Casey: Yes this is the first public appearance — here at Interphex.
Todd S: Speaking of Interphex, let’s talk about some other reasons why you guys are here. I will let both of you address this, and I will start with you Jim; why do you exhibit here? What are your goals and agendas at a show like this?
Jim: That is a good question. What we are really here to do is broaden our clients’ understanding of what Videojet brings to the market, not just in the equipment and hardware, but also completive services to help them meet their upcoming needs for regulatory reasons.
We show our printers in conjunction with other system attributes that we can bring to them to help them ultimately achieve their business objective to help to get them where they need to be.
Todd Y: Todd, we had a conversation around this recently, but I forgot that there are regulatory issues that you have to address with this kind of stuff. Casey, we are hearing a lot about integration of different kinds of systems.
Are you hearing, that is my first question, and then talk a little about what you guys are doing in that regard with integrating.
Casey: Certainly. Integration is always key. If you look at a typical pharmaceutical line, it is very complex with many complex parts and high-dollar value products, so the need to keep that line moving is very important.
We partner with a lot of folks in this room here, and we try to integrate our printers to talk with their machinery, whether it is a cartoner or labeler, we can speak to them and make sure that if our printer is not ready, we know that the equipment is not going to run, and vice versa. They can send out signals.
We do a lot of integration with other partners in this room, but pharmaceutical lines in general are many parts that need a code, and we have five or six different technologies now to meet that line, and we are integrating each one with the same look, feel, and interface for each one so that if somebody needs to talk to one, they know how to talk to each one without any complex training.
If they want to communicate through Ethernet or network types of communication, they can do that the same way for every type of printer and every technology.
Todd S: I suspect that the simple answer to this next question is: is the new machine launching at the show, but I will devote this to both of you, what are some other ways that you guys are differentiated?
You are not the only print shop in these hallowed halls. Is there any comment there?
Jim: That is a good question. The manufacturers are really looking for help in following the regulatory issues and we are out there to not only help them with that, but also future-proof them. All of our equipment is capable of printing the GS-1 compliant 2D data matrix, which is the preferred data carrier throughout the pharmaceutical industry, and not just the U.S., but globally.
We support the needs on a very broad basis. We understand the manufacturing requirements and the atmosphere associated with the pharmaceutical industry, as Casey mentioned. We are well suited to set the right technology into the right solution for that application for each of our clients.
Todd S: All right, outstanding. Gentlemen I hate to say it, but we are about out of time. Before I let you go, Casey, how can people get in touch with you all and learn more about Videojet Technologies?
Casey: You can find our website or stop by our booth here today. We will be here for the next couple of days. You usually find us on the web and fill out the form to get in contact with us.
Todd S: Jim Kerber, System Solution Sales Group Manager for North America and Casey Robertson Product Manager for North America. Gentlemen it was great seeing you. Thank you for stopping by and joining us.
Jim: Thank you.
Casey: Thank you.
Todd S: All right that wraps this broadcast. On behalf of our guests, Jim Kerber and Casey Robertson, my co-host Todd Youngblood, I am Todd Schnick. Life Science Connect Radio’s live coverage of Interphex will be right back.