1. Germany’s AJK Etiketten set out to provide their end-user with a high-performing cold chain labeling solution that would enable the tracing of Covid-19 vaccine transport packages.
2. The solution was robust filmic Raflex label face material combined with UPM Raflatac RP Cryo label adhesive that withstands the ultra-deep-freeze conditions in the temperature-controlled transportation of the vaccine and in final storage down to -80°C.
3. AJK teamed up with UPM Raflatac to quickly deliver the right solutions to support the end-user in the swift rollout of the vaccine.
Quick and easy solution stood out from the competition
AJK Etiketten, a German printing company, is playing a vital role in getting all the temperature-controlled vaccine shipping boxes labeled in ultra-deep-freeze conditions.
It all started last November when an end user's consultant approached AJK for high-performing labeling and printing solutions for all the vaccination centers in Germany. A solution was quickly needed for printing labels with the identification serial numbers of the vaccine to be applied in the “vaccine passport” given to people when they take the shot for traceability.
AJK’s solution of the stand-alone printing system with pre-installed proprietary software stood out from the competition and won the deal. This extremely simple-to-use plug-and-play solution with a complete service package has also opened many new opportunities for the company.
UPM Raflatac’s Vellum Logistics NXT+ is used for the labels in German “Vaccine Passports”.
Reliable labels for freezing conditions
Soon after AJK finalized the installation of the label printers to all 500 vaccination centers in Germany, the end-user inquired about a cold chain labeling solution applied onto the vaccine plastic trays for a final distribution in temperature-controlled thermal containers.
To ensure the traceability of the vaccine, important information such as the filling date and time as well as the duration of the transport, are all printed on a label and applied to the vaccine plastic tray transport packaging. These labels need to withstand the harsh condition – down to -80°C in storage – during the transportation and distribution process and continue to stay in place when they are transferred into ultra-cold freezers at health clinics until final use. The reliability of the material and the speed of delivery are keys to winning this race against time.
As one of AJK’s top suppliers, UPM Raflatac has cooperated with the company since its foundation 17 years ago. “The support we get from UPM Raflatac has been fast and good, and always to the point. For the past years, we have had several projects together, and naturally, UPM Raflatac came right on top of the list for this project,” says the company’s owner Andreas Jost.
Andreas Jost, Leander Klein and Michael Rohmann from AJK Etiketten.
Decades of research put to test in vaccine cold chain
As one of the world’s leading producers of self-adhesive label materials, UPM Raflatac has devoted decades of research and development to engineer world-class label solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. The company has an extensive range of labeling solutions for example pre-filled syringes, vials, ampoules, autoinjectors, IV containers, eye dropper bottles, tamper-evident seals, blood donation bags, laboratory test tubes, sterilisation wraps, pouches, and many more.
The right label material will adhere well even to moist and cold surfaces, ensure legible printing, and remain securely intact after harsh storage and handling, without absorbing moisture or tearing, even after thawing. The RP 80 LT and RP Cryo label adhesives are specially designed to enable multiple freeze-thaw cycles when combined with the suitable label face. While RP 80 LT is formulated for conditions down to -80°C and suitable for labeling vials, ampoules, laboratory test tubes, plates, and storage boxes, the RP Cryo can be used for labeling on cryogenic containers in liquid-nitrogen storage conditions as low as -150°C to -196°C.
“We decided together with AJK to go for RP Cryo because we wanted to be sure that the material will withstand the required temperature,” says Mihaela Kreh, Sales Manager at UPM Raflatac in Germany.
When the whole world is eager to unwind the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply must be quick and dependable. “UPM Raflatac’s delivery time was exceptionally quick. One of the competitors in Germany also introduced a suitable material, but even that would only be available later,” says Andreas Jost.
The snowball that will keep on rolling
In the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, there are not only strict regulations to follow but also demanding conditions that set high technical requirements for labels, including the one on the vaccine vial and logistic packaging. With the technical expertise, global pre-tested label material range, and change management control to ensure long-term availability, UPM Raflatac was able to assist AJK swiftly in providing reliable labeling solutions to match the end user’s demanding needs and support the quick rollout of the vaccine.
“AJK is going to install a second digital printing machine, mainly dedicated for the pharma applications to better serve the growing needs in this sector. With a partner like UPM Raflatac, there is real potential for us to play a bigger role in the market, both for the proven cold chain labeling solution and the vaccine labeling – a winning combination for all parties involved,” states Andreas Jost enthusiastically.