Track-and-trace is gaining ground in many markets for many reasons: safeguarding our food supply, preventing drug counterfeiting, discouraging diversion of high-end salon personal care products, automating shipping/receiving tasks and simplifying returnable container logistics.

Initially, brand owners and product marketers (your customers) invested in online printing capabilities to add variable information such as serialized bar codes, or radio frequency identification (RFID) labels, at the time of product packaging. They struggled with this, losing sleep (and probably hair from pulling it out) trying to secure their products and comply with bioterrorism regulations and Wal-Mart’s RFID initiative.

Then the light bulb went on. “Hey,” they thought, “why are we doing this? As long as the data chain is maintained, this is a job for our flexible packaging supplier!”

If you haven’t gotten a lot of requests yet, they probably won’t be far behind. Are you ready?

Help is out there. One solution that’s specifically tailored to converters was unveiled at the recent Label Expo show. IMprints For Converters from Videojet Technologies ( combines the tracking software and ink jet printing capabilities of Videojet with the high-speed inspection technology from Label Vision Systems. The program allows flexible packaging and label converters to offer customers mass serialization. This is especially needed now by pharmaceutical companies that have to comply with electronic pedigree laws.

With the IMprints For Converters system, codes are printed and verified at speeds up to 967 feet per minute. Videojet has partnered with press manufacturer Mark Andy to develop in-line solutions for its narrow-web label presses and rewinders. But the IMprints technology can be integrated with other existing equipment, too, including bag or pouch making systems.

As more of your customers look to you for answers, this could be just one more trick in your security bag, along with special inks, holograms, microtaggants, microtext printing and more.