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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Complex, Yet Elegant GHS Label Solution

Originally founded in January 1980, Dymax Corporation (www.dymax.com)  is an ISO 9001 certified, leading manufacturer of 100% solvent-free UV light curing, industrial adhesives and light curing systems for the worldwide medical, electronic, optical, glass, plastic, metal, masking and packaging OEM markets.  From the design phase through performance testing, Dymax assists manufacturers in solving their most complex application problems. With an innovative R&D staff, experienced applications engineers, technically-proficient sales managers, and a knowledgeable customer support team, Dymax is dedicated to providing cost-saving assembly and coating solutions to manufacturers.

ghs-label
Scan of Not Finalized Label

As a manufacturer of chemical-based products, Dymax needs to comply with the United Nations based initiative, Global Harmonized System of Labeling (GHS).  To learn more about this new requirement, check out my earlier blog post.  

http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-h-is-ghs-opportunity.html

As an international company that produces labels in 17 different languages and sells products into a large number of countries, meeting the GHS requirements is very complex project.  According to Alison Jeannin, Regulatory Specialist for Dymax, “we use software from The Wercs (www.thewercs.com)  to produce the content for our labels.  However, we needed to find other components, including printers and media, to produce the total GHS solution.  As a goal, we decided to have our GHS solution in production by the end of 2012.”

To build their GHS solution, Dymax started the process last November by looking for a color label printer.  During their review, Dymax look at a large variety of printers, including some costing thousands of dollars.  According to Alison, “our IT managers led our search, insuring we purchased printers that met all of our requirements, including network capability, on-going maintenance, and global support.  With operations in the US, Germany, Korea and China, we needed an Ethernet-capable color label printer from a company with a worldwide presence.  Based on the review and our specific requirements, we selected the Epson TM-C3400.”

After selecting the printer, Dymax had to find media that worked in the color label printer as well as met their aesthetic requirements.  Prior to needing to comply with GHS, Dymax used thermal transfer printers using blue ribbons to produce their labels.



non-ghs-label

Initially, Dymax tested media from a source I recommended.  Although suitable, it had a slightly different face stock color from their existing stock.  Based on this difference, Dymax worked with their existing label vendor to find material that matched their existing stock, yet worked in the TM-C3400.  According to Alison, “the process to select our label media has taken longer than we originally expected.  Although we still need to decide whether or not to use die-cut or continuous media, we have media that meets our requirements for GHS labels.  ”

After selecting the print and media, Dymax needed to integrate the Wercs Software.  “Although Wercs provides all of the text, symbols and icons required, we need to add variable data to each GHS label, including lot number and expiration date.  Our IT team built an interface that enables us to add this information manually just prior to printing.”

ghs label
Scan of Not Finalized Label
Now that the basic solution is selected, Dymax still has a lot of work to do to implement the solution.  Alison says, “Although following the GHS requirements, different countries have slightly different requirements and timelines.  For example, the EU, Australia, and Korea all have different label content and formatting requirements for their labels.   China requires a border on the outside of their GHS labels on product shipped into their country; but will allow black pictograms for labels on internally produced and shipped products.  And it seems the United States will move to meet the GHS requirements by July 2015.”  To meet all of their various worldwide requirements, Dymax will build a GHS “Cell” on their factory floor.  This cell approach will enable them to meet the various requirements when needed.

At the end of our discussion, I asked Alison what was the one thing she learned by going through the complex process to implement GHS labels.  Laughing, Alison said “be nice to IT co-workers and ask for favors sparingly.” 

Learning about the implementation at Dymax, its clear moving to GHS labeling is a complex task.  But Dymax has built an elegant solution that meets the compliance requirements as well as their needs.


Guy Mikel
855-962-7670
info@colorlabelsolutions.com
www.colorlabelsolutions.com
#GHSLABELS

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