WO2004000520A2 - System and method for bar coding blister pack packaging - Google Patents

System and method for bar coding blister pack packaging Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2004000520A2
WO2004000520A2 PCT/US2003/020269 US0320269W WO2004000520A2 WO 2004000520 A2 WO2004000520 A2 WO 2004000520A2 US 0320269 W US0320269 W US 0320269W WO 2004000520 A2 WO2004000520 A2 WO 2004000520A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
blister pack
bar code
information
pack packaging
packaging
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2003/020269
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2004000520A3 (en
Inventor
Allen Lubow
Original Assignee
International Barcode Corporation
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US39206002P priority Critical
Priority to US60/392,060 priority
Application filed by International Barcode Corporation filed Critical International Barcode Corporation
Publication of WO2004000520A2 publication Critical patent/WO2004000520A2/en
Publication of WO2004000520A3 publication Critical patent/WO2004000520A3/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/28Articles or materials wholly enclosed in composite wrappers, i.e. wrappers formed by associating or interconnecting two or more sheets or blanks
    • B65D75/30Articles or materials enclosed between two opposed sheets or blanks having their margins united, e.g. by pressure-sensitive adhesive, crimping, heat-sealing, or welding
    • B65D75/32Articles or materials enclosed between two opposed sheets or blanks having their margins united, e.g. by pressure-sensitive adhesive, crimping, heat-sealing, or welding one or both sheets or blanks being recessed to accommodate contents
    • B65D75/325Articles or materials enclosed between two opposed sheets or blanks having their margins united, e.g. by pressure-sensitive adhesive, crimping, heat-sealing, or welding one or both sheets or blanks being recessed to accommodate contents one sheet being recessed, and the other being a flat not- rigid sheet, e.g. puncturable or peelable foil
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2203/00Decoration means, markings, information elements, contents indicators
    • B65D2203/02Labels
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F19/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific applications
    • G06F19/30Medical informatics, i.e. computer-based analysis or dissemination of patient or disease data
    • G06F19/34Computer-assisted medical diagnosis or treatment, e.g. computerised prescription or delivery of medication or diets, computerised local control of medical devices, medical expert systems or telemedicine
    • G06F19/3456Computer-assisted prescription or delivery of medication, e.g. prescription filling or compliance checking
    • G06F19/3462Computer-assisted distribution of medication from dispensers, i.e. making sure that medication is correctly delivered to patients

Abstract

A system and method for producing a bar code image on blister pack packaging is disclosed. More particularly, a designer, or other party responsible for providing a bar code image on blister pack packaging, uses the present invention to define a template for blister pack packaging, and to provide human readable information and a bar code to be placed on at least one blister pack unit of the blister pack packaging. The present invention generates a representation of the blister pack packaging, wherein at least one blister pack unit has the bar code placed thereon. The blister pack packaging is produced, at least in part, by using the representation.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR BAR CODING BLISTER PACK PACKAGING

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present invention is based on and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial Number 60/392,060 entitled "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR BAR CODING BLISTER PACK PACKAGING" and filed June 25, 2002, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to bar codes, and, more particularly, to bar coding blister pack packaging.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] A significant percentage of all single dose tablet form medicines is distributed in blister pack packaging. Blister pack packaging typically comprises a vacuum mold cover over a flat sheet backing that effectively preserves the shelf life of the contents (e.g., the single dose medicine). Blister pack packaging is sealed such that tampering is prevented, and blister pack packaging is inherently child-resistant.

[0004] Referring to the drawings in which like reference designators refer to like elements, there is shown in Fig. 1 an exploded view of a typical prior art blister pack unit 10. Frequently, a plurality of blister pack units 10, e.g., numbering 30, 60 or 90, in a layout of rows and columns, are fixed in a single sheet of the blister pack packaging. Each individual blister pack unit 10 can be used to contain, for example, a single dose medicine. While many of the examples cited herein refer to medicines, blister pack packaging is not so limited. Other types of consumables, for example, gum and candy, are distributed in blister pack packaging. Other goods, for example, hardware products, such as screws and bolts, are sold in blister pack packaging. For descriptive purposes, however, many examples herein refer to medicine.

[0005] Blister pack units 10 are typically separable by perforations in the single sheet of blister pack packaging. Accordingly, individual blister pack units 10 can be separated and the contents thereof stored for individual use in the future.

[0006] As shown in Fig. 1, an example blister pack unit 10 construction comprises two card stock sheets 12 and 14. A foil or paper laminate 16 is adhered to the backing of card stock 14 that covers opening 17. Preferably, a layer of film 18 covers the entire surface of the of the foil/paper 16 that appears through the opening 17 of the card stock 14. The card stock 12 also includes an opening 19. During the production of blister pack packaging, a vacuum formed sheet of thermoplastic 20 is placed over the card stock, then heated, and blisters are formed that protrude through the card openings 19 of blister pack units 10.

[0007] In order to retrieve the contents stored in a blister pack unit 10, a user pushes the contents out through the opening 17 of the card stock 14, breaking the foil/paper 16 backing in the process. The plastic blister is preferably thin and flexible such to allow this movement.

[0008] In the prior art, bar codes are typically printed on individual items, and on containers enclosing a number of individual items. Bar codes contain information encoded in bars and spaces of various widths and arranged in predetermined patterns. When a bar code is scanned by a bar code reading device (e.g., a laser scanner), the bars and spaces are usually crossed by a scanning beam along a horizontal plane, or alternatively, rastered or scanned omni-directionally.

[0009] Bar code technology, including printers, scanners and decoders encompass symbologies (i.e., bar code languages) to encode data that are optically read, thus producing machine-readable symbols that capture visual images of the symbologies and convert them to computer-compatible digital data. The size of a bar coded label is determined in part by the type of coding used, by the size of the individual bars and spaces, or on the data-matrix or the composite symbology. The amount of information encoded in a bar code is constrained by the size limitations of the bar code.

[0010] There are many different bar code symbologies. Each symbology has its own set of rules for character (e.g., letter, number, punctuation) encoding, error checking, printing, and decoding requirements. The various bar code symbologies differ in the ways they represent data and in the type of data they can encode. Some only encode numbers, others encode numbers, letters and a few punctuation characters, still others encode the 128-character and even 256-character ASCII character sets. The newest symbologies include options to encode multiple languages and allow user-defined encoding of special or additional data. These new symbologies even allow, through deliberate redundancies, reconstruction of data if the symbol is damaged.

[0011] A conventional bar code symbol is "one-dimensional," i.e., bars and spaces extend only in a single direction. One-dimensional bar codes are limited in the amount of data that can be encoded therein. Increasingly, a need exists for bar codes to contain more information than conventional bar code symbols. In response to this need, reduced space symbology (RSS) and composite symbology (CS) bar codes have been developed. RSS bar codes are one-dimensional, extending in one direction. Several variants of RSS exist including stacked, limited and expanded which have, inter alia, the ability to encode additional data beyond a basic, short identifier that is usually printed with bar codes. The second symbology, CS, consists of a one-dimensional symbol paired with, and in some cases logically linked, to a two-dimensional symbol printed directly above it. The composite, two-dimensional symbol is known in the art as a PDF 417 symbol or a UCC/EAN-128 specific variant of MICRO PDF 417. MICRO PDF 417 is a version of PDF 417 which is designed for small item marking. Currently, RSS/CS bar codes are defined having a data capacity ranging from 56 characters to 2,361 characters. In time, the data capacity is likely to increase.

[0012] RSS/CS bar codes effectively replace the need for external computer databases to be referenced after a value, for example, a UPC item number, is extracted from a one dimensional bar code. Prior to the development of RSS/CS bar codes, after a value was extracted from a single dimension bar code, data were referenced in computer database(s) to provide associated details with the extracted value. RSS/CS bar codes, in contrast, contain much of the associated data previously stored in a collateral database. The RSS/CS bar code is, essentially, a database itself.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] The foregoing illustrates a need for a system and method to provide bar codes, and, more particularly, RSS/CS bar codes on blister pack packaging. The present invention preferably provides for identifying information to be placed on blister pack units 10, and further enables a person to provide a layout for blister pack packaging. The contents of a separate individual blister pack unit 10, for example, that has been separated from a sheet of blister pack packaging and that has an RSS/CS bar code printed thereon, are, accordingly identifiable by reading the information stored in the bar code.

[0014] The present invention comprises a system and method for providing a bar code on a blister pack unit. More particularly, the invention provides for receiving bar code information representing information to be encoded in a bar code. The invention further provides for receiving blister pack packaging information representing a number of blister pack units in at least one sheet of blister pack packaging, a height and width of blister pack packaging, a top and a left margin of the blister pack packaging, and, if more than one sheet is identified, a measurement of space between sheets of blister pack packaging and the number of rows and columns of sheets. The invention also electronically encodes the bar code information into a bar code, and electronically provides a representation of the bar code on at least one blister pack unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWL G(S

[0015] For the purposes of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings a form which is presently preferred, it being understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. The features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention that refers to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0016] Fig. 1 is an exploded view of a typical prior art blister pack unit;

[0017] Fig. 2 is an example hardware arrangement in accordance with the present invention;

[0018] Fig. 2A is a block diagram representing parties associated with the present invention;

[0019] Fig. 3 shows sample components of an information processor and user terminal in accordance with the present invention; [0020] Fig. 4 is a sample data entry display screen for entering human readable text, and corresponding data to be rendered in a machine readable form ( i.e., a RSS/CS bar code) in accordance with the present invention;

[0021] Fig. 5 is a sample data entry display screen for defining a template of blister pack packaging;

[0022] Fig. 6 is a flow chart identifying example steps associated with producing blister pack packaging in accordance with the present invention; and

[0023] Figs. 7 and 8 are example backsides of blister pack packaging as produced by the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0024] The present invention is preferably directed to a computer hardware and software application that assists in the production of blister pack packaging. The invention enables parties, for example, graphic designers, who produce machine readable bar codes and other graphic images that are typically formatted in ADOBE POSTSCRIPT files, to create layouts for blister pack packaging designs easily. The layouts include bar code graphic images and human readable portions that are printed for at least one individual blister pack unit 10 within a sheet of blister pack packaging.

[0025] The present invention automatically performs many of the tedious and repetitive tasks required of graphic designers in prior art blister pack packaging systems. By using the modules associated with the present invention, graphic designers no longer must manually calculate the coordinates of each single blister pack unit 10 that is to receive a bar code graphic. Moreover, the invention precludes the designer from having to tediously place each bar code graphic according to the calculated coordinates. [0026] Fig. 2 is an example of a first preferred embodiment of a hardware arrangement for producing bar codes on blister pack packaging, and referred to herein, generally as system 19. System 19 preferably comprises at least one information processor 22 and at least one user terminal 24, each of which are coupled to communication network 26. Information processor 22 preferably includes all databases necessary to support the present invention. However, it is contemplated that information processor 22 can access any required databases via communication network 26 or any other communication network to which information processor 22 may be coupled. Communication network 26 is preferably a global public communication network such as the Internet, but can also be a wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN), or other network that enables two or more computers to communicate with each other.

[0027] In the preferred embodiment, information processor 22 and user terminal 24 are any devices that are capable of sending and receiving data across communication network 26, e.g., mainframe computers, mini computers, personal computers, laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDA) and Internet access devices such as Web TV. hi addition, user terminals 24 are preferably equipped with a web browser, such as MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER, NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR and the like. Information processor 22 and user terminals 24 are coupled to communication network 26 using any known data communication networking technology.

[0028] Also shown in Fig. 2, printer 28 is preferably used to print bar codes and human readable information on blister pack units 10. The printer may be of a variety of printer types, including, for example, thermal printers, laser printers, impact printers and the like. Printer 28 is preferably used, at least in part, for high volume printing. Also shown in Fig. 2, printing plate maker 29 is used in the production of printing blister pack packaging. Printer plate maker 29 may produce a printing plate to print thousands and even millions of blister pack units 10, each including bar codes, in a single day. [0029] Fig. 2A shows some of the parties associated with the present invention. As shown in Fig. 2 A manufacturer 23 communicates with designer 25, and requires designing services for, for example, introducing a new product to market. The product will be distributed in blister pack packaging. The designer 25 uses the modules of the present invention to produce a graphic file that is transmitted to printing plate producer 27. The printing plate producer 27 uses the graphic file to produce a printing plate, which is used by printer 31 in the production of blister pack packaging.

[0030] Fig. 3 is a block diagram showing the functional elements of each information processor 22. Included is one or more central processing units (CPU) 30 used to execute software code and control the operation of information processor 22, read-only memory (ROM) 32, random access memory (RAM) 34, one or more network interfaces 36 to transmit and receive data to and from other computing devices across a communication network, storage devices 38 such as a hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, tape drive, CD ROM or DVD for storing program code, databases and application data, one or more input devices 40 such as a keyboard, mouse, track ball, microphone and the like, and a display 42.

[0031] The various components of information processor 22 need not be physically contained within the same chassis or even located in a single location. For example, storage device 38 may be located at a site which is remote from the remaining elements of information processor 22, and may even be connected to CPU 30 across communication network 26 via network interface 36. Information processor 22 preferably includes a memory equipped with sufficient storage to provide the necessary databases, forums, and other community services as well as acting as a web server for communicating hypertext markup language (HTML), Java applets, Active-X control programs and the like to user terminals 24. Information processor 22 is preferably arranged with components, for example, those shown in Fig. 3, suitable for the expected operating environment of information processor 22. The CPU(s) 30, network interface(s) 36 and memory and storage devices are selected to ensure that capacities are arranged to accommodate expected demand.

[0032] As used herein, the term "link" refers to a selectable connection from one or more words, pictures or other information objects to others in which the selectable connection is presented within the web browser. The information object can include sound and/or motion video. Selection is typically made by "clicking" on the link using an input device such as a mouse, track ball, touch screen and the like. Of course, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that any method by which an object presented on the screen can be selected is sufficient.

[0033] The functional elements shown in Fig. 3 (designated by reference numerals 30- 42) are the same categories of functional elements present in user terminals 24. However, not all elements need be present, for example, storage devices in the case of PDA's and the capacities of the various elements are arranged to accommodate the expected user demand. For example, CPU 30 in user terminal 24 may be a smaller capacity CPU than the CPU present in the information processor 22. Similarly, it is likely that information processor 22 will include storage devices of a much higher capacity than storage devices present in user terminals 24.

[0034] Of course, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the capabilities of the functional elements can be adjusted as needed. The nature of the invention is such that one skilled in the art of writing computer executable code (i.e., software) can implement the described functions using one or more of a combination of popular computer programming languages and developing environments including, but not limited to C++, Visual Basic, Java, HTML and various networked and standalone application development applications.

[0035] It is contemplated that system 19 is arranged such that user terminals 24 communicate with, and display data received from, information processor 22 using any known communication and display method, for example, using a non-Internet- browser viewer coupled with a local area network protocol such as the Internet Packet Exchange (IPX), dial-up, third-party, private network or a value added network (VAN).

[0036] It is further contemplated that any suitable operating system can be used on information processor 22 and user terminal 24, for example, DOS, WINDOWS 3.x, WINDOWS 95, WINDOWS 98, WINDOWS NT, WINDOWS 2000, WINDOWS ME, WINDOWS CE, POCKET PC, WINDOWS XP, MAC OS, UNIX, LINUX, PALM OS and any other suitable operating system.

[0037] As used herein, references to displaying data on user terminal 24 refer to the process of communicating data to the terminal across communication network 26 and processing the data such that the data is viewed on the display 42, for example by using a web browser and the like. As is common with web browsing software, the display screen on user terminals 24 present sites within the system 19 such that a user can proceed from site to site within the system by selecting a desired link. Therefore, each user's experience with system 19 is based on the order with which they progress through the display screens. Graphic controls are preferably available in the display screens and modules to initiate data processes, and to provide convenient navigation between the display screens and modules of system 19. In other words, because the system is not completely hierarchical in its arrangement of display screens, users can proceed from area to area without the need to "backtrack" through a series of display screens. For that reason, and unless stated otherwise, the following discussion is not intended to represent any sequential operation steps, but rather to illustrate the components of system 19.

[0038] The present invention utilizes hardware and software modules that operate to produce a system and method for developing and implementing properly formatted output (e.g., a POSTSCRIPT file) that will preferably be used in the production of printing plates for blister pack packaging. The modules enable a graphic designer 25, or other party responsible for designing blister pack packaging, to provide information to be printed on the packaging, and to define an appropriate layout therefor. The modules preferably enable the graphic designer 25 to define the layout by providing parameters directed to the flat, backside portion thereof, and to the front side portion comprising the individual blister pack units 10.

[0039] The present invention receives user input directed to the contents of blister pack packaging, including, for example, text information and bar code data, and respective formatting therefor. Further, the invention receives user input directed to the physical layout of the receiving medium, for example, the blister pack packaging, on which the user input directed to the contents is to be printed. For example, the user provides the height and width of the blister pack packaging, the top and left margins of the blister pack packaging, and the number of rows and columns of the individual blister pack units 10 included therein.

[0040] The present invention preferably automatically evaluates the dimensions of the blister pack packaging from the user input, and outputs the information and corresponding RSS/CS bar code that are directed to the contents of the blister pack packaging to an Encapsulated Postscript Graphics (EPS) file. The present invention evaluates and computes the maximum width and height for producing the maximum sized bar code within the space available. If necessary, the invention uses predefined settings for bar width reduction. In this way, the RSS/CS bar code and corresponding human readable information is printed in columns and rows, according to the dimensions received from the user, for each individual blister pack unit 10. The EPS file includes the bar code and corresponding human readable information directed to the contents of the blister pack packaging, and is formatted according to the specifications and dimensions of the blister pack packaging. The EPS file is preferably electronically transmitted to a plate maker for generating the blister pack packaging. [0041] Fig. 4 shows a sample information data entry display screen 44. The example display screen 44 shown in Fig. 4 is directed to medicine, however, it is envisioned that the contents of any product distributed in blister pack packaging can be represented in display screen 44.

[0042] In a preferred form, the user uses the display screen 44 to submit information directed to contents of a blister pack unit 10 that is to be encoded in a RSS/CS bar code. As shown in Fig. 4, the user selects a choice for a preferred alignment for the textual portions to be printed for the blister pack unit 10 by using alignment button 45. The user enters information in the text entry controls 46-56 in the display screen 44. The information entered in one or more of these controls is printed on the blister pack unit 10. Preferably, the user selects a type face for each line of information in bold/italic selectors 58, and each textual control (46-56) preferably has a corresponding type face control.

[0043] Also shown in Fig. 4, information directed to the bar code portion of the blister pack unit 10 is provided by the user in the bar code entry portion 59 of display screen 44. For example, information regarding a Global Trade Identification Number (GTLN) defining a packaging indicator, system digits (e.g., country codes), manufacturer number, product ID and check digit identification are numerically entered in the bar code entry portion 59. Other information, including National Drug Code (NDC) information, the expiration date and lot number for a specific medicine, is also preferably entered by the user in the bar code entry portion 59. The user also uses the bar code entry portion 59 to define textual formatting information, and, further, to define the bar code width, and bar code width reduction, if any. Preferably, the measurements are provided in picture elements ("pixels"), for a given resolution. Further, a user provides text formatting, for example, print size of characters, in text format portion 60.

[0044] In the example shown in Fig. 4, a user has selected a bar code width of 16 pixels and a bar code width reduction of 4 pixels at a resolution of 2400 dots per inch. These values are used by the modules of the present invention to appropriately adjust the width of the RSS/CS bar code, and to reduce the width of the respective bars, as necessary. After the user is satisfied with the data entry, the information is saved by selecting a graphic control, for example, save button 62.

[0045] Fig. 5 shows an example template set up display screen 64 that is used for defining the layout of blister pack packaging. In the example shown in Fig. 5, the blister pack data portion includes data entry controls (e.g., text-boxes, drop-down lists, checkboxes, radio buttons, and the like) for defining the height and width of a sheet of blister pack packaging. As noted above and shown in Fig. 5, each sheet of blister pack packaging comprises a plurality of blister pack units 10. The margin data portion 68 shown in Fig. 5 includes data entry controls for defining a top and left margin associated with blister pack packaging. The space between portion 70 shown in the template set up display screen 64 in Fig. 5 includes data entry controls to define the vertical and horizontal spacing between the sheets of blister pack packaging. Further, the number of blister pack packaging portion 72 enables the user to define the number of rows and columns of sheets of blister pack packaging. In a preferred form, an update preview control (shown in Fig. 5 as button 74), when selected, offers a preview of the template as defined by the parameters entered by the user. In the example shown in Fig. 5, six sheets of blister pack packaging are provided as two rows of three columns. When the user is satisfied with the template definition, then the user preferably selects a control, for example, OK button 76, and the template definition is saved for future use. Alternatively, the user selects cancel button 78 to prevent the entries provided in the display screen 64 from being applied.

[0046] After information has been entered by a user, the modules interact to generate a resulting image, which is then preferably saved as an EPS file and transmitted to a plate maker, who generates the plates for printing the blister pack packaging. [0047] Thus, RSS/CS bar codes, graphic images and/or corresponding human-readable information are defined and output to a useful form, for example, an EPS file. Other electronic forms are envisioned herein, for example, files of other graphic formats, facsimiles and hard copies. Thereafter, the file (or other form) is preferably received by a plate maker for generating a plate to print the bar codes, graphic images and/or human readable information on the blister pack packaging. Alternatively, the file is printed to the foil paper backing 16 (Fig. 1) using a printer 28 (Fig. 2), thereby alleviating the need to create a printing plate. The decision whether to produce bar codes on blister pack packaging using printing plates or printers 28 depend, at least in part, on the required volume of output.

[0048] The present invention preferably computes the largest barcode possible within the space defined by the user. The software modules compute the maximum amount of width and height for producing the bar code within the space available, and thereafter uses the predefined settings for bar width reduction, if necessary.

[0049] The features of the present invention are described below way of an example and with reference to the flow chart shown in Fig. 6.

[0050] A pharmaceutical manufacturer 23 is introducing a new tablet form of medication to the market, and will distribute the tablets in blister pack packaging (step S 100). A graphic designer 25 is hired to provide the graphics and layout of the packaging for the new medication (step S 102). The graphic designer 25 receives information from the pharmaceutical manufacturer 23 regarding the layout of the blister pack packaging that will be used for distribution (step SI 04). For example, the designer 25 is informed that each sheet for blister pack packaging comprises ten blister pack units 10 (two columns of five rows). After the designer 25 has completed the design(s), the designer 25 operates a computer system to enter information for blister pack packaging in display screen 44 (Fig. 4) (step S 106). [0051] The graphic designer 25 provides text information for the name of the new medication, the dosage, a brief description of the medication, the pharmaceutical manufacturer 23, and the manufacturer's location in the display screen 44 (step SI 08). The graphic designer 25 further aligns the text information to the left, and further identifies the medication name and the dosage in bold typeface. After the text information is entered and formatted, the designer 25 enters bar code information in the display screen 44 (step SI 10). For example, the designer 25 enters the medication's GTLN number, log number, expiration number and formatting information regarding bar widths and bar width reduction. After the designer 25 is satisfied with the data entry, he saves the information by selecting save button 62 (step SI 12).

[0052] Continuing with the preceding example, the graphic designer 25 is provided with template setup screen 64 (Fig. 5) (step SI 14). Using the information provided to him, the designer 25 provides the height and width of a sheet of blister pack units 10, the top and left margins of the sheets, the space between the sheets and the number of sheets (step S 116). The designer 25 selects update preview button 74 to ensure the layout is defined correctly. In step S 118, the designer 25 makes a determination whether the layout is correct. If the layout is not correct, then the process repeats to step SI 16 and the information provided in the template setup screen 64 is updated. If the layout is correct, then the process continues to step SI 20, and the designer 25 either selects OK button 76 (to save the settings) or Cancel button 78 to cancel the operation.

[0053] In step S 122, the designer 25 outputs the blister pack packaging information. An EPS file is generated by the application, and thereafter, the designer 25 transmits the EPS file to a maker of plates for producing large volumes of blister pack packaging (step S124). The plate maker produces a printing plate corresponding to the EPS file, and the blister pack packaging is produced using the printing plate (step SI 26). [0054] Figs. 7 and 8 show the backside of blister pack packaging as produced by the present invention. The example blister pack packaging backsides in Figs. 7 and 8 can be represented as two EPS files for blister pack packaging and generated by the modules of the present invention. The example EPS file shown in Fig. 7 regards a substantially rectangular blister pack unit 10 design, while the example shown in Fig. 8 regards a substantially ovular blister pack unit 10 design. Other forms and shapes for blister pack packaging, for example, diamonds, triangles, octagons and the like, are also supported by the present invention.

[0055] The advantages of the present invention over the prior art include efficiency, a decrease of errors caused by human intervention and decreased costs. Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is preferred, therefore, that the present invention not be limited by the specific disclosure herein.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method for providing a bar code on at least one blister pack unit, the method comprising: electronically receiving bar code information, the bar code information representing information to be encoded in a bar code; electronically receiving blister pack packaging information, the blister pack packaging information representing a plurality of blister pack units in at least one sheet of blister pack packaging, a height and width of blister pack packaging, and a top and a left margin of the blister pack packaging; electronically encoding the bar code information into a bar code; electronically receiving a layout of blister pack units on the at least one sheet that corresponds to the blister pack packaging information; electronically generating a representation of the bar code on the at least one blister pack unit in the blister pack packaging that corresponds to the blister pack packaging information.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the blister pack packaging information represents a plurality of sheets of blister pack packaging, and further represents a measurement of space between plurality of sheets, and a number of rows and columns of sheets.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating a image of the sheet of blister pack packaging.
4. The method of claim 3, further comprising transmitting the image to a printing plate maker, and generating a printing plate for producing blister pack packaging corresponding to the image.
5. The method of claim 1, further comprising outputting the representation of the bar code onto the blister pack packaging.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: electronically receiving textual information, the textual information representing text to be included in each blister pack unit in the blister pack packaging; and electronically providing a representation of the text and the bar code on at least one blister pack unit in the sheet of blister pack packaging.
7. The method of claim 6, further comprising outputting the representation of the bar code and the text on at least one blister pack unit in the sheet of blister pack packaging to blister pack packaging.
8. The method of claim 6, further comprising receiving text formatting information, the text formatting information representing at least one of alignment, font type, typeface and point size of the text.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising formatting the text on the at least one blister pack unit in accordance with the text formatting information.
10. The method of claim 1, further receiving comprising bar code reduction information, the bar code reduction information representing an amount of reduction to apply to the bar code in order for the bar code to fit on the blister pack unit.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein the bar code information represents the contents of the blister pack unit.
12. The method of claim 6, wherein the textual information represents the contents of the blister pack unit.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising saving the representation for future use.
14. A system for providing a bar code on a blister pack unit, the system comprising: an information display screen, the information display screen including data entry controls to receive at least one of textual information and bar code information, the textual information and the bar code information representing at least the contents of the blister pack unit; a template setup display screen, the template setup display screen including data entry controls to receive at least one of blister pack packaging sheet measurements, blister pack package sheet margins, measurement of space between blister pack packaging sheets and a number of rows and columns of blister pack packaging sheets; a memory that receives the at least one of textual information and bar code information, and further receives the at least one of blister pack packaging sheet measurements, blister pack package sheet margins, measurement of space and number of rows and columns; a preview display screen providing a representation of the blister pack packaging sheets corresponding to the template setup display screen; and an image generation module, the image generation module providing an image of the blister pack packaging as defined in the template setup display screen, wherein each blister pack unit in the blister pack packaging contains at least one of a bar code having the bar code information encoded therein and the textual information.
15. The system of claim 14, further comprising a communication module, the communication module providing transmission of the image over a communication network to a receiving party.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein the communication network is at least one of the Internet, a local area network, a wide area network and a global communication network.
17. The system of claim 15, further comprising a printing plate corresponding to the image for production of printing blister pack packaging.
18. A method for producing a printing plate for blister pack packaging production, the method comprising: receiving an image of blister pack packaging, the blister pack packaging comprising at least one bar code on at least one blister pack unit; producing a printing plate based on the image; and producing blister pack packaging using the printing plate.
19. A method for producing a bar code on a blister pack unit, the method comprising: electronically providing measurements of the blister pack unit; electronically providing bar code information to be encoded in the bar code; and placing the bar code on the blister pack unit.
20. The method of claim 1, wherein the bar code is a RSS/CS bar code.
22. The method of claim 1, further comprising determining a maximum height and width for the bar code as a function of the blister pack packaging information.
PCT/US2003/020269 2002-06-25 2003-06-25 System and method for bar coding blister pack packaging WO2004000520A2 (en)

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US39206002P true 2002-06-25 2002-06-25
US60/392,060 2002-06-25

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AU2003277887A AU2003277887A1 (en) 2002-06-25 2003-06-25 System and method for bar coding blister pack packaging
JP2004516282A JP2005531834A (en) 2002-06-25 2003-06-25 System and method for attaching bar code in blister pack packaging
HK06103694A HK1083660A1 (en) 2002-06-25 2006-03-24 System and method for bar coding blister pack packaging

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WO2004000520A2 true WO2004000520A2 (en) 2003-12-31
WO2004000520A3 WO2004000520A3 (en) 2004-04-29

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CN (1) CN100456315C (en)
AU (1) AU2003277887A1 (en)
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HK1083660A1 (en) 2009-08-14
AU2003277887A1 (en) 2004-01-06
CN100456315C (en) 2009-01-28
WO2004000520A3 (en) 2004-04-29
JP2005531834A (en) 2005-10-20
AU2003277887A8 (en) 2004-01-06
CN1675648A (en) 2005-09-28

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