bbautomation > Industries > Pharma > Serialization and labeling of vials



Especially powerful, reliable and accurate labelling systems are used for vial labelling. The labelling of pharmaceutical vials is subject to extensive legal requirements. Often a complete documentation is required. Vials are cylindrically shaped glass bottles. They differ in size. Smaller vials are usually filled with vaccine serums, while larger ones are filled with infusions or other pharmaceutical contents.

Quality deviations in drug production can have a direct impact on patients‘ health. For their safety, correct and reliable marking of the vials is essential. Different technologies for coding, identification, labeling and control of the vials often have to interact perfectly in a very small space.

Labeling of vials

Wrap-around labeling

Vials are mainly labeled on the circumference. With wrap-around labelling, precise application of the labels is necessary - especially for labels with fill level scales. Particularly with longer labels, there must be no spiral misalignment. Vials are often provided with so-called booklet labels or documentation labels. Booklet labels are mostly used when a lot of information has to be applied to the product or the same drug is exported to different countries and therefore the information has to be listed in several languages.

Wrap-around labeling of small vials

Wrap-around labeling of large vials

Wrap-around labeling of vials with booklet labels

Labeling system VRM for labeling vials

The b+b labelling system VRM was developed especially for the wrap-around labelling of pharmaceutical vials. The labelling can be done either with the help of a rotary station or a rotary belt. By using the rotary belt a higher number of pieces can be achieved. The vials are transported on a conveyor belt and get separated. The label is applied to the vial via a lateral label dispenser. The vial is rotated by the rotation belt and labeled on the circumference as it passes through.

Labeling of vials with a rotary band

In the case of wrap-around labeling of vials using a rotary station, the vial is stopped. The label is dispensed laterally, applied to the bottle and rotated by a roll for wrap-around labelling.

Labeling of vials with a rotary station

Tamper-evident labeling

Tamper-evident labels and sealing labels give a first opening indication. They are used for tamper-proof design of the vials. They are applied to the vial cap and folded over onto the bottle neck. If the vial is opened, the label is damaged. The closure label cannot be removed from the bottle without leaving residues.

The advantages of the b+b labeling machine for vial labelling

  • Modular design of the labeling system - you can react quickly and flexibly to new labeling requirements in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Different vial formats and sizes can be labeled with the same labeling system.

  • You benefit from short changeover times, as no tools are required for format changes.

  • Different labeling techniques can optionally be covered with the same labeling system: Wrap-around labeling, tamper-evident labeling and lid labeling of vials.

  • Highest precision in applying the label, even with longer labels there is no spiral offset.

  • Printing of variable data such as best before date, batch data and various codes can be easily implemented in all systems.

Available options of the labeller for vials:

  • Infeed and outfeed turntables in different sizes

  • Feeding and collection of vials by means of trays

  • Additional labeling units, e.g. lid or bottom labeler

  • Label and product inspection by vision systems

  • Label presence check

  • Product ejection

  • Integration of various printing modules

Imprint of variable data

Print labels

Printing variable data on labels is a significant challenge due to the increasing demands on the pharmaceutical industry. Depending on the material and size of the label, print image, resolution and speed, different printing methods are used.

Print vials

Variable data, such as the serial number or batch number, are printed directly on the bottle. The printed data must be waterproof and resistant to solvents. Direct printing on the bottle can be realized with the help of thermal inkjet printers.

> Find out more about printer integrations

Serialization & aggregation

Counterfeit drugs pose a serious threat to the health of patients. To increase security in the supply chain, the EU FMD Directive 2011/62/EU came into force on February 9, 2019. All prescription and some non-prescription drugs must therefore be serialized - this also applies to drugs that are filled in vials.
By integrating appropriate printers into the production line, the data matrix code can be applied to the medicine bottle. The prints are then verified using a vision system. If a vial is incorrectly printed, the vial is rejected into a container via the reject station.

While the serialization of individual packages is required by law, aggregation is not mandatory. Aggregation creates a „mother-child relationship“ between the individual products and the logistics units such as bundles, cartons and pallets. This makes it easier and more transparent to trace the route of the drug.

Single product



First of all, all individual codes of the vials that are to be combined into a packaging unit are recorded. These are then assigned to a superior packaging code.


b+b delivers customized turnkey solutions:

  • Serialization and aggregation software

  • Aggregation systems

  • Serialization systems

  • Hybrid systems

The advantages of the b+b solution for serialization and aggregation of vials

The b+b SiteServer is the central database and service application and is the control center of the complete software modules. The software can be adapted to existing and future requirements without large investments: whether for the administration of production lines or locations, the adaptation to new coding and aggregation regulations or an upgrade of the machinery.

Software modules:

  • User and rights management

  • Audit trail (in all modules)

  • Customer / target market management

  • Article management

  • Workorder management/Processorder management

  • Serial number management

  • Line management

  • Interface management

  • Label layout management

> Find out more about b+b serialization software


The labeling and serialization system VRM-PV combines labeling and serialization in one system. It was specially developed for the labeling and serialization of vials. The system is an upgrade of the basic VRM system. By integrating printers, vision and control systems and the corresponding software, the serialization of vials can be easily implemented. For the aggregation of vials appropriate aggregation systems of b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik can be used.

> Find out more about serialization and aggregation systems

You are looking for a turnkey solution to label your products - contact us!

b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH

b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH is your partner for innovative and reliable labelling and identification technology made to measure. In 1986 b+b was founded in Airlenbach in the Odenwald. Today the internationally operating company employs 115 people in the field of labelling technology.


Your requirements and wishes are our focus when implementing your project. From development and planning to complete implementation, our employees will provide you with optimum support.


At b+b you receive the complete solution from one source. From software, printing and dispensing systems to fully automatic labelling and identification systems. For more than 30 years b+b has been supplying complete solutions for labelling, serialisation and aggregation for companies from all industries.

email: info@bb-automation.com

phone: +49 (0) 6068 9310 0


supprt hotline: +49 (0) 6068 9310 900

support system:  report support case


b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH

Dieselstraße 18

64760 Oberzent


© 2019 by b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH. All rights reserved.

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