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Projektberichte | Neues rundum um die Themen Etikettierung und
Kennzeichnung | Produktinnovationen und -neuheiten

Labelling of vials in the pharmaceutical industry


Particularly powerful, reliable and precise labeling systems are used to label vials. The labeling of pharmaceutical vials is subject to extensive legal requirements. Complete documentation is often required. Vials are cylindrically shaped glass bottles. They differ in terms of their size. Smaller bottles are usually filled with vaccine serums, while larger bottles are filled with infusions or other pharmaceutical contents.

Quality deviations in drug production can have a direct impact on patient health. Correct and reliable labeling of the vials is essential for their safety. Different technologies for coding, identification, labeling and checking the vials often have to work together perfectly in a confined space.

Labeling of vials

All-round labeling

Vials are mainly labeled around the circumference. With all-round labeling, precise application of the labels is necessary - especially for labels that are provided with level scales. There should be no spiral misalignment, especially with longer labels. 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 the information must therefore be given in several languages.

VRM labeling system for labeling vials

The VRM labeling system from b + b was specially developed for the all-round labeling of pharmaceutical vials. The labeling can be done either with the help of a rotating station or a rotating belt. By using the rotating belt, a higher number of pieces can be achieved. The vials are transported on a conveyor belt and separated. The label is applied to the vial via a dispensing edge on the side. The vial is set in rotation by the rotating belt and labeled on the circumference as it passes through.

Etikettierung von Vials mit Rotationsband
Labeling of vials with a rotating belt

During the all-round labeling of vials using a rotating station, the drug vial is stopped. The label is dispensed from the side, applied to the bottle and rotated by a roller for all-round labeling.

Etikettierung von Vials mit Drehstation
Labeling of vials with a rotating station

Tamper-evident labeling

Closure labels and seal labels provide information on tampering. They are used to make the vials tamper-proof. They are placed on the vial lid and placed on the neck of the bottle. If the vial is opened, the label will be damaged. The closure label cannot be removed from the bottle without leaving any residue.

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

  • 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 when changing formats.

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

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

  • Printing variable data such as best-before date, batch data and a wide variety of codes can be implemented in all systems without any problems.

Possible options of the labeling machine for vials:

  • Infeed and outfeed turntables in different sizes

  • Loading and collecting the vials using trays

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

  • Label and product inspection using camera systems

  • Label presence control

  • Product discharge

  • Integration of various printing modules

Variable data imprint

Print labels

Printing variable data on labels is a major challenge due to the increasing demands on the pharmaceutical industry. Different printing processes are used depending on the material and size of the label, print image, resolution and speed.

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. The direct printing on the bottle can be implemented with the help of thermal inkjet printers.

Serialization & aggregation

Counterfeit drugs pose a serious threat to patient health. 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 into vials. By integrating a corresponding printer in the production line, the data matrix code can be applied to the medicine bottle. The prints are then verified by a camera system. If a vial is incorrectly printed, the vial is ejected into a container via the ejection station.

While serialization of the individual packaging is required by law, aggregation is not mandatory. The aggregation creates a “mother-child relationship” between the individual products and the logistics units such as bundles, boxes and pallets. This makes the path of the drug easier and better to understand.

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

b + b provides you with tailor-made turnkes solutions:

  • Serialization and aggregation software

  • Aggregation systems

  • Serialization systems

  • Hybrid systems

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

The b + b SiteServer is the central database and service application and represents the control center of the complete software modules. The software can be adapted to existing and future requirements without major investments: be it for the management of production lines or locations, the adaptation to new coding - and aggregation rules or an expansion of the machine park.

Software modules:

  • User and rights management

  • Audit Trail (in all modules)

  • Customer / target market management

  • Article management

  • Work order management / process order management

  • Serial number management

  • Line management

  • Interface management

  • Label layout management


The VRM-PV labeling and serialization system combines labeling and serialization in one system. This was specially developed for the labeling and serialization of vials. The system is an extension of the basic system VRM. By integrating printers, camera and control systems and the corresponding software, the serialization of vials can be implemented without any problems. Corresponding aggregation systems from b + b automation and control technology can be used to aggregate vials.


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