variable data

Variable Data Labels



Pitkit’s cutting-edge printing technology brings high quality variable data labels within reach of any organization at an affordable cost. We supply variable data labeling solutions to the wine, medical, pharma, logistics and exclusive gift industries.

Solution Categories

Variable Data Labels in Medicine

Patient intake labels and label sets for laboratory tests are classic examples of pre-printed labels with serial numbers. In both cases, the number on the label takes on the role of the common denominator linking files, lab tests and tissue, blood and urine samples to the correct patient. The labels with variable data can be peeled off and used with no further information required, or they can be provided as sheets for local printing of additional information. Pitkit’s expertise stretches to other aspects of the label process such as easy peeling and the suitability of the adhesive backing used.
See also Pharmaceutical Labels.

Variable Data Labels for Logistics

Pre-printing of label sets by catalogue number with barcode allows warehouse staff to identify goods-in efficiently and with a minimum of human error. Once attached, the label identifies the goods in their passage through the logistics system, facilitated by scanners that read the information on the labels.

Variable Data Wine Labels

The wine industry was one of the early proponents of varying information on bottle labels and is a leading industry in its use today. One application developed by Pitkit is meant for high class wine labels from limited series in which each bottle displays the bottle number and the total number of bottles in the series (i.e. 1/300, 2/300…). Another high-end approach is where each label is ‘personalized’ with a unique image for every bottle.

Personalized Gifts for Employees and Other Groups

Pitkit’s variable data labeling capability has made possible a multitude of new and interesting printing applications, like personalized gifts, wine bottles and name tags for public and private events. We are experts in finding new solutions and we will be glad to hear of any variable data label request you may have.

Track and Trace

Labels with variable data, managed by Pitkit’s proprietary track and trace software, form the backbone for track and trace - tracing the path of shipments, pallets and packages around the globe. The exact description of the tracked item is maintained on computer, together with a unique ID code, which is printed onto the label and attached to the item. The labels can be read by our smartphone mobile app and this allows them to be logged at every junction of their transit.

How it Works

Serialized labels (with or without security features)

Labels are sequentially or randomly serialized (for example, with a 2D code) and can be used for high volume projects. Tracking of an item is performed by scanning the label’s 2D code or typing the human readable serial number into a software package or mobile app. Labels are preprinted into rolls and then applied to the item on the production line. Label options include printing with Bsecure's security ink that is authenticated with proprietary readers and special label materials to prevent tampering or counterfeiting.

Data Generation and Storage

Each project requires software to be developed for generating and monitoring the variable data printing. This software is developed in-house. The serial numbers can be sequential or randomly generated depending on the project. The variable data can also be encrypted prior to printing. The software is tightly integrated with the tracking process since it provides the starting point for the life cycle of each item. Many safety checks are put into the software to prevent duplication and skipped serial number printing.

Print Control Software

Pitkit utilizes software developed in-house for printing on our Indigo printing press and Datamax thermal transfer printers. This software provides a simplified and controlled interface for printing variable data. The software contains safeguards to help prevent printing errors, such as duplicate or missing serial numbers. It contains different templates for each project that are hard coded and cannot be changed by the user. Each print job transaction is stored in a log file that can comfortably be viewed at any time.


Pitkit has many solutions for label inspection. Multiple AVT inspection systems are available for checking overall label printing. An in-house high speed camera solution is used for inspecting labels with variable data. Variable data barcodes are also scanned and compared with a database to ensure uniqueness and readability. Our software provides a summary of each inspection job and issues a warning if any duplicate or skipped serial numbers are found.

Smart Packaging

Smart packaging provides a means for tracing shipping units (rolls, boxes, pallets, shipments). It allows for quick and accurate printing of packaging labels. When working with rolls of labels, each roll contains a roll header label on the outside. The header label is scanned to indicate roll contents during packaging. The system verifies the header information with the database to ensure uniqueness and the type of labels being packaged. When all the rolls in a box have been scanned, a serialized box label is auto-printed and the user applies it to the box. Box labels are then scanned to create a serialized pallet label. Pallet labels are then scanned to finalize the shipment’s contents. Shipping documents and a portable database file are auto-generated and sent with the shipment. The entire packaging process is recorded into a database and can be used in the tracking process.

Tracking Software and Database

Each step of the item’s lifecycle is recorded into the project database. The tracking information is entered automatically by scanning a barcode with the tracking software. The tracking software performs continual data integrity checks to catch possible production errors. A central database contains all of these transactions and it is used for providing reports, project summaries and field tracing data.

Field Verification

Field verification allows inspectors and/or end consumers to authenticate and trace products. It consists of a smartphone app integrated with a Bsecure security reader using Bluetooth communications. The mobile app allows for database access for a scanned serial number only after authenticating with the security reader. This provides assurance that the item is original and can reveal the logistics chain taken. The app provides an easy-to-use interface and can be customized for iPhone or Android. Each time the app is used, it logs the transaction and displays the results to the user.


Pitkit has the most advanced technologies available for variable data labels and has been supplying solutions for years. However, despite their exclusivity and significant business benefits, variable data labels add only a small additional cost to the printing process. To learn more and get a price quote, contact us without delay.