We’ve Got Your Number

Many printing applications require unique ID numbers. They can be as seemingly inconsequential as a social or business event raffle or up to fiduciary documents such as insurance claims and even the lottery. Unique identifiers allow each document to be identified, tracked, and assigned to an individual to prevent fraud and duplication. From sequential numbers on theater tickets to strictly controlled IDs on lottery tickets, printers producing documents with ID numbers need solutions to cover every customer application.

What is a Printed Unique Identifier?

A printed unique identifier (PUI) is a numeric or alphanumeric string printed on a document or other item associated with a single entity within a system. A unique identifier can be accessed from a database to confirm its validity. PUIs can also track a document through a chain of custody, including where an item was printed, who printed it, the date it was printed, and other valuable information. It can associate a document directly with a person, organization, or place. For example, a carton with a Printed Unique Identifier of “MI” as the prefix is only for distribution in Michigan. If a carton with the prefix “MI” appears in Idaho, the chain of custody is broken and flagged.

Printing Unique Identification Numbers for the Lottery

Maintaining the integrity, tracking, and chain of custody aspects of lottery ticket creation is essential. Duplicates or missing tickets could be a big problem. Imagine two winners, both with the same PUI. At least one party in this predicament will be very unhappy. Document Data Solutions’ iDataLottery system is a bespoke application that tracks the activity of an individual ticket as it transits through the manufacturing process and ensures the correct numbering schema is maintained and no duplicate PUIs are ever printed.

Lottery ticket production requires unique workflows. Production integrity with tracking and reporting is essential. DDS’ iDataLottery system makes it simple to set business rules for creating PUIs to safeguard against duplicates and track the document bearing that identifier. iDataLottery provides the PUI appearing on documents in a container, tracking when they were printed and shipped.

Beyond the Lottery: Other PUI Applications

The iDataLottery technology transcends the lottery industry. It applies to other applications where identifier uniqueness and material control are necessary. Printing is not limited to ink on paper. Document Data Solutions’ Freedom Series inkjet modules print on various substrates, including plastics and corrugated cardboard. Applications beyond lottery tickets include:

Printing identifiers directly on plastic extrusions, pipe, tubing, and strapping

  • Packaging
  • Tickets
  • Pharma applications
  • Boxes and cartons
  • Mail addressing

For more information about numbering applications, see this article: “Specialized Print Applications

Competitive Advantages

Printing unique identifiers is a differentiator for commercial printers, letter shops, and fulfillment services. The power of DDS software goes far beyond simply the ability to print a series of unique numbers. It also images barcodes, various fonts in any orientation, and includes a tracking system that prevents duplication. It is a service that adds value to printed documents and other items. The marketplace understands tracking, unique identifiers, and chain of custody. It is one of the foundations of Fed Ex, UPS, and the USPS’ value propositions. Commercial printers, letter shops, and fulfillment services can offer a unique identifier on high-value documents and other items. It is the ideal way to integrate customers into their complete service offering.

Legacy PUI Systems

Printed Unique Identifiers are not new. In the printing industry, printers have used mechanical numbering devices for decades. Like any mechanical device, the chief concern is failure. If redundant systems are in place, the job will continue, but with a workflow interruption. The redundant system must be calibrated and set to begin where the previous batch of documents left off. There are compliance and SLA issues. Legacy mechanical numbering equipment will deteriorate and fail, usually during a job. Automated mechanical numbering machines can also cause data integrity issues. Numbering reels often stick and do not advance. The result is a document run with duplicate numbers or gaps in the sequence. The integrity of the identifier is compromised because of missing or duplicate numbers.

Digital PUI Systems

Document Data Solutions’ iDataPrint Controller software and Freedom Series inkjet print modules are state-of-the-art digital solutions for Printed Unique Identifiers. The system offers significant advantages over its legacy counterpart. PUIs can be numeric or alphanumeric characters in any size or orientation and include the corresponding barcodes. The identifiers contain information about the document that provides tracking up and down the supply chain. Any “hiccups” with the chain of custody can be identified and remedied.

Numbering Technology from DDS

Document Data Solutions provides unrivaled customized data collection, quality control, and printing solutions. DDS’ technology is the industry standard for printing unique identifiers for applications requiring a unique code. The DDS software specifies rules for creating identifiers, guarding against duplicate identifiers, and tracking the disposition of documents bearing those identifiers. DDS has over a quarter century of experience and research in the print and mail industry and maintains key industry partnerships. We engineer each solution specifically for individual applications using pioneering software and hardware technology.