Systems Integration (SI) and Dimaco have launched ‘Smart Check,’ a combination of technology that puts information on packaging and checks it before it leaves the factory.
When a product is selected to run on the line, the ‘Integreater’ software takes information off a database and applies it to the printing systems.
Smart Check uses the information to visually check the completed packs and verify the correct labels have been applied.
Reduce risk of product recalls
It can identify poor quality barcodes or sub-standard labelling; and check use-by dates, promotional labels, and the price displayed on the pack.
John Graham, business development manager, SI, told FoodQualityNews.com the technology uses optical recognition to pick out problems.
This is done before products leave the factory, reducing the risk of product recalls.
“A common problem is that products have similar packaging,” he said. “It’s making sure you’ve got the correct pack for the correct product.
"There might just be a small thing in the corner of the label that defines it differently, and you can train the system to pick out that certain part of the pack to validate it.”
The technology can be added at a point in the production line where an operator is already present, and does not add any time to the production process, Graham added.
“The operator will be looking at a touch screen, and an image will come up. If there’s something wrong with the data, you get a big red warning. It will identify which data is incorrect.
“In some cases it won’t allow you to continue until that problem has been resolved.”
Images of packs are retained, so that packagers can trace the products once they leave the factory.
Information from the central Integreater database is used to create labels, and then can be used again to check the information on completed packs.
“If a customer believes the central source data is validated and checked and accepted, you can use the same data with Smart Check,” Graham said. “Or you can set up the Smart Check with its own database, so it acts as an independent check.”
“We have got a number of existing customers in retail packaging who could retrofit this to their existing equipment. New customers could be interested in the labelling and inspecting as well.”
The system was launched at FoodEx in Birmingham last week.