LABELYS, founded in 2004 and based in eastern France, specializes in producing labels made of casein (a milk protein biocompatible with cheese). This marking method is natural and indelible. It cannot be removed nor falsified. It becomes the cheese's "passport", providing reliable identification that allows producers to protect their wares and their brand, defend against imitations and guarantee flawless traceability.
Besides production data such as traceability and food safety codes, these labels may also include the name of an AOC (appellation of origin control), a trustworthy guarantee of authenticity and a symbol of quality for consumers.
Ensuring 100% reliable reading and monitoring
Growth in the use of Data Matrix codes, with higher data capacity and density, encouraged LABELYS to add to its range of code reading systems suitable for this type of marking.
After testing multiple competitors, the company selected Cognex DataMan® readers, judged "best in class" by Jean-Paul Maître, LABELYS president. He said, "Cognex readers provided the best results reading casein labels, delivering outstanding quality and performance. With their powerful algorithms that can reconstruct even the most degraded codes, DataMan readers were the only ones that were proven to guarantee reliable identification and label read rates of nearly 100%."
Since cheese "evolves" as it matures, reading the label can become a challenging task. This means the reader must maintain excellent performance, despite potential problems such as dimensional degradation, incorrectly positioned labels or codes partially damaged during cheese production processes. Cognex readers provide uniform results despite variations in label quality, fully rebuilding codes from available data to ensure 100% reliable identification.
A comprehensive identification and traceability solution
Traceability is now a primary concern for the agri-food sector. Based on the Cognex identification solution, the first link in the chain of product traceability, LABELYS decided to go further and, together with a partner, developed a comprehensive traceability solution. It not only reads labels and verifies their information content, but also stores them in a centralized database, interfaced to the dairy's production management system.
Today, LABELYS offers a solution that includes marking casein labels, automated dispensing of the marks, furnishing DataMan fixed-mount or handheld readers, automatic rereading of labels and automated analytical and management tools, supporting all monitoring tasks.
This cost-effective, efficient solution, suitable for managing the smallest producer or the largest industrial site, provides real time production control, determines stock status by taking inventory snapshots, "geolocates" each cheese stored in the ageing cellars, monitors the operations of brushing and turning over the wheels of cheese, records events and manages the production tools.
An operational solution today and many projects for the future
Today, the LABELYS-Cognex solution has been adopted by the leading producers of AOC and AOP (a similar program on a European level) cheese. For example, the "del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano" consortium, which oversees AOP Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in Italy, has selected LABELYS as an accredited partner. The LABELYS system will soon be deployed at hundreds of dairies producing Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.