PRODUCT TRACEABILITY, BRAND PROTECTION, AND
Manufacturers of certain consumer goods must have systems in place to provide a trail of information that follows each item through the supply chain. To ensure product safety and efficient recalls, producers must be able to quickly identify and locate potentially faulty items in the supply chain that could pose a hazard to consumers.
To achieve this, many companies are implementing 2-D barcodes, vision systems, and image-based ID readers as key components in a simple yet robust product traceability system. Data Matrix has been adopted as standard in many applications because it allows the storage of more information such as manufacturer, product ID, lot number, expiry and even a unique serial number on virtually any finished good.
Serial number aggregation for supply chain security and product authentication at the point of sale can help prevent counterfeiting, diversion and sale of product through unauthorized channels.
These applications generally seek item-level serialization on every package and Data Matrix has been adopted as standard.
In addition to improving material handling and logistics efficiency and flexibility, product quality and yield, and package safety and integrity, machine vision can also be implemented on the processing side to reduce scrap, improve productivity and quality control, as well as enhance brand image.
For example, vision systems can sort food and beverage products by color or shape. It can detect defects, verify proper assembly, detect fill levels, count, and provide guidance for robotic pick and place or palletizing operations to achieve improved manufacturing and packaging flexibility.
Another application is orienting bottles based on shape when they enter the machine in random positions. Machine vision can identify correctly facing bottles and allow them pass through. Incorrectly facing bottles are detected by the vision sensor which signals an actuator mechanism to rotate the bottle to the correct orientation.
Process Control and Supply Chain Management
The better and more precise the track and trace system, the faster you can identify and resolve problems. If profit margins are narrow, reduced manufacturing and supply chain costs can often be the difference between profit and loss. Traceability:
- Improves management of work in process
- Reduces inventory
- Optimizes availability and use of production tools
- Minimizes distribution of non-conforming products