Traceability solutions minimise loss of profit

Accurate labelling can be the difference between an efficient supply chain or ending up with spilt milk. One company found this out the hard way when staff forgot to change the product labels on the production line when they started processing a different size of their core product. This oversight resulted in mislabelled bottles that were sent to customers and eventually thrown out. insignia’s product manager for the Domino range, Boyd Rose, knows all too well that mishaps occur in any facility no matter how good the checklist is, but minimising human error by implementing automated processes can help.

The costs of wastage, reproduction and damage to the brand’s reputation can amount to a huge loss for the manufacturer. It can happen in all sorts of sectors, including food and beverage manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and electronics, but Rose confirms that with the right equipment, human-led errors can be greatly reduced.

“Quality has always been controlled by a human, but now customers want to automate that control. We’ve seen a space in manufacturing where it now becomes a requirement. The main reason would be the demand from retailers and the costs when it comes down to a recall. Customers are saying they can’t take that risk anymore. They have to make sure that every single product is labelled correctly and clearly,” he said.

insignia has 50 years’ experience as a label manufacturer, and distributor of variable printing, scanning, mobility and coding solutions. By supplying an end-to-end solution, insignia offers its customers the ability to label, code and verify their products, and provide traceability solutions for full visibility throughout the supply chain.

Keeping the milk flowing

The above example resulted in the company enlisting insignia’s help to make sure it didn’t happen again. Considering the mission-critical nature of the customer’s manufacturing facility, Rose and his team had a solution that would keep the bottles moving smoothly. “We implemented measures to ensure the right label is being applied at the right time to the right product. Using connected printers, vision and scanning technology, we are helping our customer ensure that every bottle has the right label, the right date code and that every code is readable.”

Rose noted many manufacturers still use either human verification processes or no verification process, which leaves significant room for error. A 2017 Vanson Bourne study found that 23 per cent of all unplanned downtime in manufacturing is a result of human error. The use of modern technologies can assist manufacturers in automating their quality control processes to ensure traceability in high-speed production.

insignia also offers a range of solutions that improve coding and marking operations, including the Ax-Series continuous inkjet printers in the Domino range. The Ax-Series range can operate in almost any environment thanks to its IP66 standard rating and inks suitable for almost any substrate. When combined with the Domino Cloud, remote diagnostics and real time assistance can help keep the equipment running at peak performance and availability. The Domino Cloud enables both the company and insignia’s help desk team to receive automatic alerts when faults are detected and predict potential line issues that will result in unplanned downtime. Printer statistics and performance are readily available in real time from a desktop or mobile device, providing a window into your production line from anywhere in the world.

Coding options to suit all

While inkjet coding remains a popular and efficient tool for manufacturers, Rose said laser coding is making headway in the industry. “With laser coding you can print a lot faster but it can be harder to read the code because of the contrast. For example, laser coding on a clear PET water bottle can be harder to see than traditional ink printed codes, but it’s faster, cleaner and marks a permanent code,” he said.

“There’s always been a focus on quality, and that’s something laser is delivering. Although the initial cost can be a deterrent for some manufacturers, the cost-effective qualities due to its low maintenance requirements and no fluid consumables is giving companies a good return on investment.”

The Domino range, including laser coding technologies, will feature at processing and packing expo AUSPACK from March 26-29 in Melbourne this year. With more than 35 years’ experience in manufacturing, Domino aims to set new industry standards in quality and reliability. insignia partners with Domino as the sole distributor in the Australian market, bringing its range of inkjet printers, laser coders, thermal transfer printers, and automatic labelling systems to the market. insignia helps customers using the Domino range to customise solutions for warehouses, manufacturing lines and distribution centres.

AUSPACK visitors will be able to learn more about laser and inkjet coding at insignia’s stand G150, as well as label printing and insignia’s range of self-adhesive labelling solutions.