TQS: Automatic label inspection at the end of the line

Random sampling is good, complete control is better – we are certain of that. In any production process, high quality standards can only be maintained through continuous monitoring , which can only be ensured by a fully automated system. This applies to the intermediate steps in the packaging process as well as to the labels that are applied at the end of the line. To ensure that your goods are suitable for the retail sector, the weight must not only be correct, but label printing must also be perfectly legible. Whether in text or code form, reliable inspection of the content must therefore always take place. Furthermore, the label must always be located in the correct place.

Some industries have recognized the advantages of verified labels for some time now and have established precise labeling specifications. For example, pharmaceutical products have been subject to comprehensive serialization for years, and all markings must be verified. More and more cosmetics manufacturers, who also have to deal with counterfeiting or manipulation, are taking this as an example. Because even without specific legislation, protection against incorrect labeling is worthwhile. Your business can expect significantly fewer product recalls if you focus more on checking the labels and, instead of random sampling, concentrate on 100 % inspection.

A holistic system in which the camera for optical inspection forms an integral part of the labeling unit thus proves to be a great advantage. If, as with our Traceable Quality System, a wide variety of modules is integrated into a central control system, the operation of your system does not become more complicated. On the contrary: User-friendliness is the top priority.

Label inspection with TQS

Automatic quality control: Optical inspection of labels

Effective and cost-saving label inspection should avoid manual processes as far as possible. Manual testing during production can only be performed at random without compromising too much on speed. On the other hand, for optical inspection an automated system uses high-precision cameras that reliably read every label. If your TQS solution detects an error, another module immediately ejects the affected product. This allows the entire production process to be checked extensively and, above all, automatically. Your customers will no longer receive goods with creased, incorrectly positioned or illegible labels.

In addition, the necessary inspection steps are often too extensive to guarantee that manual label inspection captures all the details. In turn, the corresponding TQS module controls not only marking but also application of the labels, thus preventing many potential conflicts:

  • Has the label been completely affixed to the packaging or are parts of the label missing?
  • Is it really the correct label that was intended for this product?
  • Does the system recognize the print quality as high enough to meet your own standards as well as the standards of your trading partners?
  • Do the preprinted design elements meet your expectations? Can your company’s logo be clearly identified?
  • Are the variable contents and especially the best before dates, batch identifiers or, more recently, practical 2D codes for the retail tradecorrect?
  • Is the label also in the right position?
  • Is alignment correct so that the overall picture is uniform?

TQS label inspection is highly versatile. Depending on the sector and type of product, however, additional checks are required. A classic example of this would be checkweighing of goods. Or, for example, if we are inspecting bottle filling, camera modules check not only the label marking but also the cap closure and sealing ring for color errors as well as mixing. Our automatic optical inspection flyer takes a closer look at this application for you.

Marking and verification in practice

Ideally, a labeling unit should be part of a coordinated system that performs various tasks in your production line. The more functions come from a single source, the better the individual modules work together. Thanks to the fundamental system character of TQS, there is no need for any teaching in and communication via the central user interface is absolutely seamless – as can be seen in the application presented. With this system, which is equipped with two labeling modules for flat food packs, you not only mark and apply several labels in a single pass, but also verify, weigh and scan for unwanted foreign bodies. This example once again highlights the possibilities of modularity: We provide you with all functions fully integrated in a customized solution.

The flyer devoted to this topic provides a detailed overview of our modular labeling systems.

Free download

Labeling and inspection with the aim of serialization

Consistent serialization enables accurate assignment of your goods at product level. Serialization protects your customers and, as a result, your brand image. It can be implemented by affixing serialized labels displaying the required content in human-readable plain text and in machine-readable code. Each label must be verified, especially for products which are manufactured in compliance with strict regulations regarding the scope and quality of marking.

Pharmaceuticals are one such case and are a prime example of successfully applied serialization. Due to the fact that pharmaceutical products have a direct impact on people’s physical well-being, label inspection must be even more thorough. Various standards therefore characterize precise evaluation criteria through the grading of labels, thus establishing a standard for manufacturers. You should verify the data directly in line, ideally before the application. TQS offers you a coordinated labeling system for this purpose.

Do your products have to be presented in serialized vials or bottles? The TQS bottle offers modular solutions for all shapes and sizes. Our compact solution contains all the modules you need for labeling and subsequent inspection.

Secure serialization

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