In most industries, product markings are currently evolving. Consumers and service providers alike are now demanding a whole new layer of information. Presenting this information must not occupy additional place on the packaging – one reason why compact 2D codes are now being used more and more.
To prevent issues with delivery and distribution from the outset, every marking also requires adequate verification, which should ideally take place immediately after printing. In addition, a functioning system must also be capable of reliably verifying human-readable markings such as required best before dates in the line.
So it’s better to dispense with random checks of individual products and go for an automated solution that is 100 % reliable. This is because manual inspection remains prone to errors, while machine inspection systems accept only correct markings. Furthermore, in view of the increasing importance of two-dimensional coding, such an approach may already prove unavoidable in the near future if even the smallest discrepancies render a printing unusable.
The mechanisms for marking and verification must therefore form a single unit. Within Wipotec’s Traceable Quality System TQS, the corresponding modules are perfectly matched to each other in all systems. The printer and camera operate together; coordination is entirely automatic. In addition, a single user interface is sufficient to control these and other modules.
The modularity of TQS means that the systems can be adapted to the desired application. Decide freely on the exact composition and choose precisely those components that will be of greatest benefit to your company. Thanks to years of experience, our experts can provide you with the best advice in this regard. You can achieve reliable control especially with the combination of printer, camera and ejection system. Discover the many possibilities of TQS now:
Inspection fully integrated!
Using the example of a box of chocolates, we demonstrate how batch-specific printing can be verified. To do this, you first have to create a suitable layout containing all the required data. Simply use the associated touchscreen for this purpose! Using ConfigureFast you can edit markings directly on site and make minor or major changes to them in just a few moments. The software then immediately sends the result to the printer and camera, so that both modules are always matched up with each other. This completely eliminates the need to teach in the components, and even extensive corrections no longer pose a threat of downtime during regular operation. This is one of the great advantages of the TQS system character, which has been thought out down to the last detail. In future, there is no need for test runs.
Finally, a variety of packaging in all possible shapes passes along the conveyor belt. In this application, we stick to a classic folding box that receives a batch marking. Printing is immediately followed by optical inspection by the camera module. If the device detects a defect, the product is immediately ejected. Depending on the configuration ejection by the weight check is done into the same or into a separate bin. Due to the modular structure of TQS you are flexibly positioned.
Option: Labeling as part of the system
To meet the requirements of your industry, do you need additional features? Your individual TQS solution can also include a module for labeling at the same time. Instead of controlling printing, applying and inspection as separate processes, all functions are smoothly integrated in the existing processes. Wipotec’s tried and tested system is convenient to operate using the central interface, which frees up plenty of resources and saves time in day-to-day application. Here, label verification can take place either before or after they have been attached – depending on the requirements of your production process.
Visual verification is a vital element of all efforts to implement extremely reliable control mechanisms in a coordinated system for inspecting product packaging. For this purpose, Wipotec uses state-of-the-art camera modules that operate very efficiently and, above all, with the highest accuracy. These devices are ideal for checking markings in both code and written form.
Where humans can often overlook minor flaws in the print, the camera misses nothing. This accuracy forms one of the cornerstones for complete traceability of products, as required by the pharmaceutical industry, for example. However, any manufacturer can benefit from tamper-proof coding to protect their customers. That’s why TQS offers a fully integrated optical inspection module that connects to your system with no teach-in time required.
In the retail sector, the switch from one-dimensional markings to two-dimensional coding is already in full swing. Due to the complexity and diversity of these 2D codes, printing them on product packaging will have to meet completely different standards in the future. Likewise, verification must not take second place.
The new markings should be perfectly legible throughout the supply chain, for suppliers’ scanners as well as consumers’ smartphones. Their greatest advantage lies in their range of applications: For example, a QR code can display different elements to each target group. Embrace the opportunities that this technology offers:
Certain industries set higher requirements for marking of packaging. For pharmaceutical products, serialization has been mandatory for a long time. The quality of the printed result must comply with precisely defined specifications, which is why the use of a camera is considered to be mandatory. If the individual modules do not work together perfectly in a system, problems are inevitable. During the ejection process, even minimal delays are sufficient and the wrong product is ejected.
However, in the case of food the correct best before date and the corresponding batch number may not be omitted. With this data, defective markings can lead to extensive recall campaigns that quickly undermine trust in a brand among all retail partners. Therefore, in the TQS solution presented in the video, printing is directly followed by inspection. In the end, only correctly marked cheese should reach the customer.
Experience has shown that a system in which marking and verification interact achieves the best results. Your focus may be on printing text today, but tomorrow you may be ready for the new code. With TQS from Wipotec, your company is equipped for the future.