Challenges and Strategies Shaping Traceability in Food and Beverage Packaging

June 29, 2021

Authenticity is essential in the food and beverage packaging industry. Food allergies, as well as expired or contaminated foods, can cause serious illness and possibly death, so consumers need to know that the products they’re purchasing are safe. If manufacturers don’t guarantee the safety and authenticity of their products, their brand reputations will fall precipitously.

Since both public health and consumer satisfaction depend so heavily on product integrity, the entire industry is heavily regulated. One of the main things mandated by food and beverage regulation is traceability, the practice of maintaining thorough records on raw material origins and product status by scanning machine-readable codes throughout production.

Despite its importance and ubiquity, implementing traceability can be fraught with challenges. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges and explore ways to overcome them.

   1. The challenge of inconsistencies in labeling

Whether applied by hand or by a robot, labels can sometimes contain errors or be applied to the wrong product. Food and beverage packaging must be extremely specific about what’s inside, and products with an information mismatch must be recalled immediately. As it so happens, labeling errors are the most common cause of food and beverage recalls.

One of the best ways to combat labeling mistakes is to implement an industry-standard label verification system. Print quality inspection systems perform a wide variety of verification-related tasks, including optical character recognition (OCR), optical character verification (OCV), master-to-label comparison and data and code matching.

These features help companies ensure accuracy and data integrity, identify defects, and avoid liability. Some printer-integrated systems can offer manufacturers 100% label inspection at print speeds of up to 254 mm (10 inches) per second.

   2. The challenge of processing large amounts of data

The more data you can gather in your processes, the more opportunities you have to ensure quality. Today’s advanced traceability systems can even incorporate inspection data and machine data (such as temperature readings) and tie these data points together with a product ID and a timestamp.

Although having all this information on record is helpful, it can also slow down the system. Once traceability data is gathered via barcode readers or radiofrequency identification (RFID) reader/writers, it must be communicated to the rest of the system. As it turns out, processing large amounts of traceability data can slow the production cycle.

Fortunately, this need can be addressed with advanced control technology that can maintain high-speed control while handling all the data a traceability system provides. Some controllers can handle up to 1,000 products per minute and collect reams of data in synchronization with the production cycle while performing motion control.

   3. The challenge of maintaining devices amid washdown conditions

Traceability systems include scores of barcode readers and smart cameras, while many food and beverage applications make use of frequent harsh washdowns to ensure consumer safety in meat/poultry and seafood processing, dairy, ice cream, frozen foods, fruits and vegetables, and other manufacturing and processing environments.

These washdowns can damage the delicate electronics inside code reading and vision technologies, potentially requiring costly replacements on a regular basis. Luckily, many automation solutions providers design technologies for maximum longevity amid washdown environments. Look for ratings like IP69K for washdown resistance and IP67G for oil resistance.

For every challenge that arises with traceability, there’s a solution that will help you maximize productivity while ensuring accuracy. The benefits of investing in traceability vastly outnumber the challenges, and a certain level of traceability is in fact mandated by law. Use the latest automation technologies to streamline your system and protect your brand.

Source

Related Articles


Latest Articles

  • Exploring the Impact of M8 Cables in Various Applications

    July 17, 2024 M8 cables are a type of circular electrical connectors used to link actuators and sensors. They have an 8-millimeter diameter and are widely utilized in a variety of industrial and automation applications because of their small size, robustness, and consistent performance even under harsh conditions. Similar to the M12 cables, their robustness enables them… Read More…

  • 7 Top Tips for Cooling IT Equipment

    July 17, 2024 As the world becomes increasingly digitalized, with a growing reliance on high-performing and reliable IT equipment, effective hardware management is essential to facilitate rapid access to large amounts of data and its analytics. The upkeep of IT infrastructure, including maintaining appropriate temperatures, ensures the reliability and security of data and minimizes the… Read More…


Featured Article

Revolutionizing Material Movement with Autonomous Mobile Robots

Revolutionizing Material Movement with Autonomous Mobile Robots

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing and logistics industries, the need for efficient and flexible material movement solutions has never been greater. Traditional methods like conveyor systems, forklifts, and manual pushcarts have served us well, but they come with limitations.

That’s why Omron is thrilled to announce the launch of their game-changing MD Series of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). Read more


Products

  • Memosens 2.0: New Disinfection Portfolio from Endress+Hauser

    July 23, 2024 Introducing a portfolio of optimized digital sensors with Memosens 2.0 technology that deliver continuous, reliable water disinfection measurement. Endress+Hauser is launching a portfolio of optimized digital sensors with Memosens 2.0 technology that deliver continuous, reliable water disinfection measurement. This new generation of disinfection sensors represents an upgrade opportunity for a wide range… Read More…

  • Vention to Democratize Industrial Automation Using NVIDIA AI Technologies

    July 18, 2024 Vention, the company behind the cloud-based Manufacturing Automation Platform (MAP), has announced a collaboration with NVIDIA to bring industrial automation technology to small and medium manufacturers by using NVIDIA AI and accelerated computing to advance cloud robotics. This announcement marks a year of collaborative efforts to leverage artificial intelligence to simplify the realization of… Read More…