Step one of a manufacturer’s game plan for packaging compliance is to understand your manufacturing code and print application requirements, in order to pick the product identification solution that is best for your needs. Print Message Requirements What kind of information needs to be included in your print message? In many cases, especially in food and beverage, consumer-readable information must be included for buyers to determine freshness. In other instances, government and global regulatory agencies have set the requirements for manufacturers to adhere to. In order to meet packaging compliance, manufacturers may need specific product information, manufacturing codes, and barcode information, including: Product Information Product Name Product Description Quantity/Counts Ingredients Nutrition Facts Panel Manufacturing codes Batch Code Lot Code Line Code Operator Code Date Code – Manufactured On or Expiration Date Barcode requirements EAN/UPC 1D 2D GS1-128 GTIN-14 ITF-14 Other available barcode formats Once specific print requirements and message placement are determined, manufacturers should also consider their application specifications. What type of packaging substrate does a manufacturer’s product or products use? What other processes in your material handling are occurring to take into consideration? And what kind of line speeds are they trying to achieve? Application Requirements It will be important to understand which criteria your application falls under for a marking and coding partner to best match you with a solution that will deliver your desired results. Packaging Level Primary Packaging Secondary Retail Ready Packaging Case Level Packaging Pallet Level Labeling Product Packaging Substrate Glass Metal Plastic Paperboard Cardboard Shrink wrap Other Integration Form fill and seal machines Traversing equipment Case sealing Case gluing Line Speed and Product Throughput How many feet per minute or products per minute do you hope to achieve? Under 500 fpm or over 1,000 fpm? Environment Cold or refrigerated facilities Hot, humid processing plant Dusty environment with debris and other small particles around the conveyor line After determining the print requirements and application specifications, manufacturers can look at the available product identification solutions and select a technology that is right-sized for their material handling set-up. Available Product Identification Solutions A full portfolio range of product identification solutions are available to manufacturers including: Small Character Inkjet Thermal Transfer Overprinter Laser Coders Thermal Inkjet High Resolution Inkjet Print and Apply Labeling & Label Applicators The tables below show how each type of product coding technology is suited to fill specific manufacturer print and application requirements. In order to achieve packaging compliance, it’s necessary to pick the best marking and coding technology for the product in question. By taking the time to understand print message and application requirements, manufacturers can begin to compare compatible product identification methods and equipment. Picking the best product identification solution is one step in a multi-step process to achieve packaging compliance. After the information has been applied to your product, message validation is the next step. Message Validation Ensuring manufacturing codes are printed on products is not enough by itself to achieve packaging compliance. The codes need to be validated to make sure they are present, accurate, and scannable. There have been many advancements in product identification and machine visioning technology that have enabled manufacturers to automate the monitoring of real-time print quality. Scanners and vision systems are common components added to the production line postprint to inspect and report any illegible codes or incorrect stock. Levels of Message Validation Level 1: Present - Confirm a print occurred on the product without any indication of accuracy Level 2: Accurate - Confirm a print occurred and it correctly matches the data requested by the printer Level 3: Scannable - Confirmation that a print occurred, it correctly matches the data requested by the printer and is a scannable, readable mark Manufacturers know their requirements best, and working with a partner that offers a portfolio of all types of product coding technology will give you a fair assessment of the best solution for your needs. It’s also wise to choose someone who can provide support beyond installation for maintenance and servicing as age and wear and tear occur on your equipment. A reliable partner will also provide training for your maintenance staff should you choose to be as self-sufficient as possible. However, there are still more steps to ensure manufacturers achieve packaging compliance. Learn more about the other key considerations Diagraph recommends for guaranteeing packaging compliance: 4 Key Considerations to Achieve Packaging Compliance Why Automated Material Handling and Data Management Are Vital to Achieving Packaging Compliance Discover which Diagraph solution is right for your application by completing our short technology assessment. Click here to complete the assessment.