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How to Reduce Marking Mistakes and Ensure Proper Code Adhesion
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What does your company do when products are marked with the wrong product identification codes? Scrap? Rework? Mismarked and mislabeled products can create big hits to the bottom line. When encountering marking mistakes with regularity, companies can find it difficult to keep profit margins under control. What’s worse is if mismarked or mislabeled products make it out to market, manufacturers can face penalties from retailers and the risk of product recalls.

There are several factors to consider when trying to reduce marking mistakes:

Coding Technology

The first step to reducing marking mistakes is picking the right coding technology for both your application and your manufacturing environment. When choosing a technology, some factors to consider include:

  • Packaging design and material
  • Code contrast requirements
  • Content of print message or label format
  • Proficiency of available labor
  • Production throughput and cost requirements

Available coding technologies include inkjet coders, labelers,thermal transfer printers, and laser coders. Each of these technologies have their merits and should be considered carefully with the help of experts familiar with the advantages and disadvantages. Success will be realized when the best technology is chosen for your unique situation.

Ink, Label, Ribbon Match

Choosing the right technology often comes down to identifying the best possible combination of cost-per-mark and mark adhesion quality. There are numerous inks, label stock types, and ribbon formulations that can help you achieve a durable, lasting code on your product.

If you are marking onto a particularly tricky surface or operating your equipment in a hotter or cooler than average environment, you will want to run code adhesion tests and even demo the full solution for a period of time to ensure that code adhesion is strong once a mark is applied to your product packaging. A quality supplier will be able to run print samples and set you up with trials of their equipment.

Material Handling Before Product Coding

Although choosing the right equipment and matching it with the right ink, label or ribbon is important, an often-overlooked aspect of achieving code compliance is material handling. Heavy vibrations in your production line and skewed products that are not presenting well to the coding technology can impact the overall quality of your mark.

Reviewing your material handling practices and making recommendations for the best use of your equipment is vital to achieving high quality marks on your products.

Verification and Validation

You can take your coding and labeling operation a step closer to guaranteed compliance by adopting a product verification or validation step after the mark has been applied to your product. There are several levels of verification that ensure that a mark:

  • has been successfully applied to the product
  •  matches the mark that you requested be printed
  • is completely readable

Verification and validation require the use of scanners or vision systems as well as connectivity to your coding equipment and product databases.

Material Handling After Verification

When incorporating a verification or validation step into your coding and labeling operation, you will need some form of reactive material handling after verification takes place if a printed mark is considered to be illegible. When manufacturers encounter poor code quality, a signal can be triggered to stop the production line altogether to correct what is causing the poor print or a reject and redirect action can take place to separate the questionable product from the rest of production. If too many poor quality codes are encountered, production can be stopped to allow for a remedy.

Having issues with achieving packaging compliance and encountering too many marking mistakes? At Diagraph, we can help you quantify the true cost hitting your bottom line and will work with you to develop a game plan to minimize errors and ensure proper code adhesion.

Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.

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