Why Automated Material Handling and Data Management Are Vital to
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Why Automated Material Handling and Data Management Are Vital to Achieving Packaging Compliance
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To achieve packaging compliance, manufacturers need more than picking the right product coding technology. Data management and packaging control and automation add another level of sophistication to an operation’s compliance practices.

Data Management

Incorrect manufacturing codes can be applied to products due to human error or improper material handling practices. But manufacturers can rely on data connectivity and good data management practices to handle variable print message editing and selection.

Data management is part of Industry 4.0 -- by using data management and connectivity to manage data integration on the production floor, manufacturers can automate the correct information being printed on the correct products, which is an important step in ensuring packaging compliance. Specialized printer management software can make this process seamless.

One-way Data Management

One-way data management allows manufacturers to use existing databases to automatically fill in data for print message formats. The populated codes are sent in real-time directly to the printer. By using a central database to link and populate batch, date, and barcodes, user error can be minimized.

Two-way Data Management

Manufacturers can use two-way data management to receive feedback in real-time that will allow them to improve their operational processes:

  • Message validation tracking helps to understand the print performance and consistency
  • Monitoring the equipment helps measure uptime productivity
  • Tracking production insights provides throughput analytics

 

Material Handling

Making sure the right manufacturing codes are being printed onto products is one half of the printing process. The other half is to make sure that the packaging substrate is presented consistently to the coding technology to be printed upon. Among other consequences, improper material handling can lead to codes being printed inconsistently and incorrectly.

Material handling measures that can minimize printing errors include:

  • Low-vibration conveyor belts that reduce movement and inconsistent print application
  • Railing configurations that present the product to be printed evenly
  • Tolerant product coding technology that is flexible enough to compensate for minor inconsistencies in material handling

 

However, even with these measures in place, incorrectly printed products can still occur. Which is why it is important for material handling reject systems to be in place in order to detect non-compliant products before it reaches the retailer, or more so, the consumer. Packages with incorrect codes printed on them can sometimes have the opportunity to be reworked with the correct manufacturing codes instead of being scrapped completely, which is a less than ideal situation from a production throughput and financial standpoint.

Some features of reject systems can include:

  • Jets of air
  • Pusher arms
  • Drop belts

 

And by evaluating the material handling processes regularly, the processes can be improved over time so fewer packages fail packaging compliance in the first place.

Conclusion

For manufacturers to achieve packaging compliance, implementing data management and good material handling processes are recommended, along with using the right product identification solution.

Working with a partner that has an understanding of material handling best practices and how to utilize data management to optimize operations can help manufacturers better achieve packaging automation. Manufacturers should also seek out partners that offer a variety of product identification solutions, support beyond installation of equipment, a network of conveyor and vision system partners to create turnkey solutions and training for maintenance staff. The combination of all these factors can set up manufacturers for success in packaging compliance.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog series on how to achieve packaging compliance. Check out the other posts here:

 




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