Quality Control and Error Prevention in Food Packaging
| By: Microscan
Food manufacturers place high importance on ensuring product safety and quality for their customers. Not only is the industry highly regulated, but any errors can be very costly due to product recalls. Having a wrong label on a can of food, or a wrong lid on a cup of margarine, could have serious consequences to the manufacturer and the retailer, as well as the consumer. An automatic identification solution using 1D and 2D barcodes is a reliable way to improve quality control in the food packaging process, ensure safety and to avoid human errors.
Bunge Finland, founded in 2009, is a manufacturer of margarine that develops, produces and markets healthy and high quality vegetable-based margarines and vegetable oils. In the autumn of 2009 the company acquired Raisio’s margarine business, which has been a pioneer and expert in margarines in Finland for over 50 years.
In 2011, the company received a request from one of its large international customers to implement automated quality control checks to error-proof the packaging process in their factory in Raisio, Finland.
The company placed a 2D Data Matrix code on the lids of the margarine products to match the correct lid to the correct cup. In addition, they needed to make sure that each sales batch of six margarine cups contained only the correct product.
In the past, quality control relied on visual and paperwork checks. The company wanted to rule out human errors, in case a cup from the previous batch would mistakenly enter the following batch, or that a package in the wrong language could slip into a delivery.
Bunge was already using the QX-830 industrial laser barcode readers from Microscan to read EAN-13 retail codes on the bottom of the cups. These readers were supplied by Informa, a Microscan partner and specialist in labeling and marking systems.
Bunge worked on a very tight schedule and were able to implement the solution together with Informa within three months from start to finish.
The solution has already proved its value to Bunge. Shortly after installation, they were able to stop a batch that contained the incorrect product from being packaged thanks to the quality checks with the QX Hawk imagers.
They have thus achieved almost full return on investment immediately after implementation. Mika Tammi, Maintenance Manager at Bunge Finland comments: “We are very happy with this solution. Our customer is satisfied and we were able to finish the project on a very tight schedule. We have a great working relationship with Informa and Microscan is definitely the right choice for us.”