Heinz achieve 100 per cent inspection

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The UK-based Heinz factory, which manufactures baby milk powder for overseas distribution, has achieved 100 per cent read rates during label inspection, using an Olympus Automation solution. Olympus opted to use a Cognex Dataman 302X image-based reader which allows all of the images to be seen in real time and therefore establish if a code had been read or not.

The factory was using a label verification system where one element of the previous system could only read ladder barcodes and although a separate system was created to read the picket fence barcodes, the readers could not cope with the speed of production. Heinz was keen to upgrade to a more reliable system which could achieve 100 per cent read rates thereby eliminating any risk of packaging errors, and looked to Olympus to install a barcode reading solution to achieve complete code reading accuracy.

Robin Sandman, engineering manager at Heinz, commented: ‘Heinz chose Olympus Automation and Cognex to deliver their Autocoding system because they were the only suppliers we reviewed to offer 100 per cent read rates on products. The integrated quality checks on the Autocoding system and Olympus’ ability to offer 24 hour support have added significant value to the business.’

The high speed production line runs at 97 cans per minute, and in order to read the picket fence 1D barcode on the round can, each unit has to be rotated. To cope with the convex structure and reflective surface, six Dataman readers are placed in a row along the can turner. As the can is rotated through 360°, each reader is triggered in three batches of two. This process results in at least two of the readers being able to read the code on each can.

If incorrect barcodes or ‘no reads’ are detected, alarm beacons and display screens alert the operators who will stop the line and clear the defective product to ensure no incorrect can continues to the packaging area. Reporting for read rates is generated as part of the standard Olympus Autocoding system, allowing for easy monitoring of production performance. The system also links in to the site’s Domino inkjet printers and Markam case printers to ensure the correct dates are printed on each pack, ready for shipment.

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