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Food Manufacturer Improves product traceability with Omron's MicroHawk Barcode Readers

When considering product traceability, have you thought about what happens if a code is not read?

With greater market demand for food safety and the rising pressure for regulatory compliance, product traceability is becoming of paramount importance within the food and beverage industry if a manufacturer wants to remain competitive.

But have you thought about what would happen if you were supplying food products with illegible date stamps and batch codes printed on your product packaging?  

In virtually all cases, whether food goods are being supplied to supermarkets or onto other food producers within the supply chain, any produce that doesn’t have legible date stamps and batch codes printed on the packaging are likely to be rejected and sent back to the original manufacturer.

In these instances, it usually falls upon the manufacturer to cover the cost of the return delivery.

Now imagine if this simple quality assurance issue resulted in a significant increase in reoccurring food waste as well as higher than average product recall costs.

Unfortunately, this was the exact issue that one of our customers had previously been suffering from. The food manufacturer in question already had a system in place to print the relevant information onto the product packaging, but they needed a more effective method of verifying that the required printed information was displayed in the correct area on the products packaging and in a legible manner, prior to their final packing and distribution operations.

Most industrial barcode inspection systems struggle to read imperfect barcodes, but the MicroHAWK V/F400 and V/F300 Series of Smart Cameras from Omron use powerful X-Mode algorithms to render damaged and incomplete printed media readable allowing the customer to easily set a pass/fail quality system with an acceptable tolerance level.

This ensured that the system didn’t waste product by rejecting codes which, may not have been printed perfectly but, still fell within the acceptable legibility bounds which had been agreed upon with their customers.

While there are a number of machine vision solutions currently available on the market, the client selected the MicroHAWK Smart Cameras as they are ideal for users with little or no prior knowledge of machine vision applications.

Using the AutoVision Machine Vision Software, the client was able to configure their inspection application in a matter of minutes.  Creating an inspection is as simple as selecting the right tools into the captured image, selecting the pass/fail criteria and sending the job to the camera for execution.

Thanks to the MicroHAWK Smart Camera, the customer was able to reduce their food waste and unnecessary recall costs to a more tolerable level, as well as increasing product throughput thanks to the MicroHAWK’s processing speed of up to 60 frames per second.

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