The new vision inspection add-ons allow manufacturers to incorporate fully integrated smart camera technology into their production lines to verify the presence of correct labels. As a result, manufacturers can reject incorrectly-labelled packaged products, helping minimize the risk of product recalls plus protect brand integrity and profits from avoidable product loss.
The new technology options can verify different-sized packaged product labels on the same line across a wide range of food and pharmaceutical applications. For example, manufacturers producing different ice cream flavors or baby food products can now check each label against specific product data and reject non-conforming labels.
Advantages include minimizing the rework time staff must spend, as mislabeling mistakes are caught early before the packaged product reaches the secondary packaging stage, and mitigating product recalls by confirming only correctly-labeled packaged products can leave the production facility. The technology rejects labels incorrectly displaying allergen information as per the pre-programmed criteria. Plus, after product changeovers, it verifies the correct labels are applied to the correct packages.
Other advantages include reducing waste, and associated costs, as products with non-conforming labels or those that are mislabeled can now be repackaged with the correct label.
Mettler-Toledo said operational efficiency can also be improved by reducing line setup time for configuring new label inspections on product changeovers thanks to pre-programmed inspection set up software.
Brand reputation can be protected against any negative repercussions due to inferior package quality or mislabeled products reaching the marketplace, the company added.
Label checks performed by the new technology includes optical character recognition (OCR), and optical character verification (OCV), alphanumeric text and 1D and 2D code identification. The Product Data Check inspects a wide range of languages and checks for bolded listed ingredients, such as allergens, to ensure food safety and compliance with the EU Labelling Directive 2000/13/EC.
"Recalls and rework due to mislabeled products is an easily-prevented issue," Jürgen Kress, head of checkweighing and vision inspection for Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, said.
"That is why we wanted to give manufacturers an easy way to add product data verification to their existing Mettler-Toledo equipment to provide extra quality control with minimal use of production line space."
The German made Product Data Check is available in two different configurations depending on the product shape.
The Product Data Check vision inspection option is suitable for oriented packaged products i.e. product shapes with an obvious front and back. Manufacturers can select up to three cameras to verify data on the front, back and top of each product. A single human-machine interface controls the cameras while intuitive software allows for product profiles switching. The multiple cameras can be placed onto the checkweigher system or inspection equipment and are supported by brackets to save production space.
Product Data Check 360° is designed for round products that may rotate on a conveyor belt. Its configuration of six sensors generates a 360° view of the product label to verify its data. With a small footprint to save space on the production line, its housing has sloped surfaces and is IP65 rated, making it suitable for wet cleaning environments thanks to its hygienic design.