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PostedWednesday, July 20, 2016 at 6:37 AM
When Greencore Prepared Meals wanted to reduce the risk of coding and packaging errors across their factories, AutoCoding Systems was their first port of call.
The site at Kiveton comprises a bakery, a ready meals factory and a soup and spreads factory. AutoCoding has been installed across most of the packaging lines, removing the human element of setting up the line devices and manually checking the packaging.
Each factory implementation brought its own challenges; manufacturing products for a number of different retailers with varying packaging designs and different coding formats. The risk of human error was, therefore, greatly increased when product changeovers took place.
In the Soup and Spread factory, the AutoCoding product controls Domino inkjet printers, Loma combi checkweighers/metal detectors and SICK barcode scanners. An array of four SICK barcode scanners are mounted on the line to ensure every barcode is scanned on the spinning soup pots as they come down the line to confirm the correct pot is being used. The AutoCoding system sets up the Domino printers with the correct date code and coding layout for the product. This eliminates the need for operator intervention, thereby reducing the risk of error.
A spokesperson from the technical team at Greencore Prepared Meals, commented, “We have tried other suppliers of automated systems in the past which were unable to deliver the expertise and reliability we require, both in terms of system functionality and after-sales support. The AutoCoding team took the time to understand our systems and developed a solution around our working methods and requirements.”
Greencore specifically wanted anti-defeat features built into the system to ensure that people, whether unintentionally or deliberately, could not circumvent the AutoCoding system, for example, change the date or message content manually on the coding device.
“AutoCoding Systems worked with their OEM partners to ensure anti-defeat mechanisms were in place to give us the additional level of protection we required,” explained Greencore. “We have found, however, that rather than trying to avoid using the system, all our production teams have embraced it and have recognized the benefits it brings. Onsite and off-site training for all levels of staff has been carried out, including operators, technical administrators and engineering teams, according to the level of complexity required.”
Greencore concluded, “Our customers, many of whom are major retailers, are very positive about the system and we take pride in demonstrating its effectiveness when they visit our site. This has given them increased confidence that the products manufactured at the Greencore, Kiveton site are always correctly packaged and coded, reducing the risk of expensive emergency product withdrawals giving bad publicity for all parties concerned.”
Greencore Kiveton are now considering expanding their AutoCoding system to incorporate the Paperless Quality module, along with the new Loma TRACS checkweigher/metal detector reporting tool.