Mettler-Toledo releases product inspection systems for range labelling

Equipment specialist Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection has unveiled two new Product Data Check technology options to be integrated into existing C-Series checkweighers.

As the company revealed, the new vision inspection add-ons allow manufacturers, including those within the confectionery and snacks markets, to incorporate fully integrated smart camera technology into their production lines to verify the presence of correct labels.

Consequently, manufacturers can reject incorrectly labelled packaged products, helping to minimise the risk of product recalls plus protect brand integrity and profits from avoidable product loss.

The new Product Data Check 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 flavours or various baby food products can now check each label against specific product data and reject non-conforming labels. Advantages include:

· Minimising the rework time that staff must spend because mislabelling mistakes are caught early before the packaged product reaches the secondary packaging stage.

· Mitigating product recalls by confirming that only correctly labelled packaged products can leave the production facility. The technology rejects labels that incorrectly display allergen information as per the pre-programmed criteria. Plus, after product changeovers, it verifies that the correct labels are applied to the correct packages.

· Reducing waste, and its associated costs, as products with non-conforming labels or those that are mislabelled can now be repackaged with the correct label.

· Improving operational efficiency by reducing line setup time for configuring new label inspections on product changeovers thanks to easy-to-use pre-programmed inspection set up software.

· Protecting brand reputation against any negative repercussions due to inferior package quality or mislabelled products reaching the marketplace.

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 mislabelled products is an easily-prevented issue,” says Jürgen Kress, Head of Checkweighing and Vision Inspection for Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection. “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-built lines are available in two different configurations depending on the product shape – including the Product Data Check version. This 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 (HMI) controls the cameras whilst intuitive software allows for easy product profiles switching. The multiple cameras can be easily placed onto the checkweigher system or inspection equipment and are supported by simple brackets thus saving valuable production space.

Secondly, the Product Data Check 360° is designed for round products that may rotate on a conveyor belt, the Product Data Check 360 unique configuration of six sensors generates a 360° view of the product label to verify its data. With a small footprint to save valuable 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.

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