"Today, the system is able of not only weighing and labelling the carton but also of checking the weight information on the label, the placement of the EC label and the barcode quality which is a relatively new thing".
Allan Hedevang, Product Sales Manager, Scanvaegt Systems
There is money to be saved by making processes more efficient and letting the machines take over packing and packaging of products e.g. for the food sector, where still fewer employees are involved in the work.
This helps to streamline businesses and ensure improved bottom line figures, but it also cuts away some of the uniform and boring tasks.
“One may say that a lot employees avoid having to carry out these routine tasks with many monotonous repetitions during a workday, but fewer employees will of course be needed in the packing operations. It is good business for the companies but they will not be able to replace all their employees”, explains Allan Hedevang, Product Sales Manager at Scanvaegt Systems.
Control functions eliminate errors
The employees are still needed for intervening if an error occurs, e.g. when the automated packing system detects an error in one of the packages, which then has to be re-packaged or otherwise.
“There Is still a need for that control and possibility of returning the package to the system. If the customer receives a faulty package, then entire pallet will in some cases be returned. So you want to make sure that packing controls are top notch and this does after all require people being present”, says Allan Hedevang. But he also emphasizes the fact that the latest automated systems involve but a few remaining manual tasks. Previously, 3-4 people were needed for the packing, labelling and checks etc. in a production line, but today automation handles almost everything.
Automatic packing lines get the job done
“The development has moved towards more and more functions being handled by the technology and the automated system”, according to Allan Hedevang.
“Today, the system is able of not only weighing and labelling the carton but also of checking the weight information on the label, the placement of the EC label and the barcode quality which is a relatively new thing. Until now, there has been a risk of errors of various kinds, such as the weight content not matching the predefined weight limits, the barcode being illegible, the EC label being placed incorrectly or - in some cases - a discrepancy between content and label. Today you can avoid this kind of errors with new systems which - in addition to weighing and labelling carton - also check that the weight of the contents and information on the label is correct, that the EC label is properly positioned and that the barcode is clear and readable”, he explains and predicts that more and more companies will take new automated systems in use.
In addition to the new technical specifications, the automatic weighing and labelling system can also run around the clock, so there is a huge potential in automation.
New barcode technology
“Among other things we will see new "barcodes" which contain much more information, but take up less space - the so-called "Data Matrix" which is a kind of QR code. Thus, the barcode will not disturb the other text as much.
We have also seen RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) - the technology is being developed over a period years where the information is read via radio waves. It is also used to some extent in companies to manage product flow, but requires that customers are also able to use the system before it really becomes more widely used”, says Allan Hedevang who also foresees that automation will also become more available for smaller companies in line with developments, where both the technology and systems become cheaper.