Track and trace systems are becoming increasingly popular in industrial automation because of the benefits they offer. By implementing track and trace systems, producers can improve their efficiency, reduce waste, and ensure high-quality products meet regulatory requirements. The use of unique identification, such as serialization, enables each saleable unit to be tracked through the supply chain, making it possible to identify counterfeits and provide consumer and brand protection.
Various technologies, including barcode scanning, RFID tagging, and GPS tracking, are used in track and trace systems. These technologies allow for the tracking of products and materials throughout the manufacturing process and supply chain, helping to ensure quality control and detect errors or defects. The physical integration of the existing automated packaging line with the labeling and verification equipment is necessary for the implementation of serialization. Additionally, vision systems must be added to the lines after the labeling operation to check the printed IDs.
An Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system assigns a set of numbers to a product and downloads the numbers to a production floor. After the packaging is complete, the production line sends back the specific lot numbers and product IDs assigned to the serialization IDs. The production line also sends back the lists of unused and scrapped IDs, which is important to track so that they cannot be used in counterfeit products. MES (manufacturing execution system) collects the used and unused IDs and periodically sends them back up to the ERP system.
Overall, track and trace systems in industrial automation offer numerous benefits for producers, including regulatory compliance, anti-counterfeiting efforts, and consumer and brand protection.
Benefits for Producers
1. It encodes packages with an expiration date, lot, serial number, and a 2D code.
2. Used to track products for anti-counterfeiting efforts
3. Provides regulatory compliance
4. Track and trace capability throughout the supply chain
5. Consumer protection
6. Brand protection