Achieving maximum efficiency in coding and marking with automation

Growth with technological advancements

Domino's coding and marking solutions
Domino's coding and marking solutions

We’re in the midst of an industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is an umbrella term that covers a multitude of technological advances that are transforming the world’s manufacturing and production industries. This means that every individual machine, system and set of processes across the factory and throughout the enterprise will be integrated and connected to the internet. It’s as much an evolution of existing automated systems (like assembly line robots or packaging equipment), as it is a revolution. This unprecedented level of connectivity allows information to be captured at every point in the production process and throughout the supply chain. The resulting Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) data can then be analyzed and managed to make every manufacturing sequence as fast and accurate as possible.

Simply put, the holy grail of maximum efficiency could be realized with coding automation. Adem Kulauzovic, director of Coding Automation at Domino Printing Sciences, highlights the five ways in which you can achieve this through coding and marking.

Defeating downtime through proactive monitoring

Manufacturers want peace of mind that their printers will remain operational at all times, and utilizing Industry 4.0 concepts, such as integration and smart servers, makes this feasible. By using an array of integrated sensors to automate system monitoring and send data to the cloud, engineers can use this information to monitor their printers and detect any reliability issues.

With this type of technology, this can be done remotely – there is no need for engineers to go to a customer site to diagnose a fault. If a fix is required, engineers can turn up on site prepared with the knowledge and any spare parts they need. Additionally, the use of the cloud by eGoldFax enterprise faxing solutions will ensure engineers are automatically alerted of any faults and potential issues with the printers, which enable issues to be managed faster and resolutions sought before they impact the production line. The data collected by the cloud can also be used to discover trends and provide root cause analysis that can be used to determine proper preventative maintenance in the future.

Empowering customers through automation and IIoT

It does not just support teams and engineers that can monitor printers, customers also have valuable insights into their printer operations at their fingertips.

With the use of a connected online system, a customer can check the status of their printers from any location, remotely diagnose faults, plan for refills and reorders by watching ink levels and usage. They can set alerts if, for example, ink levels reach a dangerously low level – and can take action before downtime occurs – all without physically needing to be at the printer’s location.

Eliminating recalls caused by operator error

When errors are introduced, the impact can be detrimental and significant. Consider that the average human makes one mistake for every 300 characters entered. Incorrect information entered on printers by operators results in costly recalls and reworks. It’s a significant cause of unplanned production downtime. Integrating printers with factory automation systems, such as Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems enable labelling data to be coordinated automatically without the need for human input.

Seamless interoperability through standardization

Communication standards enable the seamless transfer of data between equipment and factory systems to reduce setup, support and development costs. They provide a universal method to collect and share production information across production areas; measuring and adjusting production throughput while reducing the risk of data inconsistency across different pieces of production equipment.

If you imagine a production line in its entirety, data and instructions flow through a variety of equipment that is often supplied by different companies – devices like printers, check weighers, vision systems and PLCs, and whole packaging systems from OEMs. By adopting a common data language, setup times are reduced, and there’s no need to develop software to interface between equipment – reducing development time.

Protecting consumers through serialization

There are several solutions for unique identification, aggregation, tracing and verification of products to meet the challenges of serialization. These serialization products can generate encrypted, unique numbers and enable multiple levels of aggregation and integration with government databases, enterprise systems and contract manufacturing organizations.

Online portals enable live tracking and authentication of products through the supply chain. If items are removed or changed during production, or damaged during transit, the associated serial numbers are decommissioned, and the data in the central repository is updated. Scanning products at the point of purchase gives assurance to consumers and retailers.

Don’t just survive – thrive!

Industry 4.0 is not just a revolution but an evolution of technology, attitudes and techniques across every section of the world’s manufacturing and production environments. The benefits of the fourth industrial revolution are clear to see. From increased performance and profitability to customer empowerment, to servitization and serialization, each advantage is working towards the ultimate goal for any production environment to achieve maximum efficiency.

However, Industry 4.0 cannot be achieved overnight. Due to the breadth of changes, from both a cultural and technical standpoint, this transformation will require time to take effect. Yet this transformation is happening, and it is a truly unique opportunity for us not just to survive – but thrive as innovators and early adopters while the world’s latest Industrial Revolution steadily marches on.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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