Optel Vision and NJM Packaging Tackle Track and Trace at Pack Expo
Experts from Optel Vision and NJM Packaging spoke about preparing packaging lines for item-level serialization during an hour-long conference at Pack Expo Las Vegas on September 24. Jean-Pierre Allard from Optel Vision and Dan Lapierre from NJM Packaging discussed packaging line integration challenges and possible solutions.
For instance, Allard explained that companies will "need to connect IT to their packaging lines" to support an EPCIS repository, manage numbers, connect to trading partners, connect to governments for certain markets, and enable authentication services and EDI integration.
Several possible packaging scenarios were explored, with one suggested approach entailing grouping bottles in bundles, then in cases, and finally pallets. Bottles must be encoded, inspected, codes commissioned and associated, then bottles aggregated to bundles, cases, and pallets. All data is sent via an EPCIS to a server.
Allard explained the concept of placing tracking codes on the bottom of bottles in addition to on-label serialized 2-D codes and associating the two codes for production purposes. Doing so eliminates the need to rely on the "first-in, first-out" approach, which could present risks should bottles be removed at any time before final packaging. And relying on bottom production codes at certain stages overcomes the challenges with side labeling that may not always be visible when bottles are grouped together, said Allard.
Lapierre explained that all NJM Packaging labeling and coding equipment can be integrated with Optel Vision's vision and track and trace systems. "You pick up the tracking codes as the bottles go into the final package and then we print the serialized label after that final package is sealed," he explained.
One audience member asked why companies should get started on serialization projects before U.S. lawmakers determine the status of a bill that would delay pending requirements, such as California's electronic predigree law. Allard said he expected that if companies were to prepare for California, they would likely be able to support international requirements for serialization, since California's requirements align with GS1 standards as do those of most other countries.