The OAL Connected system is installed on five packaging lines at its facility in Norfolk, UK.
Thermal transfer labelers
The system comprises of a touch screen, that links and controls scanners, printers (ICE and Markem SD5 thermal transfer labelers), checkweighers and a master database of products on each of Kinnerton’s packaging lines.
Wayne Johnson, Connected manager, OAL, told ConfectioneryNews, automation places control of the packaging line setup at a senior level within the food manufacturing business.
“This way, control sits with senior staff who are accountable for food safety and not the lower skilled operators. Moving responsibility up the ladder is important. Imagine working nights. If you've been on continental shifts, switching from day to night, it's difficult to make the best decision at 3am. Automation removes this risk, offering unparalleled adherence to detail and consistency."
Using OAL Connected, downtime can be recorded and feedback given in real-time. If a defect product is detected by the scanners the line is paused.
To resume the line, a senior operator must investigate and record the reason for the defect on the touchscreen terminal.
Johnson added, the machine ensures compliance with the retailer’s codes of practice –‘Automated Control Systems’ category for Packaging and Coding Verification by eliminating label and date code errors.
The OAL Autocoding module scans every label and date code to ensure products are packaged correctly.
Food Standards Agency
He said according to the UK Food Standards Agency, food manufacturers are using automation to prevent label and packaging errors as product recalls can result in onerous fines, as much as £250,000 and loss to brand reputation.
“In 2015, 277 product recalls in the UK were related to labeling and packaging errors. People up and down the supply chain make mistakes every day and manufacturers need to be confident that their systems can detect and prevent them,” added Johnson.
Kinnerton is renowned for chocolate treats depicting children’s favorite characters. It offers a ‘nut safe’ promise to manufacture chocolate and supplies all major UK retailers.
Mike Gee, head of engineering, Kinnerton, said before installing the OAL autocoding system it was tested on its packaging lines and proved to be successful.
“We were also impressed by OAL’s ability to offer 24/7 support and for the single system to offer paperless quality checks, OEE and traceability at a later date. These were key drivers in our purchasing decision,” he added.
Other OAL Connected customers include Heinz, Bakkavor and Yeo Valley.