By Andrew Eddleman, Applications Engineer at Acquire
More than 60% of FDA recalls are due to labeling and print issues. In today’s manufacturing environment, every label that is applied to every product has the potential to cause a product recall. In the Food & Beverage industry alone, the average recall costs $10 million in direct costs. This does not include the potential impact to brand image from negative feedback on social media, particularly when products contain allergens or ingredients that are not acceptable for specific diets. To avoid these consequences, labels must be inspected and verified for content, accuracy and quality 100% of the time.
Label Inspection generally occurs at two unique points in the manufacturing process: when the label is still on a web and is being printed on or when the label is on the product. The reasoning for the inspection will guide the point at which the inspection will take place.
Examination of the label on the web generally consists of a print quality inspection as well as validating graphical content. In certain industries, such as pharma, it is essential to validate that the information printed on a label is readable by a human. The label must be imaged after printing information such as the serial number and lot number so that the product can be traceable once it reaches the customer. Label content like graphical warnings or product id information can also be checked at this point to ensure labels are consistent through a production lot.
When a label has been applied, the product is inspected for the label position, product quality, and rechecked for graphical content. These inspections look for defects that could harm your brand image and prevent an incorrect label from being placed on your product. Product labels contain very similar information batch to batch or lot to lot, so a stray label can be placed in production and go unnoticed by human operators. Machine vision inspection systems ensure that every product coming off a line has the correct label all the time.
In this day and age, it is essential to inspect every label applied to a product. This ensures that products are safe and guarantees that your brand will not be tarnished through manufacturing inconsistencies.