This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Ensuring consistent quality at scale

23 January 2023

Worldwide Fruit has employed an automated online verification solution to stop packaging errors.

Worldwide Fruit traditionally had relied on manual checks of product labels, date code and country of origin were undertaken, but these methods are susceptible to human error, especially in a high-complexity business. Its operations handle thousands of different products from different, growers with packaging combinations. For example, in a single category such apples there are many varieties of apples from different countries with different packaging and promotion requirements from each retailer.

For a production run, Worldwide Fruit must ensure the right product (apple), is in the right packaging with the right date code and country of origin. Any mistake in the process could result in a product recall and a fine from retailers. This was why Worldwide Fruit turned to automation to address these challenges.

After a review of suppliers, it chose to work with OAL thanks to previous experience of implementing an OAL system. Furthermore, it wanted a solution that could integrate with its existing ERP system, and OAL could demonstrate its ability to do just this.

The priority was implementing an ‘online’ label and verification system across the packaging lines to accelerate digital transformation. An online system needs to be able to ensure that every product is verified as opposed to ‘offline’ where just a sample is verified.

Automating the process
The OAL solution has a number of elements to automate the process. A digital master product database was created containing all critical SKU information. OAL Line Terminals were installed on every line for operators to start and finish jobs and conduct quality checks related to the job. This includes online cameras to scan and verify packaging to ensure the right packaging is applied to the product. Each online printer is connected to the OAL system which controls the printer and tells it the date code to print based on the date code rules in the master product database. The offline print room printers are also under the control of the OAL system to ensure that offline printed labels are also correct.

Discussing the project, Fran McNally, quality manager at Worldwide Fruit, said: “Working together with OAL we have implemented a robust automated label and date code verification system. By introducing cutting edge artificial intelligence technology we have future-proofed our packaging lines, enabling further automation. Crucially we have been able to customise the system to meet our requirements. The 24/7 support is quick and efficient.”

The company also chose to add an extra layer of assurance in the form of APRIL Eye date code verification. APRIL Eye gives the OAL system the functionality to read back and verify printed date codes in an image. This ensures the right date code is applied, it is legible and in the right location.

At Worldwide Fruit, as part of start-up, interval and end-of-run checks the operator takes a picture of a finished pack with the OAL line terminal hand scanner. The system checks it is correct and legible against the current job.

Finally, every check, scan and data point is recorded providing a complete digital audit trail to ensure BRC and retailer code of practice compliance.

Worldwide Fruit has scaled and improved its quality control processes, resulting in reduced operational risk. Automation has helped find and prevent hard-to-spot errors while reducing the time it takes to complete quality control checks. The solution has also removed substantial paperwork from the business, helping the company to meet and surpass its sustainability goals.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page