Traceability information for products is often required to comply with more stringent requirements from customers and regulatory agencies. Manufacturers must find innovative ways to create value, reduce risk, and ensure compliance. One innovative approach to responding to these challenges is the implementation of Tracking and Traceability Systems.
Tracking is the primary method of guaranteeing product safety. This involves a system that is designed to follow a product through all phases of the manufacturing process. This implies that each individual process step is being monitored by an automated system and each individual product or product batch is uniquely encoded so that it can be identified.
Encoding and identification is traditionally done by means of barcodes but recent developments have made more sophisticated techniques like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) affordable.
The automated system constantly monitors all key process parameters, including machine settings and quality measurements.
A product or batch that did not complete a production step successfully will be automatically marked as defective and be refused further processing without intervention. This method allows that a single final check can be used to confirm that a product has undergone all operations successfully before it is shipped. This method prevents faults in the early stages of production remaining undiscovered until the final quality check. In modern production processes, many steps are irreversible so the only option remaining is to scrap the entirely finished, but defective product.
Traceability is defined as the ability to trace the production history of a product based on its serial number or applied batch number. Such history becomes important in the event of a customer complaint or a detected product defect after the product has left the factory. For more and more consumer products traceability is becoming compulsory.
A historical record of all data relevant to the process further allows the manufacturer to proactively design and optimize the production process involved. By analyzing data and comparing current information against previously recorded information, the performance and quality aspects of each production process can easily be benchmarked. The data is also useful for identifying bottlenecks in the process.
In a typical manufacturing plant, there are various production processes, each with its own unique characteristics and therefore different traceability objectives. The data volume will strongly depend on the number of tracked materials, lot sizes and the number of registration points. The system should be scalable and able to capture both shop-floor data and real-time manufacturing data with minimal configuration.
ZI-ARGUS can provide complete Tracking and Traceability Systems to automatically manage the tracking and monitoring of your products and processes. We have developed systems that act even before parameters fall outside the specification limits. A trend in consecutive samples for a parameter that would, if left uncorrected, result in that parameter exceeding its limit will generate an alarm. This allows operators to keep the process constantly under control and ensure that each item produced can pass Quality Assurance without problems.
Benefits of implementing our Tracking and Traceability System