A large North American company not only produces drink cans but also offers state-of-the-art graphics services customized to each customer’s specific needs. It’s imperative that the barcodes on cans be correct— as they’re used as the cans are filled during product manufacturing and then down through the supply chain all the way to consumers.
“Once they get to the point of sale, we have to make sure that they’re able to be scanned so that customers can purchase the product,” explained a quality control manager. “We also have to make sure the barcodes are correct so that, from an inventory management and pricing standpoint, the customers aren’t getting charged for the wrong price for the wrong product.”
The barcodes can be one- or two-dimensional, and if they’re not accurate, products won’t scan correctly in production lines, in transit, or at the retail level. If there were an issue, the company would not only face the cost of replacing defects but a potential loss of reputation with its customers.
“If it’s a wrong barcode, we might have to recall that product from the market,” said the quality control manager.
How Stratix Helps
To ensure the barcodes it prints are accurate, the company uses Stratix barcode verifiers when a production line is changed from one product to the next—for example, switching equipment to print cans for regular root beer over to diet root beer.
“They’re required to sample a certain number of cans per decoration machine and measure them with the Stratix gauge. And then we have that data fed into a computer,” the quality control manager explained.
The barcode verifier gives the printing job an A through F letter grade. The control process looks at the quality of the print and serves as a backup to ensure the employee remembered to swap out all the necessary printing plates because each color gets its own. One can design may require as many as a half dozen printing plates.
“It would throw up a flag and say, Hey, just so you know, the barcode that you scanned on this can doesn’t match what the list is telling me this barcode is supposed to be. And so, we have a chance to correct it before it gets out into the market,” said the quality control manager.
Stratix supplies the company with two kinds of barcode verifiers:
- Xaminer Elite
- High-quality barcode verification for both 1D and 2D
- No daily calibration required
- Compliant with ISO/IEC standards
- Xaminer eZ-2D
- Supports QR code and Data Matrix
The Xaminer Elite is portable, which means it can be used to spot-check items throughout the production process. The eZ-2D is connected to a PC for checking products at specific locations along a production line.
The quality control manager said employees like how simple the verifiers are to use.
“It’s a point-and-click. You make sure the barcode is in line with the laser, click the button, it takes the measurement, and you’re done. It doesn’t really get much easier,” she explained.
Stratix also backs our verifiers with a service and maintenance contract to minimize any downtime and keep production lines humming.
“We’ve been very happy with the equipment. I’ve been working for [the company] for eight years now, and I’ve never had an issue with any of the barcode scan standards or verifiers,” said the quality control manager.
Delivering a Commitment to Quality
Customer satisfaction is the top priority for the company, and Stratix barcode verifiers help it achieve that goal every day. The Xaminer Elite and Xaminer eZ-2Ds used on its production lines ensure the company meets its high standard of excellence
Any printing production issues are detected straight away, and that limits waste and losses. With Stratix barcode verifiers, company leaders have peace of mind knowing that barcodes are accurate and will scan properly from production to the point of sale.