Traceability and lot tracking continue to be a major issue for bakeries and snack manufacturers, and lot codes printed on packaging represents an important step for manufacturers to rapidly and reliably track products in case of a recall. However, if a printer fails or runs out of ink, packages can run without codes being printed on them. On many lines, an operator is responsible for checking this every 10 minutes, but if that 10 minutes turns into 20 minutes, which isn’t uncommon, cases of product could be missing these important codes.

To help with this part of quality assurance, Formost Fuji Corp., Woodinville, WA, now offers a new vision scanning system on its horizontal flow wrappers that is able to check that date codes and lot codes are printed on packages. The vision system integrates into the wrapper’s interior, and besides offering registration mark testing and film tracking, it detects date and lot codes, according to Dennis Gunnell, the company’s vice-president, sales and marketing. “While this new vision system is great for anyone doing co-packing, all bakers now are looking for more inline proof that date codes and lot codes are being properly printed.”