BARCODE LABELS PREPRINTED FOR TRACEABILITY
Printing Barcode Labels with TLP
Given today’s complex global supply chains, component traceability is crucial in the automotive supply chain.
Manufacturers that adopt and adhere to the right traceability approach can more rapidly respond to recalls, improve regulatory compliance and ensure supplier accountability. With the ability to quickly spot and correct problems, manufacturers can also increase product safety and speed production.
Printed barcode labels play a critical role in traceability efforts. With volumes often in the hundreds of thousands or greater, each label carries a unique barcode – and every one of them must be accurate and easily readable, even after being subjected to harsh automotive conditions over long periods.
CHALLENGE: Problems with previous batch label process result in added time and costs.
A well-known Tier 1 component manufacturer needs approximately 500,000 unique barcode labels per order of the airbag solenoid valves it produces.
The manufacturer previously was working with a label supplier that used a batch system for these labels, which involves feeding serial numbers manually into the system.
This approach was causing one too many problems:
- Unreadable barcodes
- Improper order
Quality inspectors usually spotted these issues before the labels were robotically applied – but not before extra time and costs were incurred, in the form of rejected batches and label reorders. And if inspectors were to miss a problem? The manufacturer would be unable to trace who made the part, when and with what materials – an unacceptable liability that would cost even more to fix further down the line.
SOLUTION: Implementing high-speed variable print and inline verification with TLP.
Unlike the typical batch printing and manual inspection process, TLP’s traceability approach for automotive applications uses automated, continuous variable printing with inline verification – a technique that’s common in life sciences industries, where precise labeling is crucial to safety and privacy.
Supported by an ISO/TS 16949 certified quality system, TLP’s traceability solution involves high-speed inkjet printing and scanning with advanced camera technology. Drawing from an alphanumeric library of serial numbers developed before printing, each individual component contains a unique serial number with part-centric information linking to large, back-end databases. The system scans each label inline multiple times to verify accuracy, virtually eliminating errors.
TLP adapted this proven process to the supplier’s approved design and label specifications. The team not only improved on the previous batch system with a more automated and reliable workflow, but also enhanced the labels themselves with a tackifier additive in the adhesive to improve bonding to the part over time.
As a result, the component manufacturer saves time and costs while improving its relationships with customers by increasing efficiency and ensuring traceability … improvements that can be traced directly to its continuing success. And the labels will stay put and be scanned easily for many years – long after a vehicle leaves the showroom.
BENEFITS OF A BETTER TRACEABILITY SOLUTION
- Quick location of problem parts
- Rapid response to recalls
- Accelerated production
- Reduced scrap and labor
- Greater inventory accuracy