E-pedigree for track-and-trace

31 August 2008

The food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries are subject to ever stricter safety requirements, including full proof of manufacture. This requires automatic identification of all packaging elements and detailed and retraceable monitoring of the packaging process.

Siemens e-pedigree
Siemens e-pedigree

The regulations mean that it is essential for packaging systems to be integrated into track-and-trace systems.

Industry’s answer to this challenge is the ‘e-pedigree,’ or electronic pedigree, which provides evidence for the movement of a product through the supply chain. It ensures end-to-end protection for the product, especially against adulteration or tampering.

There is an important side benefit of this new industry regulation: it allows more flexible production. Depending on the target market, the product code is applied to the packaging with a Data Matrix code and an RFID tag. A combination of both techniques makes production more flexible. With RFID, logistics processes and distribution in production benefit from the high-speed bulk reading of all information relating to a delivery. On the one hand the results of process monitoring are used directly for controlling the plant, via auto ID, while on the other they provide the input for product tracing. Process monitoring, track and trace, and the automation of packaging go hand in hand.

Siemens’ integrated e-pedigree portfolio includes RFID and Data Matrix code reading systems, machine vision, and manufacturing execution systems (MES). With distributed synchronous operation, the Simotion Motion Control System establishes the synchronous relationships between distributed machine modules. When dealing with alarm logging, operating mode management, general emergency-off functionality and other standard functions, the system can co-ordinate and utilise the intelligence distributed across the packaging line. www.automation.siemens.com

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