Product serialisation and track and trace systems

As manufacturers’ supply chains have become more complex, product traceability has grown in importance. While a manufacturer may need to know the origins of its raw material inputs from upstream, its downstream customers are just as likely to require the option to revisit when and where the product was made and by whom.

Product traceability is vital in an age of heightened quality standards and regulatory demands, offering a greater level of accountability at each stage of the supply chain. One way in which companies can achieve this is through an automated track and trace system.

Product traceability systems

A track and trace system applies unique serialisation coding onto products during production and packaging, which stays with the product throughout the supply chain. An automated product traceability system will also connect with factory business systems to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of essential processes.

The process begins at the primary packaging point and unique codes are assigned at each stage, until the product is placed on a pallet to be shipped. These codes are usually generated by a system with an external interface and can be applied in various different ways, including laser, inkjet or ‘print and apply’ technology.

A key aspect of product track and trace is the validation and authentication of the unique codes at each stage of the process. Once the code has been applied at each packaging point, it is verified, validated and authenticated before the product can move onto the next stage of the production or packaging process.

Which industries require product serialisation?

Product serialisation is essential in the tobacco industry, where the EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD II) states that all unit packets of tobacco products are required to be marked with a unique identifier.

The pharmaceutical industry is another with an extensive requirement for strict track and trace systems. Pharmaceutical track and trace legislation is already in place around the world to prevent counterfeit products from entering the market.

We are now seeing legislation begin to drive requirements for coding and tracking of other product categories such as soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. The ultimate aim is to ensure manufacturers play their part in eliminating the illegal trade of contraband and counterfeit products.

Efficient and effective track and trace systems by Sewtec Automation

At Sewtec Automation, we invent, design, manufacture, install, and support track and trace systems for global blue-chip clients looking to boost operational efficiencies and aid compliance.

We design and build our product traceability systems to meet specific customer requirements – whether that be to occupy a limited space or to process a particularly high volume of products.

Our in-house expertise allows us to create high-speed automated track and trace systems, offering accuracy, quality, and safety as standard. We invent solutions to enhance the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of your production and packaging lines to increase efficiency and fulfil your legal obligations.

Key features of an automated track and trace system

Our inventive product traceability systems offer a number of features designed to ensure maximum quality and accuracy of your process.

Unique device identification

Our track and trace systems apply unique coding at each product point and aggregate into outers and cases to ensure full traceability at any point, whether in primary packaging or on a pallet.

Onboard code generation

Codes applied to products can either be generated internally via the Sewtec system or handled from externally generated sources such as government issuers.

Choice of code marking options

We can design a track and trace system to code products via print and apply labels, laser, CO2 or fibre technology.

Product code verification

Our product traceability systems can verify products using either 1D, 2D or Dot code formats to meet customer requirements.

Maximum data integrity

With accuracy of product serialisation an essential requirement, our systems are able to achieve 100% data integrity with lines running at 99.98% Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Our experience in track and trace automation

At Sewtec Automation, our in-house capabilities and experience in creating turnkey track and trace systems means we’re the perfect partner for your next project.

Find out more about projects we’ve completed reading this case study on tobacco track and trace systems.