Real-time bar code reader monitoring ensures packaging line performance

Lisa McTigue Pierce in Optimization on August 07, 2014

Control devices on a packaging line fail all the time. Getting to the root cause of the problem, though, can be daunting. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to monitor all the devices in real-time and categorize the faults?

That’s the question the folks at Cognex asked, and have now answered with the new Explorer Real Time Monitoring (RTM) system, which ensures the performance of the company’s DataMan bar code readers. Getting the right data about these readers into the hands of plant managers empowers them to identify and correct packaging line defects with the overall goal of improving efficiency and optimizing processes.

Here’s how it works: When a package has a bar code read error, the DataMan reader sends the image to the Explorer RTM. It evaluates the image and classifies it by type, such as "packages with no label present" or "poorly printed labels." These classified images are stored in the Explorer RTM database—which is housed on a server—and plant managers can check the data at any time using a web browser.

The system also tracks read rates of the DataMan devices and shows trend reports, making is easy to see performance patterns.

Carl Gerst, vp and business unit manager for ID Products at Cognex, says, "Our customers have been looking for a data-driven approach to pinpoint deficiencies in their applications. By providing powerful and flexible vision tools to analyze packages that were not read due to process errors, as well as the time-based trending of read rates, we add a whole new level of value to our scan points."

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