A pallet tracking and label data management system that allows different pallet loads from a number of different production lines to be handled automatically on a single stretchwrapping and labelling line, using pre-set criteria, has been developed by print & apply labelling specialist Logopak.
Software based, Logotrac is said to offer a considerably lower cost option to the custom-built PLC-based systems traditionally used to identify and control pallets through a stretchwrapper, then transfer the correct label data to the print & apply machine.
“In effect, Logotrac is similar to the standard shift register used for security in primary packaging machines to identify and keep track of individual items as they pass through the system,” explains Logopak UK general manager Wilson Clark.
“However the data handling capabilities also allow unique information for each pallet – its wrap pattern, height if double stacked, and the shipping labelling data – to be carried in a label on the pallet load from the moment it is created.”
In the first installation of Logotrac recently completed at a UK paper tissue manufacturer, pallets from a number of lines converge on a single stretchwrapper. Before palletising, each bundle of tissues is identified with an EAN 128 bar code label which includes retailer codes and other shipping information, but also carries programming instructions for the stretchwrapper.
As each pallet enters the stretchwrapper it is identified to the machine, allowing it automatically to adopt the pre-set wrap pattern for the product and pallet stacking format. In the case of tissue products this provides the correct degree of pallet load stability without risk of crushing.
With over 200 permutations of product and pallet stacking format in regular use in this installation, automatic wrap programme selection also saves film and avoids risk of human error.
After wrapping, the pallet is tracked into the labelling machine where a GS1 shipping label is attached. The labeller automatically adjusts its height when combinations of different height pallets are stacked.
Logopak International Limited
Tel: 01904 692333