As time passes and manufacturing processes evolve, traceability becomes extremely important. By implementing systems that encourage high-level tracking capabilities, organizations can exert more granular control over production processes.
Traceability helps them make safer products and make processes more conducive to continuous improvements. These improvements include better quality and cost-free shipping and resource utilization.
Corporations in diverse industries such as food, automobiles, or aviation need to implement traceability systems. So, what is traceability?
What is Traceability?
Traceability is the ability to track products and lots in the manufacturing industry. There are different types of tracking and traceability.
One is downstream traceability. This system permits organizations to track individual copies of products or lots and the manufacturer to the customer. Perfect downstream tracing is especially critical for product recall campaigns.
The second type is upstream tracking. It helps trace a product from the consumer to the manufacturer and ultimately to the supplier.
The third type is internal traceability. This system includes every aspect of tracking production efforts within a single facility or organizational unit.
The fourth system is external traceability (or chain traceability). It involves knowing exactly when the product comes in before entering or after departing the facility.
With these traceability systems, manufacturers can address customers who know exactly which product is used and when and guarantee ultimate retention through targeted marketing.
How does it work?
The process requires adopting an identification or coding system which allows unique tagging of individual products, lots, or production units. These involve using technologies such as permanent marking the part or components entering assembly or directly from the supplier.
Once the product or component begins the production process, its ID is captured in real-time and transmitted to a central database. The product includes information about the work at each workstation.
This data can be compared to production planning systems to ensure no steps are missed. Quality Management can be implemented automatically by checking the part with a material bill to confirm it has gone through the correct assembly process.
How can you improve traceability?
Product traceability in manufacturing needs insight into your production or product-supplier visibility. Without this insight, you would potentially need to carry out more recalls.
The longer you leave defective products on shelves, the more difficult it becomes to track them as they pass through your supply chain. Proactive monitoring becomes much easier for manufacturers if you are using product traceability systems.
Product traceability provides you with true-time information about the product’s progress. It alerts you to problems quickly when they happen. Performing periodic mock recalls will help identify how long it takes your business to recover defective items.
Benefits of Traceability in Manufacturing Industry
Product traceability helps you identify the cause of a problem. It will assist you in monitoring where your production is underperforming. Thus, tracking and part traceability improve your production lead times and manufacturing processes.
These systems are critical tools for ensuring you provide accurate and reliable statistics about how your product is crafted. You and your crew take responsibility for identifying inefficiencies on the workshop floor, designing plans, and implementing improvements.
A continuous improvement system is a form of lean manufacturing. It is your responsibility to have constant progress and accountability in place on the shop floor.
Also, product traceability software will help increase your production efficiency and product quality control. Traceability tools are available for health care companies, beauty industries, or any manufacturing process.
Any products with an unusually long shelf life will become outdated because of technological advancements. The traceable software can function in some situations in a specific sector, such as delegating or transferring tasks into the production system.
With this solution, cosmetic manufacturing would help people with problems in the beauty business prioritize and delegate production tasks and help identify bottlenecks in production. With inadequate product tracking and inspection systems, it is nearly impossible to recover defective items.
Current Trends in Manufacturing Business
The traceability system tries to reduce the adverse consequences of recall by replacing batch numbers with serial numbers. The access will allow manufacturers to determine the root cause of a failure better.
This allows manufacturers to recall defective products and minimize product recalls effectively. According to traceability software, there has been no product recalls at more than 5 percent.
Preventing Recalls With Quality Control
The statistical process control software can monitor and control the product quality processes continuously. Quality controllers use traceability information to find out the nonconformities before a product is sold to consumers. They address manufacturing concerns as early as possible by identifying trends in statistical data.
How can you achieve manufacturing traceability?
In manufacturing, achieving traceability demands monitoring the raw material finished goods on the production floor and work in progress (WIP). It would help if you marked stock and documented the actual production and inventory movements.
There are two types of inventory tracking: stock lot tracking and serial number tracking. Lot tracking works with goods in bulk (for processing products such as food pharmaceuticals fabrics).
On the other hand, serial tracking is used to handle individual products. Every item must be assigned a designated space on each shelf in the warehouse and stockroom. Each particular item must be appropriately labeled, and you must record each stock move.
you can perform quality inspections to monitor the conformity of all your raw materials to industry specifications, including WIP stocks and finished products. Some companies can’t pay for a thorough inventory of products being provided and produced every day.
For this reason, it is necessary to account for quality cost and determine that items are so valuable they deserve regular quality checks. Quality checks of raw materials can identify errors from customers revealing the quality of your products.
Quality checkpoints during certain internal processes or after the end of this entire production line can identify production issues within your manufacturing unit.
Shop Floor Control and Execution Reporting
Reports are an invaluable source of information about your manufacturing processes. When you identify a certain employee as a recurring inconsistency, you might want to provide them with additional training or assign a senior working assistant to supervise and educate them.
With good reporting policies in place, you can receive accurate information about raw materials consumption, and personnel tasked with using various equipment, and any hiccup in the process. You might need additional training to aid in the identification of the contributors of recurring inconsistency in production.
Serial Number Tracking
The serial number is assigned to separate items instead of grouping objects. This approach would allow tracking of items in isolation to ensure a more effective resolution of warranty questions in addition to the warranty claims process.
This information offers a clear overview of the item’s status, location, and history. It is also possible that large quantities of products are handled through the use of barcode scanners. There are various levels of use of serial number trackings, such as barcodes or barcode scanners, to track an individual item.
Lot Number Tracking
Stock lot numbers are assigned to every batch produced and supplied to track the source, quantity, value expiry dates, and other needed information. If a part of this lot is found faulty, you could easily determine what batch it is. It’s called forward traceability. A customer notifying you of a product can use either track what went wrong – or find it yourself.
How do other traceability methods compare?
Traditional marking processes of parts and product identification are still employed for decades. The dot peen and laser marking technology uses intelligent adaptability to answer problems encountered using those methods. You can use pin marks or laser marks to indicate parts of the product or components in the fabrication plant.
Laser Marking: Solution for Part Traceability
Metal engraving machine provides permanent marks, excellent contrasts, and reliability. Laser marking offers the best readability rates, which lead to higher investment returns.
Most of the time, you must demolish pieces if the code is unreadable. How do all of these factors affect the readability of parts?
Reliable Marking Systems
You should now scrap Parts with lower-quality numbers to prevent losing traceability of their contents. This activity could affect profitability. But with a reliable marking system,
This is to say a laser marking system has no movable parts. Fiber laser systems work well in harsh industrial conditions and require minimal maintenance.
The head is IP67 certified, and the laser source has a mean time between a failure of 100,000 hours. Also, the equipment does not contain consumables.
On laser engravers, the marking quality is consistent because a mechanical failure deteriorates no parts. It uses laser technology, which makes the marking effective during harsh manufacturing conditions.
A permanent mark remains visible during the manufacturing process of a component. However, the dot peen and laser identification process must be retained in every application to guarantee full part traceability.
For example, stainless steel exhaust tubes can be marked for corrosion resistance. Also, components treated with surface treatments can maintain a low readability rate for other treatments such as e-coating heat treatment and shot blasting.
High Contrast Marks
A laser engraver optimizes each marking process to attain maximum detail and contrast for 3D codes. Using different energy densities, laser marking can produce high-contrast white dots on a black background or black dots on a white background.
High contrast is one such measure as was done in optimizing laser marking efficiency for aluminum. The best contrast is achieved when marking marks are placed on aluminum, not aluminum or white marks, as they are not aluminum-based marks. They are marked using laser-marking technology.
Pin Stamping or Dot Peen Marking
Doted markings may have a bad readability rate because of their low contrast. But, these devices withstand and sustain constant mechanical vibrations and shock.
The dot peen system might be slow and unsatisfactory, but they provide affordable traceability and parts management, especially for highly regulated industries. Although these machines need constant maintenance, they still offer reliable markings to manufacturing processes that don’t include surface treatments.
Pin stamping is extremely useful in labels and nameplates.
You’ve read about the benefits of implementing traceability systems, now it’s time to start thinking about how you can implement them in your business. The first step is understanding what a traceable system entails and whether or not this type of technology will work for your organization.
Luckily, we’re experts who have been working with companies throughout all industries to help them implement these systems that encourage high-level tracking capabilities and create better products and processes.
Let us know if you want more information on how our team could help improve yours by implementing a traceability program!