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Food Traceability Systems

The regulation 178/2002/EC requires food and beverage manufacturers to trace products throughout the production cycle. According to the EU food law, traceability is "the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food producing animal or substance...through all stages of production, processing and distribution".

This means that food manufacturers are required to trace all food ingredients along the food chain, from the supplier through the production and packaging processes, to the supermarket or other retailers. Computerised traceability systems are the most efficient method used to meet these requirements.

Computerised traceability systems automatically collect real time data from every stage of a manufacturing process. They enable manufacturers to link the raw ingredients from a supplier to a batch of products. Traceability systems collate and provide the following information:

  • Receipt of raw materials
  • Raw ingredients used in each product batch
  • Backward and forward product tracking
  • Real time production flow
  • Stock rotation
  • Process parameters per product

Due to the quantity of data recorded, many manufacturers are switching from paper-based to computer-based traceability systems. Computerised traceability systems offer additional benefits to paper-based methods as they allow real time access, require minimal operator intervention and are less prone to human error.

Since Industrial Technology Systems Ltd (ITS) was established in 1991, the company has designed and implemented many traceability systems in the food and beverage industry.

As an independent solution provider we can recommend and implement the best traceability systems to meet each customer's requirements.

ITS can offer advice in traceability and MES solutions. Whether you need assistance in identifying your needs, writing a URS or meeting regulatory demands, ITS' team can assist. ITS can integrate a solution in one area of a plant to demonstrate that it achieves the return on investment required. The solution can then be implemented site-wide. ITS also specialises in designing bespoke traceability systems to meet the requirements of food and beverage manufacturers.

For many years the food industry has used PLCs and SCADA systems to automate production processes. As the industry is becoming more competitive, food manufacturers are looking for ways to improve their processes. The natural place to look for these improvements is in the field of MES technology.

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solutions often include product traceability modules and they provide additional functionalities and benefits to traceability systems. The systems collate real time information at a shop floor level and disseminate the data, in a format that is easy to understand. The data provides the basis for sound business decisions.

Imagine how your company could benefit from instant access to the following information:

  • When the bottleneck occurred and why
  • The yield for a line, an operator or product
  • The level of work in progress (WIP)
  • Waste levels and downtime data
  • Equipment management data to plan maintenance activities and minimise failure

With this information you will be able to fine-tune your process to maximise your company's performance. The data collated is the key to improvements in production efficiency, product quality, scheduling accuracy, customer satisfaction and costs.