The system checks the readability of each bar code to ensure it can be scanned easily throughout the distribution chain, and also checks the quality of the print to prevent it falling below an acceptable level.
The validation unit is configured with acceptance values for each bar code and sounds an alarm and rejects any codes that do not match this standard. Overall code quality is also monitored and the system can be programmed to send a signal to the multi system to purge the printer if quality drops below a certain level.
Supply chain safety has never been a bigger issue within the food industry. This was brought home last December, with the resignation of US secretary of health and human services Tommy Thompson.
His announcement featured a surprising assessment about the bioterrorist threat to the nation's food supply in which he stated that "for the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do".
Furthermore, all food manufacturers in Europe must comply with tough new traceability laws as of 1 January 2005. Such regulatory demands have obliged food manufacturers and suppliers to find means of achieving complete traceability of their supply chain, and opened up a whole new hi-tech industry in tracing solutions.
UK-based Alpha Dot claims that its bar code validation unit offers firms added accountability, allowing them to quickly trace products to their source. For example the system also features a learn and compare bar code feature eliminates the chance of the printer applying the wrong code to the outer case.
"Unreadable or inaccurate bar codes can be very costly in terms of product recall, lost production and the resulting heavy retailer fines," said Gary Girling of Alpha Dot. "Our bar code validation unit ensures the accuracy of each code to maximise the benefits of the multi system printers."
The bar code scanner also features an advanced software package that simplifies set up and configuration into a step-by-step process to enable ease of use by all operators.