Watch this video to learn how automated in-line vision inspection systems verify label information such as label ID, graphic ID, presence, skew, wrinkles, and tears to ensure every label is correct.
There are a few causes of product mislabelling, although the most common cause is operator error. This refers to any issue caused by human interaction with the production line – forgetting to load a different label type during a product changeover, for example. There is also equipment malfunction – which can be a defect in the printing process caused by wear and tear. This can result in anything from a shift in coloration to missing lines of important text. It occurs less often, but can still result in significant problems.
The consequences for poor print or label quality can vary depending on the severity of the problem. A printing defect such as faded coloration does not place any consumers at risk, or expose manufacturers to any potential legal threat, but it does potentially damage the brand's image. In more extreme cases, such as an error that results in missing information, a product recall is usually necessary.
Graphical identification is a fairly straightforward process. When the inspection is set up, the user selects a graphical element on the label which is unique to that particular label – this can be anything from a photo of the product in question, or a symbol – it can even be a particular phrase. Once the system knows what to look for, it will search for that graphical element on each label it inspects. Should that element be missing or incomplete, the system flags it for removal from the production line or alerts operators.