A 'helper code' makes it possible to create a parent-child relationship between the corrugated case and the 12 bottles inside.

Xttrium Laboratories of Mount Prospect, IL, recently implemented a comprehensive serialization solution from Systech International on a new line for 16-oz PET bottles of prescription mouthwash. After being filled and labeled, the bottles pass beneath an overhead ink-jet printer from Videojet that prints a 2D code on the top of each cap. Xttrium refers to this as a “helper code.” It’s essential because when 12 bottles are collated and pushed into a corrugated case in the Arpac PC 2000 side-loading case packer immediately downstream, there’s no line of sight for a Systech camera to verify the 12 unique 2D codes on the labels because each of those codes is on the side of a randomly oriented bottle. If the 12 unique 2D codes on the labels can’t be inspected, there’s no way that the Systech system can generate a unique code that associates those 12 label codes with a unique case code in a parent-child relationship.

This is where the helper code comes in. Once it’s printed by the Videojet printer, bottles go through a 360-degree Systech vision inspection system that takes multiple images to find the

unique 2D code on the label and associates it with the 2D code on the top of the cap. So now when the bottles move into the Arpac case packer, the helper codes on the caps are easily inspected from above and Systech software is able to assign a unique case code. It sends this code to a Markem Imaje print-and-apply thermal-transfer labeler that applies a printed corner-wrap label to each case so the case can be scanned from either of two sides. At that point the helper code ceases to have a function.

The side-load case packer picks corrugated case blanks from a magazine and erects them. It also collates bottles into groups of 12 and pushes these in a side-load manner into the erected cases so that a Systech camera system can inspect, verify, and aggregate groups of bottles into cases. All that remains is folding of the flaps and application of hot melt by a Nordson unit, and with that the filled case is discharged. Also vitally important is that a parent-child relationship has been established between each case and the 12 bottles inside.

See Part I of this story, "Serialization via P-S Label."