Company is growing with the marking and authentication industry. New developments include barcodes that can be identified from any iOS or Android smartphone, and new technology to be introduced that will provide a variety of security solutions for preventing counterfeiting, brand protection, fraud and diversion – copper cable theft could be thwarted.
“Manufacturing has become more global, government regulations and reporting requirements have increased, and consumers are more cost and quality conscious than ever. These are some of the reasons why traceability throughout manufacturing processes has become so important, and why so many manufacturers have established formal traceability programmes,” explains Kyle Parker of Traceability Solutions.
“Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and barcode technologies are two tools that manufacturers can leverage to establish an effective traceability programme. That’s because they provide direct visibility into the manufacturing process while streamlining data collection and communication. There are tools now available that are having a great impact in terms of establishing effective traceability programmes. This includes a variety of security solutions for preventing counterfeiting, brand protection, fraud and diversion, which will make incidences of copper cable theft, for example, very difficult in the future. Marking the copper cables makes the product traceable, and together with the Second-Hand Goods Act which came into effect, should put a check on copper cable theft. The technology is already in place to thwart theft whereby a trader will be accountable for possession of items, products, components, you name it, because with the aid of a simple App on your smartphone you can trace the source, assuming that the security marking has been incorporated from the beginning,” continued Parker.
“We have just signed an agency agreement with a leading brand protection and security provider. They have launched a new mobile application for product and document authentication that reads the patented covert data layer embedded in standard 2D barcodes from any iOS or Android smartphone. The solution can also be used in conjunction with track and trace to enable tracking through production and into post-production. The new mobile application was developed to become an integral part of a government agency or brand owner’s authentication or brand protection strategy,” explained Parker.
Automated identification solutions for the metal and steel industries, including service centers, are provided for products such as flat steel, long products, sheet, plate, wire, tube, bar and others
“Internationally stringent laws are being implemented to hold companies and individuals accountable for their products that they manufacture, whether it is in the food industry or in the automotive industry. The shift in the industry is therefore moving away from just marking a component but rather towards traceability from cradle to grave.”
“By this I mean that a product is now being marked at the earliest stage of manufacturing and with computerisation it can be traced throughout its life cycle. This enables a company to have real time information on the component with automatic identification and permanent traceability.”
“Key benefits that can be realised include increased worker productivity, streamlined data collection including production details and flow integrity, improved data accuracy, improved product quality and compliance with traceability regulations, cost-effectively. And of course, accountability at the different stages of the product life cycle.”
“Tracking individual components can be a costly proposition when standard product labeling techniques fail to measure up over time. Direct Part Marking (DPM) provides a permanent marking solution that ensures readability throughout the life of your products, even when subjected to harsh environments during the manufacturing process.”
“Over recent years the actual marking of a product has not changed much. What has made significant strides though are the readers enabling a company to extract all the extra data.”
“We have come a long way from the hand stamping system that was available when I first entered the industry nearly 25 years ago. The ability to mark product, components and workpieces is an important service that many job shops and product manufacturers must offer their customers. Marking allows parts to be identified and traced to their origin. Laser marking systems that mark directly onto component or product have been especially popular because the computer controlled laser is extremely fast and accurate.”
“However, although laser marking has its place in the chain, a company does not necessarily need to go that route. At this stage, there will always be the familiar gummed paper label (with black bars on a white background) but these simply can not withstand the coolant spray, cleaning solutions, heat treating and other harsh processes that metal parts routinely undergo. Depending on the individual circumstance inkjet, hot-stamping, laser and thermal transfer printers and laser markable label systems, can be perfectly suitable.”
“Another new exciting agency agreement we have just signed is with KBA-Metronic. The company develops, manufactures and distributes comprehensive coding and marking systems for a broad audience.”
“KBA-Metronic marking and coding devices are used anywhere in the industries where products and packaging are printed, labelled or marked in some form or another. Throughout the world, renowned companies in the automotive, beverage and food-processing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries are working with laser, inkjet, hot-stamping or thermal transfer devices made by the company in Veitshöchheim, Germany.”
Traceability Solutions – “Coding technology is our passion”
“Six years ago when I launched the company I did not envisage the transformation in the marking industry and the rapid growth of the company. From a single person company we have grown to a compliment of 30. We purchased our own 1 200 m² building in Deco Park, North Riding, Gauteng and have now just added another 700 m² of office, manufacturing, technical support and stores space to it,” said Parker proudly.
“Additionally, we opened up a branch in Cape Town last year, as well as one in the Eastern Cape in April this year. Shortly, our KwaZulu Natal branch will open and next year we plan to open up a branch in Kenya so that we can service the rest of the African market, where we have been very successful, more efficiently.”
“We don’t regard ourselves as a marking equipment sales organisation. Rather we are solution providers for our clients and we become involved from ‘cradle to grave’, so to speak. An example of this is where we have developed a system for Eskom whereby we have provided the software and hardware, which includes a tool crib, for asset management in their training departments. Each individual has to use the system to release or return the tooling they use on a daily basis. Through the software and coding the system is monitored, tools are traceable and each individual is responsible for his tools and thus becomes accountable. To overcome any fraud issues there is a biometric function that has been built in. The cost savings for Eskom are enormous. We are busy rolling this out throughout Eskom.”
A component that has been marked
“Another example is one where we are working on implementing a system where traffic law enforcement officers become fully accountable for their daily actions. With the availability and advancement of smartphones, real-time monitoring can easily be implemented.”
“Going forward, we are going to develop our Asset Management App further and we are busy developing another App that will allow clients to develop their own Solution Builder marking and coding system, and another App that will allow clients to check and verify that they are using the right settings for their marking application.”
“We have also completed the weapons track and trace system with the UN Mission in South Sudan. These systems will assist the United Nations with the weapons census, which needs to be done in the war torn country.”
“On the manufacturing side we will soon be able to offer a metal photo service which means a high resolution image can be reproduced on metal. This includes graphics, pictures, and text imaged onto photosensitive anodised aluminium. The result is a sharp, durable image that is weather, UV, and abrasion resistant. Anything that can be printed on paper can be made a lasting image on metal. The image is sealed in the anodic layer of the aluminium plate and is resistant to heat, UV rays, vandalism, as well as most chemicals and solvents.”
“The opportunities abound in this area, whether it for your own personal memory or used in a creative marketing/advertising display or in industrial use.”
“Because our passion is coding technology and we regard ourselves as identification and traceability experts, our business has evolved into being able to supply equipment and solutions in pinstamp/dot peen marking, flatbed lasers, manual and press marking, heavy duty industrial marking, wire marking, label printers and accessories, laser consumables, inkjet marking, scanners, galvo laser systems, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), industrial tags and labels and primary/secondary metals solutions.”
“The industries that we have experience in, and currently deal with clients involved in include arms and ammunition, automotive, aviation, awards and recognition, carpentry, construction, crafts and home décor, custom and automation, engineering, farming, food and beverage, fast moving consumer goods, promotion and gifts, heavy/primary metals, industrial equipment and general tools, jewellery, leather and leather products, livestock, medical, military and defence, mining, pharmaceuticals, plastics and packaging as well as government, state owned enterprises and public entities such as municipalities or town councils.”
“This has resulted in us developing six individual websites to cover the various aspects. These include Engineering Marking Solutions, Industrial Marking Solutions, Laser.Inkjet coding, Track.Trace, RFID, Rent-A-Marker and Mr Marking.”
“On the horizon there are more innovative solutions that we are working on. We are also working on some big government projects around vehicle documents and authentication.”
For further details contact Kyle Parker of Traceability Solutions on TEL: 011 704 4744 or visit www.tracesol.co.za