Based in Scotland, Dawnfresh is one of the U.K.’s largest producers of fish and seafood and are a company that strives to be the very best. They produce for foodservice and retail, both in the U.K. and around the world, including Marks & Spencer.

Dawnfresh has invested in a single automated system from OAL ( to control their packaging lines and integrate existing packaging devices ensuring that the correct packaging and labelling is applied before products leave their factory.

Phil Cassidy, technical director, explains why Dawnfresh chose OAL’s Label and Date Code Verification System, “Dawnfresh chose OAL as our supplier because their system achieved our specification and more. They really understood the challenges we faced improving visibility on the packaging line and delivered a fantastic solution.”

In 2010, Dawnfresh installed an autocoding system (from another U.K. supplier) but the system wasn’t fit for purpose because of inadequate scanning and training. The old autocoding system was putting Dawnfresh at risk from product recalls and withdrawals that not only could jeopardise their brand reputation and customer relationships but have high fines associated with them.

The failed system was also creating significant downtime because of unnecessary interruptions and stoppages to production.

“Working with the retailers, we’re seeing tougher requirements for packaging line control as the cost of failure increases. This is driving the replacement of existing autocoding systems as they fail to meet the requirements typically because of a lack of support and training and or incorrect use of technologies," says Wayne Johnson, head of OAL Connected.

The OAL system now installed at Dawnfresh works by scanning a 2D barcode printed on every product to check and verify the date code and packaging is correct. If a mismatch error occurs, the line stops, and you investigate the problem. Since the installation, Dawnfresh has had zero product recalls relating to label and date code errors.

A shorter return on investment time was achieved by the use of OAL’s integrated factory performance reporting module. This records accurate real-time production data for the site to identify areas for improvement as part of a continuous improvement strategy. When a line stop occurs, operators must record a reason code on the touchscreen terminal. The recorded data is both highly accurate and can be used in real-time so engineers can act as potential slow downs occur and help Dawnfresh identify areas for improvement.

By investing in automation, Dawnfresh has secured compliance with retailer codes of practice for label and date code verification while producing actionable data to improve production performance continually.