OAL (connected.oalgroup.com) has launched the world’s first artificial intelligence-based vision system, APRIL Eye, for date code verification. The system removes the operator from the date code verification process, achieving full automation to reduce the risk of product recalls and emergency product withdrawals caused by human error on packaging lines. Reaching speeds of over 300 packs per minute, APRIL Eye can make a significant improvement to processes, safety, quality and efficiency and deliver cost savings to food and beverage manufacturers on their packaging lines, according to the company.
By combining machine learning and artificial intelligence, APRIL Eye transforms the traditional date code verification process, which relies on operators to check the date code is printed correctly. APRIL Eye removes the human error inherent in these boring, repetitive tasks. By taking photos of each date code, the system can read them back using scanners to ensure they match the programmed date code for that product run, fully automating the verification process and allowing food and beverage manufacturers to achieve unmanned operations and full traceability. The production line comes to a complete stop if a date code doesn’t match, ensuring that no incorrect labels can be released into the supply chain.
Traditional vision systems have relied on optical character recognition, designed to read specific characters. Due to the prevalence of inkjet printers in the food industry, which have a higher degree of variability, these vision systems have not been widely implemented. So OAL developed APRIL Eye, which uses basic cameras backed up with an artificial brain to deliver a vision system that can deal with variations such as lighting, positioning, print quality and placement inherent in a food or beverage plant and read anything that is also legible to the naked eye. In this way, APRIL Eye eliminates errors, offers full traceability and protects consumers and the brand while at the same time reducing labor costs and waste. The system also is said to improve over time, further safeguarding manufacturers.