Agriculture

Agriculture

With 20 years experience in “field to fork” systems, we understand the challenges in both field pack and plant packing processes. Labeling difficult surfaces is like “putting a label on a hairbrush.”  We’re an industry leader in produce traceability, payroll tracking systems and supply chain logistics solutions.

We have created a patent pending process, that reduces adhesive ooze and ensures less printer jamming and downtime. For more information click here.

RFID BIN INVENTORY CONTROL AND TRACKING

Bulk bins, both wooden and plastic, have historically been provided by a packing plant processing a grower’s crop in order to transport product to the packing plant. Commonly these bins are provided to growers with little or no accountability. It is not uncommon that during the course of a harvest, excess bins supplied to a grower end up being left in the field/orchard or “loaned” to a nearby grower. This bin “shrinkage” for the packing plant is expensive; the bins can cost $80+ each depending upon type.
Pointil Systems has developed an RFID inventory label and tag for such bins. They allow a packing plant to assign bins to growers much like people check out books at a library. These labels and tags are very durable and can last multiple seasons, depending upon care. These labels have withstood 200 mile transits, cleaning/cooling processes, CA room storage for 1 year, water dunks, and outdoor storage.

BRANDING RPCs WITH DISPLAY READY LABELS (DRLs) OR DISPLAY READY TAGS (DRTs)

Many grocers display produce on the shopping floor in the bulk cartons in which they receive the produce. Some of these cartons have graphics on them. Many do not have graphics. Reusable plastic containers (RPCs), which are rotated through the supply chain, are generic and thus do not have graphics. This limits branding or produce information from being displayed to the shopper. Display Ready Labels (DRLs) and Display Ready Tags (DRTs) provide ways to add this information to RPCs.
Our unique DRL designs adhere to the walls of the container without exposing adhesive to the produce. This adhesive has been successfully tested by the leading RPC manufacturers to insure that it removes cleanly without leaving any residue, an issue that may contribute to bacterial growth.
DRTs can be inserted into RPCs prior to shipping and do not stick to the RPC.
Both DRLs and DRTs can optionally be printed with a special bar code that shoppers can scan enabling them to download an Instant Redeemable Coupon on their smart phone.

WOOD CRATE LABELS

Wooden crates, used to pack corn and other produce, are saturated in water to help keep contents from drying out. That’s good news for the corn and challenging news for the label that gets applied to the crate. Obviously a special highly aggressive adhesive that sticks to water (think hydroplaning) and/or wood is necessary. Unfortunately aggressive adhesives tend to ooze out. Such oozing causes problems if the labels are printed in thermal transfer printers. Pointil has a specially designed label for wooden crates that performs perfectly in thermal transfer printers without adhesive ooze and sticks to saturated wooden crates! Contact us for solutions that work!

PACKER BAR CODE TAGS AND LABELS

Used in the packing plant, packer labels provide a means of measuring packer productivity, pack quality by packer, and measure pay for those paid on the basis of units packed. Furthermore, packer bar code labels allow packing plants to individually identify packed units on a commingled conveyor line for weigh scale inspection and time/date imaging onto carton sides.

LABELING WAX SIDED AND/OR UV COATED CARTONS

Labeling wax sided cartons or UV coated cartons is challenging because the wax and the UV coating is slick. It is a little like removing a label from the backing paper and trying to put it back on the backing paper but now expecting it to permanently stick! Other conditions add to the challenge. If the cartons are labeled in the field and driven on a flat bed truck back to the shed they are exposed to high wind shear on the highway. If the cartons go through a hydro cooler process the cartons, the label, and the adhesive get wet. Some adhesives will not stand up to prolonged wetness. If the cartons are exposed to prolonged high humidity in storage there might be a tendency to curl up. Put all this together on a slick surface and you have a challenge.
The obvious choice is a label with a really aggressive adhesive, but you may need to rethink that choice. If the adhesive is too aggressive, it might ooze, causing problems in your printer. Sound complicated? Contact us, we have a solution that has worked for 20 years in field and shed pack applications

FLOOR LABELS

Floor labels also have value at dock doors. Shipping produce is a fast, high volume activity. With multiple dock doors, multiple trucks, and multiple pallets staged for shipment typically in congested areas, if a pallet is loaded on the wrong truck, consider it lost cost. Obviously fresh produce cannot be returned. In order to prevent this, floor labels can be placed on the floor in front of each dock door. As a pallet is loaded onto the truck, the pallet bar code label is scanned by the forklift operator. As the forklift is driven onto the truck, the operator scans the dock door floor label as he drives by, confirming that the shipment is placed in the correct truck.

CA ROOM FLOOR LABELS
Controlled Atmosphere (CA) rooms present unique challenges for tracking inventory because they frequently don’t have racks with location numbers on them to identify locations. Pallets and/or bins are stacked on the floor and stacked upon one another. In such situations, identifying floor locations is the only way to identify an inventory area.

These areas can be painted or taped off to represent special areas for pallets. However, in order to utilize automated tracking and inventory and to meet PTI requirements, each floor area used for storage should be uniquely identified. Typically they are numbered and bar coded, minimal graphics (unless color coded for functional purposes), antiskid—scan through over laminate, only large enough to get a readable number and bar code, durable, and permanent.

It sounds simple. Print a label and place it on the floor. What makes it difficult is the adhesion to a rough and frequently wet cement floor and more importantly the abuse from constant traffic upon the label. Fork lift and pallet jacks will be moving forward and backward, stopping and starting, as well as turning on top of the label. The label must remain in place, be resistant to scuffing so the bar code is scannable, as well as resistant to industrial strength cleaning solutions. For this, special materials are required.

While these materials have been tested thoroughly, we cannot anticipate all of the conditions in which they will be used as each situation is always a little different. As a result, testing is recommended. It is strongly recommended that each label location is completely cleaned and let THOROUGHLY dry. Typically cleaning agents strong enough to clean the floor are also strong enough to eat away the label adhesive, if the label is applied to the floor before the cleaning agent has completely dried.

DOCK DOOR BAR CODE TAGS
Optionally, dock door tags may be placed on the wall adjacent to the dock door. One of the key issues is allowing the forklift operator to scan the dock door label from a distance while loading the pallet onto the truck. In this way they do not have to stop the forklift and walk over to the bar code door bar code tag to scan it. Conversely, if you make the bar code too big, you can’t scan it if you are standing next to it. What to do? Pointil has developed a BIFOCAL 2D bar code. Much like bifocal glasses, this bar code can scan at different distances to accommodate different types of scanners simultaneously. This allows you to scan from short range with a standard scanner or all the way up to the maximum distance scannable by your long range scanner with the same bar code.

RFID COMPLIANCE LABELS

A number of retailers require RFID labels on cartons, RPCs, and pallets in order to logistically track product through the supply chain. Labeling on RPCs is particularly challenging especially if applied in the field. It’s been described as “applying a label to a hair brush.” These labels must apply easily, not adhering the gloves worn by field workers, but adhere to an RPC firmly in order to withstand the air turbulence during highway transit to the plant on a flatbed truck, neutralize the static created by the rubbing of RPC to RPC during shifting in transit, hold up to the impact of RPC to RPC contact and pallet to pallet contact during transit and unloading, remain dry during the ice/water cooling process and the 100% humidity, 34F warehouse environment. These RFID labels must maintain high read rates through the supply chain. Once the RPC is used and returned to the RPC center, the label must quickly and cleanly release from the RPC during the sterilization process leaving no adhesive residue which might result in a source for bacterial growth.

More than seven years ago, Pointil Systems, in conjunction with one of the world’s largest growers, developed and field implemented such an RFID label that meets these challenges.

©Pointil Systems 2012 12807 Airport Way Portland, OR 97230 503.257.5097