Lasers help track and trace quality


The production process can often be seen as a simple and unimportant means to an end – the value path that takes the raw material and converts it into one of our ultra-modern and technically advanced quality products.

Whilst much control in years gone by has been left in the hands of people alone, some very sophisticated technology exists to track and trace products during the production phase. Monitoring and managing the production process using advanced technological systems now allows RPC Astrapak to be acutely aware of and manage any areas during production. These areas are then identified as an ongoing area of improvement.

This careful monitoring not only provides RPC Astrapak with internal controls and improvements mechanisms, but helps the company focus on meeting and exceeding customers’ needs as well. Customer Focus is a vital element of any business and something that RPC Astrapak drives as one of our most important Core Values. We continuously assess and revise the way in which we deliver our services, so as to improve the quality of our products. An excellent example of this is our Pak 2000 site in Westmead, KwaZulu-Natal, which has recently invested in a new and refined method of traceability, which will optimise accuracy on the production line.

With the introduction of a state-of-the-art laser coding software and camera system, we are able to be more specific in tracing back to the root cause analysis in the event of a defective product. In this way we can identify exactly what occurred at a very specific point in time. The process also ensures we maintain higher levels of quality consistently.

RPC Astrapak Moulding Executive, Stephan Kappelsberger, explains: “From a Pak 2000 perspective, these tools will give our team more confidence in their product quality and it will drive us to take greater pride in our work.”

The upgrade process goes further than just the production line. “In addition to tracing back to the date of an anomaly in the process, we are now in a position to track the specific time, shift, exact machine, technician and/or packer that was active in the production and packing of the product in question,” adds Stephan.

Environmental factors could also be at play, and Quality Control can correlate whether the environment is impacting certain concerns during the manufacturing process, providing a scientific and mathematical approach as to how problems are solved and resolved.

RPC Astrapak’s senior executives have noted the importance of this software and therefore approved the investment and implementation of the laser coding, as it falls in line with the company’s Core Values and ultimately helps the company to grow towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced business. As Stephan puts it, “we are leading the ‘pak’.”

“We look forward to the results that the new laser coding will bring with regards to tighter process controls, and importantly an integration of our customers throughout the manufacturing process and a larger expansion on full traceability throughout the supply chain,” he concluded.

Mylene Paynter