FireTag Improves Branding Technology, PTI Compliance
FireTag's upgrades provide more efficient case-level traceability at all levels of the produce supply chain.
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed May 23, 2012

FireTag, a palletized laser marking system, announced improvements to its machine enabling greater marking efficiency of variable data on corrugated cases. FireTag is an integrated solution, across all industries, where case-level traceability is needed. It was originally designed as an alternative to peel and apply labels for produce growers and shippers becoming compliant with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI).

The PTI is an industry-led effort to implement and enhance traceability across all levels of the produce supply chain. PTI requires all cases be labeled with human readable and GS128 barcode elements. Each case marking must contain the product description and a lot code that will allow traceability throughout the supply chain. FireTag is fully PTI compliant with the ability to mark any programmed information from its computer system onto the palletized cases.

The FireTag system is completely automated once product is placed on the machine. It identifies the pallet tag and assimilates the information needed to mark the case – such as product type, pack size, lot, case configuration. It is then relayed to the laser which “brands” the information, using a camera- guided laser, onto each case. FireTag is able to identify varying box configurations and switch from product to product at the pallet level.

“Because of the modular design, FireTag is easily adaptable to any situation where palletized marking is sought,” said Bob Pitzer, Senior Engineer for FireTag. “It can be configured to complement existing packaging lines or integrated into the plans of new operations.”

Several software improvements were made to FireTag’s control system. The new dedicated machine controller allows simultaneous coordinated motion between multiple components. In addition, FireTag was originally built with a 30-Watt MASCA laser, but now offers a new advanced 80-Watt laser option specially designed for the system. The improved machine can be configured to mark any commonly used 40” x 48” truck pallet and includes an integrated pallet tag reader to identify pallet information before it enters the process area to begin marking immediately– decreasing the cycle time and marking speed of each box to under one second.

“We are very excited about the improvements made to our system and look forward to introducing FireTag to other industries where the needs of marking and tracking palletized product can be met,” said Rob Ogilbee, CFO of FireTag.

Fully operational and easy to transport, FireTag is currently being utilized by Wish Farms, a produce grower and shipper in Florida, to mark cases of bell pepper with PTI compliant labels.

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