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Real-time bar coding puts the cap on waste

May 27, 2002

2 Min Read
Real-time bar coding puts the cap on waste


Mattec ProTrack software helps Alliance Plastics keep track of every part it ships. The software signals the bar code printer to print labels when the box is filled with the proper number and weight of parts.

Mislabeled part boxes are a costly nightmare for any molder. Imagine what it means for a molder running a billion custom and proprietary protective caps and plugs each year for about 8000 customers worldwide. Alliance Plastics Inc. (Erie, PA) does just that. It has error-proofed labeling by interfacing Mattec's ProTrack software with weigh scales and bar coding printers in its manufacturing cells. Payback reportedly was achieved in nine months.

Molded parts are ejected onto a conveyor under the watchful shot-counting eye of the Mattec machine interface unit, and then transferred to a box resting on a press-side scale. When the proper number of parts and box weights is achieved, the Mattec ProTrack software signals the bar coding systems to print out the label and alerts the operator. All the operator has to do is seal the box and attach the label. One operator can handle 10 presses or more.

The Mattec software provides detailed traceablility data on each label. It produces labels with data files specified by Alliance, indentifying the part numbers, operator, process technician, QC inspector, and the date, time, and shift of production. Part quality and material lot traceability are also provided, as are key molding parameters monitored every cycle, all traced back by unique serial numbers on the labels.

In business since 1967, Alliance Plastics owns and operates two facilities in Erie and oversees the activities of six other factories in North and South America. It makes its own unit-frame molds, and has about 700 active bases and at least 2000 active tools. It runs nylon, PP, and mostly PE on 50 midsize presses from Nissei and Van Dorn Demag, all 24/7. Alliance joined the Bunzl Plastics Group, headquartered in the U.K., in 1987. For the past five years, lean-thinking Alliance has used Mattec's ProHelp production and process monitoring system to error-proof other elements of its operations.


Ron Mensing, manufacturing manager at Alliance, says the bar coding system has become a major factor in controlling the quality and efficiency of production in the company's lean environment.

Contact information

Alliance Plastics Inc.
Erie, PA
Don Ellison
(814) 899-7671

Mattec Corp.
Loveland, OH
(800) 966-1301

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