Laetus is a world-leading provider of powerful solutions for Vision Inspection as well as Track and Trace. More than 18,000 installed systems globally ensure there are no fraud products on the market. Their systems also enable the optimization of packaging processes for more than 3,500 customers. Their hardware and software are used in industries such as pharmaceutical, medical technology, cosmetics, food, and FMCG. They are a supplier of innovative and value-adding quality and security inspection systems and complete track & trace solutions.
Laetus was mainly focusing on the pharmaceutical industry and providing track and trace solutions for them.
Track and trace is a process of following each product's path from factory to the end customer. This is a system that ensures that each product that leaves the factory gets followed through the whole transporting process and is delivered to the sellers.
This is ensured in a way that every product gets a specific barcode or QR code. With this code, manufacturers can determine exactly in which box and where in the warehouse a specific product is placed. Also, they can track where each product from a certain series is sold and sent to. This enables manufacturers to easily withdraw certain product series from the market when needed.
This system also enables users to check where the specific product was manufactured and by whom. This is extremely important because selling a faux pharmaceutical product can cause a lot of difficulties for the company and can be extremely dangerous for users.
Due to emerging needs for the products to be tracked and traced in the food industry, Laetus wanted to expand its solutions to satisfy this industry’s needs. In terms of the number of products that are being produced daily, the food industry is much more demanding than the pharmaceutical industry. Because of that, Laetus needed a different solution to be able to implement a track and trace system in food factories.
The food industry is far more challenging regarding the Track and Trace process due to multiple reasons:
The way Laetus could respond to these new industry needs was to make a new solution for Track and Trace. This new solution had to be much faster and less prone to errors.
Because of the food industry's package diversity, they needed a new system that could support two or more printers and scanners in the same place and at the same time. This is because many food packages are circular or undefined shapes. Since production lines in food factories are much faster, printing and scanning must be done in less than a second for each product. To support this, the new system needs to have multiple printers and scanners working on one product at a time.
To work on this technology, Laetus needed developers and that is how we started our collaboration in 2013.
The new track and trace system had to be spotless. When we say spotless, we mean that only one product could be discarded out of every 10.000.
Since Track and Trace has multiple levels of communication - inside and outside the factory, different systems needed to be installed for the different levels. Because of this, we had a couple of projects we worked on with Laetus at the same time.
Track and trace system consists of a few different windows service applications which are running on different machines. These applications are doing the whole process of Track and Trace.
Factory system has multiple levels:
Our developers worked on a new version of the system used on Levels 1 and 2, the LNT (Laetus New Technology). This technology could support the needs of the food industry production at a much faster pace and far more accurately than the previous one.
The second version of this system is named UP (Unified Platform) and is used parallelly with the LNT, depending on the needs of specific devices on the factory lines.
EC (external communicator) - connects Level 4 to Level 3.
EC serves as a translator of messages from Level 4 to lower levels.
Other factory departments have one interface via which they communicate and give production orders to the lower levels in the factory system.
Production lines are closed systems that are very secure on purpose because any mistake or stoppage of the production line is very expensive. Because of this, communication with the production line is very complicated.
The communication between the lower levels and level 4 goes both ways. Level 4 gives orders via External Communicator for a certain number of products to be produced. These orders are being translated to Plant (Level 3) and then distributed to certain production lines and devices.
When the production order has been fulfilled, Levels 1 and 2 send the message to the Plant, from which the External Communicator sends the message back to Level 4.
In the factory system, our developers are responsible for:
After the systems were installed, two stages of testing were performed:
The first one was the FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) during which the hardware and software would be treated as if they were in the environment they were built for - the factory. All of the components would be checked if they work properly and can perform certain actions that are required.
During the second stage, the SAT (Site Acceptance Test) the previous process (FAT) would be repeated, but this time in the factory.
Devices supported by the system
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