Pan-Tracking - MJ Engineering

MJ Engineering does a lot of work for numerous companies. We work on everything from coal mines to amusement park rides to robotic systems. This particular case was designing a highly sophisticated system that could scan and upload data about pan usage in a bakery.

~ J.Wand

Problem:

A large pan manufacturing company approached MJ Engineering with a technical issue. They had baking pans that were coming back to them with claims made that the pans weren’t meeting the warranty that the company stated. The company, confident in their product, asked how the pan cycles were being managed. Upon hearing how the current process worked they reached out to us and asked if we could help them. The goal was to create a system to help with the pan life cycle tracking. 

 Solution:

To solve this problem, the Pan Tracking System was born. The Pan Tracking System reads a laser-etched code on the bottom of each pan and keeps a log of it. The log is eventually uploaded to an FTP site where it is compiled and both the pan manufacturer and bakery can see all of the tracking data. The main goal of this System was to track pan usage and lifespans. 

How does this work? The pan comes into the Pan Tracker and the system has a camera mounted on it to read the barcode. Each time a pan passes by the Pan Tracker system, a sensor is triggered to activate the scanners to read the code on the pan.  Every pan code is logged as it passes by the Pan Tracking system. After the data is collected for two hours the log file can be uploaded to an ftp site where it is compiled onto a website where the information can be examined to determine the usage. 

Result:

The result was that the company determined that in fact the pans were meeting the warranty. Now they actually have the data to prove it though. The company is able to track the amount of usage of 1 pan and compare it to another pan in the same set to make sure usage numbers are balanced appropriately. This makes tracking the pans exponentially easier and more efficient. The system is easy to run and can be installed by a knowledgeable in-house maintenance crew with the easy to follow instructions provided.

Challenges:

There were a few challenges to work around in this project. The biggest problem encountered in this process was actually getting the codes onto the pans. This was because of a combination of a few things. The original plan was to use adhesive stickers with a barcode to stick onto the pans. However, the stickers fell off after high numbers of heat cycles. Which led us to have to try something new.  The result was to laser etch the code onto the actual pan. This prevents the code from falling off.

What Does This Mean to You?

Before you settle for the quick fix that solves the initial issue but not the root cause of the problem, step back, and analyze the underlying issues, and call us at MJ Engineering (614-891-6111). We specialize in developing the custom solution that will help your business become more efficient, profitable and sustainable.