Todd Baggett, chief executive officer of RedLine Solutions, Santa Clara, Calif., says the company is ready for the resurgence of interest in the Produce Traceability Initiative with recent software updates.

The company added support for multiple print heads and labels to its Vision system. Before, users could only use one.

“We’ve had Vision for a long time, so we just incorporated the ability to have all of that managed from within the packing application itself,” Baggett said.

The information is downloaded into a local computer, and there are specific box and label styles that can be employed automatically instead of manually.

The upgrade went live earlier this spring, Baggett said.

“We are working on things to simplify our customers’ lives,” he said. “We are continuously working to improve our systems.

For those customers that do larger volumes of product on conveyor belts, the automatic labeling technology can save a lot of time and effort.

“If you are trying to apply labels to up to 50 million cartons manually, the accuracy will be dependent of how attentive the labor is,” Baggett said.

For example, avocado packers might work with multiple sizes and at least two brand labels, with several different grades.

All of that product gets packed on individual spurs off the main line that feed into the pallet line, which can be complicated for manual labor to keep track of, Baggett said.

“Vision comes into play there because all those different versions of the same commodity are on the same line and Vision uses characteristics of each box to determine what product it is and apply the correct label within a second,” he said.

Examples of characteristics that can be used are box color, graphics or logos, for instance.

“This is really big from a productivity standpoint,” Baggett said.

In addition, to take it beyond this, RedLine also uses bar code scanning to scan the carton and find the lot number as the pallet is built, so users can scan it and see exactly how many cartons of each lot are on any given load.

This came about from users’ concerns over the hybrid pallet tag.

“Using the system and a bar code scanner, if you have an order for strawberries but then add blueberries to the pallet, you can still know what came on and off the pallet,” Baggett said.

Baggett is excited about the increased interest in PTI products right now.

“It’s an exciting time for RedLine,” he said.

He said he has seen a lot of interest in the previous year in their cooler-based product.

“We’ve had a lot of people investing in our cooler product because they saw it as a precursor to PTI compliance. They started with the cooler process and are now ready to move on with other levels,” he said.