How to optimise the performance of your traceability tag

It could save you money

Traceability tags or loop lock tags are used across many industry sectors to trace raw ingredients, parts and finished product through a production process or, as in the case of a delivery tag,  to a final destination.

The humble traceability tag may not receive much attention as part of your overall manufacturing or delivery process but, a well-designed loop lock tag can improve your processes and even save you money. On the contrary, a poorly designed loop lock tag can be the cause of line stoppages, misdirected goods or costly product recalls.

So how do you optimise your tag design so that it performs properly?

Here’s how to optimise the size of your traceability tag:

Calculating the exact size, scale and proportion of your loop lock tag may not seem particularly important but, in the same way as poorly fitting shoes are uncomfortable to wear, so a badly designed tag does a poor job!

A poorly sized tag could cost you more, fall off during your operational process or not display the traceability information properly.

Here’s how to calculate your optimum tag size:

First, have a look at the image at the top of this article, then:

Determine your writable area – how much text will be displayed and at what point size to make it readable?

Determine the tag loophole size (W) – ‘W’ must be greater than the width of the tag, ‘Z’, for ease of use

Determine the tag loophole margin (V) – This should be a minimum of 10mm to ensure that the tag doesn’t tear into the loop

Determine the loop circumference needed to fit your tray/carcase (X) – Take the diameter of your tray handle, rack or carcase and multiply by Pi (3.14)

Need help with the calculations? 

Consider these key factors when choosing a tag material:

Traceability tag use and lifespan –  first, consider the purpose of your tag. Is it a carcase tag, an allergen identification tag, a delivery tag or something else?   How long will the tag need to be attached to a carcase or container? The longer the required life, the more durable the loop lock tag needs to be.

What will your tag be attached to? – clearly, a lamb carcase and a pig carcase are different sizes so your loop lock tag needs to be a perfect fit for the animal. Containers, trays, dolavs, pallets, oven shelves, all come in different shapes and sizes too so that your tags need to accommodate the container to work well.

Operational environment – what conditions will your loop lock tag need to withstand? Damp and cold storage like an abattoir or oven temperatures like a food factory? There are many different tag materials available to withstand almost any operational environment – it’s just a question of selecting the right one for the job.

The potential risk of contamination – if your trace tag is to be used in a high care food environment it may need to be made from a metal detectable material to avoid potential contamination of the tag material.

There are many factors to consider to design the perfect tag; if you would like help to calculate the optimum loop lock or traceability tag size and material then please get in touch.