Importance of quality trained technicians to run your packaging equipment.

How Proper Operator Training and Maintenance Improve OEE

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Part 3 of 4 Part Blog

by Dion Volk

Now that we understand what OEE is and the contributing factors to its loss; how does operator training and maintenance really improve your numbers?  Again, we look to the equation,   OEE = Availability x Productivity x Quality, then break it down from there.

AVAILABILITY, A correctly trained maintenance team will be able to conduct repairs and perform preventative maintenance in a timely and efficient manner.  As packaging equipment machines speeds increase the complexity of the technology required to control these machines increases as well.  Twenty years ago a typical packaging machine consisted of a couple motors, a small microcontroller, maybe a touch screen, and some other miscellaneous hardware.  Today’s machines have multiple servo motors, advanced PLCs, and complex safety circuits, so training becomes more and more critical when troubleshooting.  An untrained or poorly trained maintenance team will struggle to make repairs, in some cases further damaging the machine.  With the correct training you can prevent a costly emergency repair call from an outside service provider.  When a machine operator has received the proper training he or she will run the machine as designed avoiding practices that are hard on the equipment, eventually causing downtime.

PRODUCTIVITY, Correctly trained operators have an increased confidence in their ability to operate packaging equipment machines smoothly, this contributes to a more positive attitude.  Without training operators struggle, get frustrated, waste film and product, damage equipment, causing a lower output than trained operators.  Trained operators make operating a machine look easy, they are not tied to the machine, allowing them to perform other tasks as the machine runs.

QUALITY, Trained maintenance staff and operators know exactly where to look on a machine when they discover a quality issue with a package.   The result of the confidence and positive attitude that training provides is shown in the pride a skilled operator takes producing the best package possible.

Let FASTechnology’s packaging experts help you discover what your machines are truly capable of producing.  Our +30 years of packaging knowledge will increase your output, bolster your quality, and give your staff confidence that they can handle any issue on their own.

In part four of this Blog we discuss “The importance of knowing what your OEE is.”

Here is a Link to Part One “What is OEE and How Can It Be measured?”

Unique Scannable QR Codes are easy to add to existing production set up

FASTechnology Group Receives U.S. Patent


We are pleased to announce that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded our company patent, (No. US 2015-0102100 A1), for our database systems and methods for consumer packaged goods.

Our patent covers a system for handling product packages for use with a QR code-scanning device and includes a package-handling device and a printer that prints unique, individual, scannable QR codes on each package. This system also includes a database that stores data records of package parameters, linked to one, non-sequential URL; an enabler configured to link to the printer to generate the individual QR codes; a loader configured to link to the enabler and the portals to the database for adding package parameters and accessing package information.

 “Receiving the PACKprint patent is an important milestone for our company and the industry,” says Joe Hattrup, President and CEO of FASTechnology Group. “With PACKprint, the drive for personalized customer engagement is now affordable and accessible to all companies, regardless of size or location.”

The variable PACKprint code on your package lets you share information like product trace ability and recalls, coupons, contests and campaigns with your customers.  This is an added value to our packaging machinery and integration expertise.

Contact Ryan McCord directly at 618.692.9797 ext. 427 or by email to learn how easy and affordable it is to bring personalized customer engagement to your organization.

















The New Power And Incredible Value Of Variable QR’s OnPackage

Despite the somewhat sad misuse of, and shallow understanding of QR codes historically in retail and mobile advertising, recent advances in technology have warranted lifting up the hood again to see “what’s up what’s new” and that a paradigm shift has truly occurring.

Variability, serialization and “instantaneous scan” capable mobile apps and powerful mobile devices have been enablers for these scannable codes to truly muscle up and become an effective conduit of package-driven supply chain traceability, instantly changeable/adaptable mobile integrated shopper engagement campaigns, as well as new tools to make the in-store shopping experience faster and more informative and convenient!   … long as you learn and download the new tech. and leverage it right.

And we’re not just staying that because our own PACKPrint solution is fundamentally enabled by QRs (as well as other similar coding options, including our emerging DIGIMARC enabled invisible coding scannable technology).   We’re saying it because this tried-and-true platform of package-driven engagement (and originally honed and refined in the Magazine/Catalog Commercial Printing vertical sector) has now afforded a rapidly growing number of companies to begin to see higher rates of success driving web traffic and sales, increasing their email lists and engagement rates, and simply making life easier for consumers with strategic use of the codes.

The Right Use

Making the most out of variable QR codes first involves making sure your business and products are the right fit for, and most likely to gain practical benefit from the technology. The most vibrant audience for this technology is males aged 25 to 44, but that doesn’t mean all females or men in other age groups are automatically going to ignore them.

Business2Community suggests ensuring your audience is aware of the steps they need to take before they can access the growing array of powerful QR channeled information. The first action involves simply downloading a code scanning enabled retailer app or simply a mobile app like INIGMA that can instantaneously scan the code using a mobile device.

The second step is to take a cue from other companies that have successfully used the QR code enabling tool to their advantage. Consumers are looking for value, which can include but doesn’t necessarily have to entail a discount coupon. These examples, outlined by Xerox, show you what value can mean:

  • Walmart places a QR code on receipts that direct customers to its Saving Catcher app, promoting savings for future purchases. (Scannable code-driven Applepay competitor WalmartPay is soon to follow)
  • Bar Keeper’s Friend cleaning solution places a simple static QR code on top of the product, directing customers to how-to videos and comparisons to other cleaning products
  • McDonald’s has a simple static QR code on its take-out bags, sending customers to a straightforward nutrition menu they can store on their mobile devices for future reference

Innovative Applications Stimulate Growing Use

The opportunities to make the most of scannable QR technology are clearly there, with 56 percent of people across the world owning a smartphone as of 2013. And many of those opportunities are already being realized, according to info reported by Xerox and Scanbuy’s latest trend report:

  • 30 to 40 percent: Smartphone users who scanned a QR code in the past six to 12 months – sometimes right in the store as they’re comparing products
  • 83 percent: Scans generated by QR codes and Mircosoft Tags (compared to 17 percent of scans generated by UPC)
  • 23 million: Number of mobile engagements in Q3 2015
  • 5: Average mobile engagement per user in Q3 2015 (an all-time high)

One more significant nod in the direction of scannable code-based value is Walmart’s new mobile payment option, Walmart Pay. The option uses powerful variable scannable codes to complete transactions between the smartphone and in-store registers. The retail giant is fighting back against Apple Pay – and the core strategy behind it is the thriving QR tech.

Check out more info on what QR codes can do for you and your customers!

From ‘Share a Coke’ to Custom Water Bottle Labels

Once upon a time, printers were pretty much tied to the base artwork provided by clients. Their role was relatively passive. While they could compete on service factors like cost, speed and quality, there was little else to differentiate between one commercial printer and the next.

Nowadays the story is very different.  Even the smallest local printer can offer basic design and layout services, even if they do not have an in-house designer, thanks to the ease of internet communications. And the advent of digital printing has opened the door to customization –  on a very small scale – that was simply unaffordable before.

Personalized Packaging Works

You need look no further than Coca Cola for a prime example of the effect customization can have on the consumer. The idea, born in 2011 in Australia, reached the US last summer and took off with a bang. Coca Cola whose profits had been losing their pop in a steady down curve for the previous 11 years needed something special to get the consumers to bite again. What better than having the product calling them by name from the store shelves.

Rows of Brittanys and Todds, Charles and Jackies lined the shelves. If consumers did not see their own name, chances are they would buy for their child or a friend or a neighbor down the street just because the bottle had their name on. And just in case there were no names that spoke to a particular consumer there are plenty of generic feel-good choices to choose from like Friends, Family, Team and even Class of 2015.

Customized Packaging Services

With the advanced technology available today a savvy printer can add customized packaging to its portfolio of services without breaking the bank. The ROI of implementing a custom solution such as FASTech’s own PACKprint™ , can be swift thanks to the vast increase on promotions and sales potential the added serialization and personalization it can provide.

Custom Water Bottle Labels

Take water bottle labels, for example. The commercial opportunities for customizing this single item are endless. Did you know that in the first week in December alone there are over 800 organized events, may of them with wacky themes like the Intergalactic Festival of Lights Fun Run in Texas or the Raindeer Run and Jingle Bell Jog in Los Angeles? These organized events cost money to enter and a themed bottle of water may or may not be part of the deal — but what better placement for your individualized promotion or call to action? There are also countless running clubs and groups across the country that may be interested in having their club benefit from a promotion tied to an individually serialized custom label. If a local retailer is selling store-brand water, what are the chances that it would pick up more sales by customizing water bottle labels with a scannable promotion to benefit several local running clubs or even highschool football teams?

With PACKprint ™ the opportunities for continuous engagement of product with consumer are unlimited — and can even be dynamic to adjust to pre and post event promotions with the same variable code.

The market has spoken

Clearly Coca-Cola found success with their personalized campaign, but we argue it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Marrying the consumer’s desire for customized products, with their inquiry into the product’s origin and promotional appeal, PACKprint™ is uniquely positioned to be a catalyst to bring all these benefits together for the next very big campaign.

FASTech’s Packaging Innovations at 2015 PLMA Trade Show

Teamwork is one of the keys to success, and you’ll get a chance to see some exciting packaging innovation collaboration in action at the upcoming PLMA Trade Show. FASTechnology Group is working with Digimarc to develop an invisible barcode shopper engagement solution for CPG and Private Label…..and at PLMA 2015 you will be one of the very first to get a look at it.

Not only that, but you’ll also get a chance to win a MonoRover – just for paying a visit to our booth F1900.

  • What: Experience cutting-edge packaging solutions, win a MonoRover
  • Where: PLMA’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show, Booth F1900
  • When:  Nov. 13 to 15
  • Location: Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont, IL
  • More details:

About the Collaboration

One of FASTech Group’s foremost innovations is its portfolio of PACKprint® solutions, which provides a wealth of shopper value-add and essential product information in the form of shopper scannable package unique coding on the product.

Information can range from each package-specific manufacturing location to food origination, ingredient details to the carbon footprint. Then wrapped in shopper engagement unique marketing offers and tools to speed the instore shopping experience and make it faster and convenient.

The PACKprint® solution can assist with product tracing, recalls and highly targeted marketing campaigns. It’s also useful for enhancing shopper engagement while making it possible to include extensive and detailed information without the need for large and wasteful labels.

One additional innovation for this show is PACKprint® solution can now be GMA compliant. This means it conforms to standards that ensure a brand owner can maintain and store information in a single location, and the location is easily accessible to those who need it.

Digimarc® Barcoding solutions are known for dramatically reducing the time consumers spend in checkout lanes by eliminating the time-consuming need to locate a barcode on each package to scan each item. The barcode is instead embedded into the entire surface of the product’s packaging.

Scanning the code is as easy as scanning the item, which can be done at the checkout counter as well as with customer smartphones to engage online with brands.

Combine the extensive information of PACKprint® with the speedy scanning of Digimarc® Barcodes and you get an instant, easy access to comprehensive product information, a revolution for the industry.


MonoRover creates unique and powerful personal transportation solutions, with options that range from a two-motored, two-wheeled board to a retractable, portable scooter that revs up to 20 mph. Which one is up for grabs?

Head to FASTechnology Group’s booth F1900 at the PLMA’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show and you’ll find out!

Visit our booth to enter a chance to win a MonoRover and a chance to see our latest innovations in action.

PLMA Show 2015