Shipping products using wood packaging and dunnage between countries is a process regulated by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). Wooden materials like pallets and crates can potentially carry diseases or insects from one country into another where an infestation would negatively impact the ecosystem. Composed of 175 member countries, the IPPC has established requirements around the treatment of wood packaging leaving and entering their countries to prevent infestations that could be harmful to their local plant life.
According to International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15), wood materials greater than 6mm in width require debarking and heat treatment or methyl bromide fumigation. If heat treated, the wood pallet must be treated for at least 30 minutes and maintain a core temperature of 133° F. After the heat treatment or fumigation, pallets must then be stamped or branded with a compliance mark. Exceptions to this process include products made from an alternative material, like paper, plastic, plywood, particle board or fiberboard.
To indicate proper heat treatment or methyl bromide fumigation with wood pallets, a 2” stamp of compliance is required. The mark consists of: a tree symbol, country code, producer code and treatment code. This compliance stamp is required on every 24 inches along the pallet.
Non-compliance may result in shipments being rejected by customs, resulting in costly fees associated with the re-export of the goods for the importer.
ISPM15 pallet marking requirements are commonly met with the use of stamp rollers, stencils or hot branders. Whether manual or automated, these techniques are costly, consume considerable electricity and are potential fire hazards.
A more efficient alternative to hot branders or stencils is automated high resolution inkjet coding. This method of applying the ISPM 15 mark has proven successful amongst lumber suppliers and created third party approved ISPM 15 marks. High resolution inkjet creates a durable 2” mark that can withstand the heat or methyl bromide treatments pallets must be put through. With mark legibility as a priority for pallet manufacturers to maintain compliance, inkjet marks created with a lightfast ink satisfy readable compliance standards just as well as heat branded marks or stencils. As an added benefit, inkjet technology has the potential to create variable codes for shipping facility locations or manufacturing date codes. To achieve variable codes with stamps, stencils or hot branders would require investing in a unique and expensive coder.
Our Product Identification Experts at Diagraph – a leading provider of marking and coding solutions to satisfy traceability requirements – have experience working with pallet suppliers and are available to help you strategize the best ways to achieve compliance in your pallet production. Call us today at 1.800.722.1125 for more information on high resolution inkjet technologies.
All food and beverage manufacturers have a commitment to efficient operations and strive to increase output with maximum uptime. Many of these manufacturers require variable information such as lot or batch codes, expiration dates, or barcodes on their product and make use of Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) to achieve these required codes. For high speed, non-contact coding in your food packaging or bottling environment, CIJ printers with known durability features will offer the following benefits:
Routine wear and tear on your CIJ machines is a reality when they are running in high-speed, industrial environments such as a food packaging or bottling lines. Invest in CIJ printers designed for maximum uptime with minimal effort and that have specific features that prove durable in industrial production environments.
See the Linx 8900 printer in action! Call 800.722.1125 or contact us for a free demonstration.
We didn’t give much thought to the price of gasoline until it reached over $2 dollars a gallon, now we watch the price per gallon daily. The same theory holds true in regards to the power it takes to run equipment on our plant floor, until now. Take heed, power efficiency can save more than just a few pennies! Not all Label Applicators are created equal and the savings when operating a power efficient unit adds up.
True cost of ownership includes the replacement items, maintenance, downtime, and consumables that the project will use to perform the intended job. It also includes the power to run the system, which is usually thought of as “pennies to operate”. The real cost of power adds up quickly, and even though air is free, compressed air is not.
The cost of power as it relates to the national average cost of electricity is around $0.10 per Kilowatt Hour (2008, US Government, Energy Information Administration). The typical cost for generating compressed air is approximately $0.25 per cubic foot/minute and only represents the energy it takes to run a compressor, not the other factors such as maintenance and alike. Using this information, the annual cost to run the equipment can be calculated and compared.
Generally, label applicators are wipe-on units. Looking at various manufacturers, there is a difference in power consumption that is largely based on the technology used. A brushless DC motor is far more efficient than a comparable stepper motor-based unit. There is over $500 of savings to be had annually when comparing the annual cost of running a motor with a power requirement of 1.5A@115VAC versus 5A@115VAC or above.
Most printer applicator systems are “tamp” or “air-tamp” and require compressed air. The label dispenses from the printer off the label carrier and is positioned onto a vacuumed surface that holds the label in place until it is applied to the substrate. Making efficient use of the vacuum bore size of the cylinder, and using a higher quality of pneumatic components, some manufacturers are able to use less CFM than most others. An average cost savings of over $600 was confirmed when comparing printer applicators using 2.5 CFM verses 5 CFM.
Looking at the cost of ownership in terms of power reveals that pennies do add up, and the manufacturer using a brushless DC motor offers its customers continued savings throughout the life of the unit. For more information on power efficiency and Automated Labeling Products visit www.diagraph.com or call 1-800-722-1125.
View The complete line of Diagraph Label Applicators
By Chris Pangallo, Product Manager – Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) and Laser
Production uptime and low cost of ownership are hot topics among Chemical production and Chemical packaging companies. Many Chemical companies rely on Continuous Ink Jet Coders (CIJ) to provide high speed non-contact coding of variable text such as date and batch codes on their primary product. Linx model CIJ printers are ideal for Chemical producers and packagers with a proven track record of reliability and increased uptime due to very clever design. The printers have mistake-proof and mess free refills, avoiding costly downtime.
Linx also features the most advanced printhead on the market. The printhead is sealed with no manual parts or adjustment points. Upon shut down, the printer automatically flushes the printhead conduit, nozzle and gutter with solvent. The solvent evacuates to the controller. This cleaning, known as Full Flush™, results in quicker start up, reduces ink build up and its’ accompanying printer downtime. Self-cleaning and quicker start up allows maintenance staff more time to work on production instead of their printer.
Chemicals can be packaged in all kinds of substrates and under a variety of conditions. A common challenge when coding in the presence of chemicals is the reaction of coding ink to the product, process or environment. Marks can smear, bleed or disappear entirely. Linx has developed special purpose inks that provide maximum print quality and increased printer performance by eliminating coding issues before they start. Here are some examples:
Detergents, shampoos and cleaners are among the wide variety of products that contain alcohol. With these products there will always be the risk of splashing alcohol onto the finished product during packaging. The alcohol splash can smear, obscure or even remove coding ink. Some products, like electronic components, require cleaning with alcohol as part of their production process. If you need an ink to withstand an alcohol splash, we suggest:
1075 Black Alcohol Resistant
This ink is formulated to have a high level of resistance to chemicals such as alcohol. It is fast drying (1-2 seconds) with excellent adhesion, particularly to plastics. It resists alcohol washes (ethanol, isopropanol, etc.)
If a packaged product comes into direct contact with a wash, splash or rub of a solvent (such as Engine parts, brake pads, cables), you will need an ink with high adherence properties. If you need an ink to resist solvents, we suggest:
1370 Black UV Cure
This is a black pigmented ink that cures instead of dries. When in the presence of UV lamp system, the ink cures in 1 second. The cured mark is supremely resistant to chemicals, abrasion and is tolerant of heat.
Many products have alkali baths as part of their packaging process. If you need an ink to withstand cleaning with alkali solution, we suggest:
1014 Black Plastic Adherent
This ink was formulated to give excellent adhesion to plastic substrates, including those commonly regarded as difficult for CIJ inks such as polyethylene, nylon, and polypropylene. This versatile ink has aggressive adhesion and is resistant to alkalis.
1070 Black Alkali Removable
This ink is highly water resistant when dry but is easily removed if washed with detergent or dilute alkali. It performs well on many substrates and is ideal for coding reusable containers in the brewing and beverage industries.
Products packaged in metals may have oil present on the surface. Oils tend to separate inks from substrates, removing marks completely. If you need an ink with aggressive adhesion, we suggest:
1290 Black to Blue Thermochromic
Thermochromic inks are specially developed for the canning industry and to show a color change effect when processed through a retort or autoclave process. It is a robust ink and often specified for applications that do not require a color change as it penetrates thin coatings of oil and grease and resists removal by oils, waxes, fats and varnishes.
As a key component in our Diagraph Solution Center model, the Diagraph Uptime Advantage focuses on delivering more uptime through our products with minimal intervention requirements. We believe that our coding and labeling solutions should be the least of your worries. This is why our equipment solutions are built to withstand the toughest of manufacturing environments and consistently produce high quality marks – print after print after print.
Our product solution portfolio is built around the principles of reliability and ease of use:
Whether you need entry-level thermal inkjet, high speed continuous inkjet, or high resolution, large format printing, we have a wide variety of inkjet coding solutions that are designed to be low maintenance, user friendly, and offer superior longevity.
Because the most common cause of issues with pressure sensitive automated labeling technology is linked back to pneumatic plant air, we have fully embraced an all-electric automated labeling platform that is designed with servo-controlled label dispensing technology and smart sensing controls to achieve precise label placement at high speeds. You get all of the performance without any of the hassle.
Diagraph’s thermal transfer printing solutions offer not only the highest resolution mark on web- and foil-based product packaging, but also the widest print area range, offering ideal solutions for printing simple product codes all the way to complex messages like ingredient panels and ingredient lists.
Using CO2 and fiber lasers, we can offer an eco-friendly and consumable free option to create permanent traceability codes on packaged goods. Laser coding is an excellent low maintenance option for manufacturers that are implementing anti-counterfeit measures or need a discrete code.
At Diagraph, we will help you formulate the ideal coding and labeling solution for your unique manufacturing environment, code durability requirements, and staff capabilities. This is just one of the many ways we partner with customers to deliver tangible value throughout a long-term relationship. How much time and money can you save by taking a new approach to your coding and labeling operations? Let’s find out together.
Learn more about the other three components of the Diagraph Solution Center:
It is estimated by the US Grocery Manufacturers Association that over half of recalls cost companies over $10M. In addition to the financial implications, recalls for defective products could be harmful to the health of your customers and ultimately damaging to your reputation. These two major factors support the necessity of product identification in the form of date codes, lot codes and batch codes to track and trace in the event of a recall.
Two common automated marking and coding solutions for food packaging are continuous inkjet and laser coding. Which solution best fits your application is dependent on a number of factors. To help you in this evaluation process, we have outlined a few consideration questions:
Continuous Inkjet Considerations
Continuous inkjet (CIJ) can mark onto virtually any substrate type, rounded or flat, ranging from plastic bags, glass jars, metal cans, paper cartons and more. Because of the variety of ink types and colors available, you can achieve a high-contrast mark on nearly any color packaging.
Laser Coding Considerations
Laser, by comparison, creates a permanent mark on most surfaces although not all packaging types will guarantee a high-contrast batch, lot or date code. The etched marks from laser will last, although on clear plastics and glass the coding may not be as easily visible as black ink from CIJ.
Continuous Inkjet & Laser Coding Considerations
Accurate batch, date and expiration codes are essential for customers and retailers alike. If your production lines perform multiple changeovers for different products each shift, this leaves room for errors. Leading CIJ and laser solutions have features for storing unique, variable messages and icon-based interfaces that can be operated without extensive training for message creation and retrieval. Reliable, accurate coding methods will keep your line running in uptime and ensure speedy recall of products in that event.
If your products have high retail value, they may be susceptible to counterfeiting. There are internal tracking and security codes that can be made on a product discreetly, that are only visible under certain circumstances by the manufacturer to verify authenticity and product origin. For CIJ, one option is security UV inks that are nearly invisible until exposed to UV light.
The low-contrast, permanent marks created from laser etching are a benefit in the case of anti-counterfeiting codes. Codes can be applied to packaging in an inconspicuous location without compromising the appeal of the packaging design.
These are only a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting between continuous inkjet and laser coding for your food or beverage packaging line. For more information on how coding ties into food safety and traceability, download our full whitepaper.
Coding for Safety & Traceability in the Food Supply Chain: A Comparison of Continuous Inkjet & Laser Coding
Automated Pallet Marking System
The American Lumber Standard Committee recently imposed a regulation on companies that produce heat-treated pallets. This regulation forces pallet manufacturers to mark each pallet with the IPPC HT logo. As you can imagine, many issues quickly surfaced with this addition including poor quality, a loss in productivity and an increase in labor costs for many companies.
Many facilities rely on manual stenciling to apply this logo, as well as other identification and tracking data. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also requires the use of manpower with inconsistent results. Here at Diagraph we came up with a better solution.
The IJ3000 Large Character Ink Jet Printing System addresses and corrects these issues.
Despite the best intentions, manual anything often leads to inconsistencies. For businesses with a brand image to protect, this poses a problem. The automated IJ3000 removes the need for manual marking and delivers uniform results.
Loss in Productivity
Relying on manual labor always runs the risk of human error. With pallets, this could mean incorrect stamping or lower than needed speeds. This system produces simultaneous online marking for both sides, as well as automatic printhead cleaning. These features lead to an increase in production as well as less downtime for maintenance.
With the necessary printing of lot codes, production dates and other relevant information, the need for labor increases. This adds extra costs that an automated system such as the IJ3000 eliminates.
To learn more about how the IJ3000 Pallet Marking System can increase productivity for you, learn more here.