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.
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What does your company do when products are marked with the wrong product identification codes? Scrap? Rework? Mismarked and mislabeled products can create big hits to the bottom line. When encountering marking mistakes with regularity, companies can find it difficult to keep profit margins under control. What’s worse is if mismarked or mislabeled products make it out to market, manufacturers can face penalties from retailers and the risk of product recalls.
There are several factors to consider when trying to reduce marking mistakes:
The first step to reducing marking mistakes is picking the right coding technology for both your application and your manufacturing environment. When choosing a technology, some factors to consider include:
Available coding technologies include inkjet coders, labelers,thermal transfer printers, and laser coders. Each of these technologies have their merits and should be considered carefully with the help of experts familiar with the advantages and disadvantages. Success will be realized when the best technology is chosen for your unique situation.
Choosing the right technology often comes down to identifying the best possible combination of cost-per-mark and mark adhesion quality. There are numerous inks, label stock types, and ribbon formulations that can help you achieve a durable, lasting code on your product.
If you are marking onto a particularly tricky surface or operating your equipment in a hotter or cooler than average environment, you will want to run code adhesion tests and even demo the full solution for a period of time to ensure that code adhesion is strong once a mark is applied to your product packaging. A quality supplier will be able to run print samples and set you up with trials of their equipment.
Although choosing the right equipment and matching it with the right ink, label or ribbon is important, an often-overlooked aspect of achieving code compliance is material handling. Heavy vibrations in your production line and skewed products that are not presenting well to the coding technology can impact the overall quality of your mark.
Reviewing your material handling practices and making recommendations for the best use of your equipment is vital to achieving high quality marks on your products.
You can take your coding and labeling operation a step closer to guaranteed compliance by adopting a product verification or validation step after the mark has been applied to your product. There are several levels of verification that ensure that a mark:
Verification and validation require the use of scanners or vision systems as well as connectivity to your coding equipment and product databases.
When incorporating a verification or validation step into your coding and labeling operation, you will need some form of reactive material handling after verification takes place if a printed mark is considered to be illegible. When manufacturers encounter poor code quality, a signal can be triggered to stop the production line altogether to correct what is causing the poor print or a reject and redirect action can take place to separate the questionable product from the rest of production. If too many poor quality codes are encountered, production can be stopped to allow for a remedy.
Having issues with achieving packaging compliance and encountering too many marking mistakes? At Diagraph, we can help you quantify the true cost hitting your bottom line and will work with you to develop a game plan to minimize errors and ensure proper code adhesion.
Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.
Not all inkjet printheads are created equal. Some printheads are designed to offer superior uptime performance, making them easier to operate and use when coding product. Look for the following features when choosing an inkjet coder, whether it is a small character inkjet coder for printing on primary product packaging or ahigh resolution large character inkjet coder for printing on cases:
Inkjet printheads featuring stainless steel construction and sealed designs withstand wear and tear better than those constructed with plastic. When examining the printhead materials, also look for whether or not wires are exposed during the cleaning process and whether or not printheads allow for adjustments. Exposed wires and printhead adjustments put the printhead at risk of damage, making them less durable and reliable. Opt for an inkjet coder that features a printhead that is durable enough to require no printhead adjustments for long-term ease of use.
Inkjet printheads that offer automatic cleaning capabilities allow for less human handling of the equipment, minimizing the opportunity to damage the equipment. Hands free cleaning capabilities also allow for printheads to run cleaner for longer, giving manufacturers as much run-time before interventions are required. The best cleaning systems allow printheads to code onto product without encountering printer faults or degrading code quality, with manufacturers able to run the inkjet coders for weeks and months before manual cleaning of the printheads are required.
Although inkjet coders are considered non-contact coders, it never fails that a product is sent down the packaging line skewed, causing it to come into direct contact with the printhead. When this happens, poorly designed and constructed printheads encounter major issues with internal components falling out of alignment and air pockets being introduced into the ink lines. Well-constructed printheads have potted components that are strong enough to withstand these types of impacts. Some inkjet coders also feature material handling mechanisms that gently guide the printhead away from the product to minimize the impact on the printhead.
Interested in upgrading your inkjet coding technology, but not sure where to start? Speak with a Diagraph product identification expert today by calling 1.800.722.1125 or contacting us through the website.
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.
Products containing animal milk are on a constant time clock. Cows must be milked every day, meaning it is possible for dairy operations to be running 24/7 to get products with under a 20-day expiration period out the door and onto shelves. In these fast-paced manufacturing environments for fluid milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream products, there are several reasons that impact the method and features required for achieving legible marks and labels onto packaging.
With perishability of dairy products, there is an even greater urgency for products containing milk to make it to grocers’ shelves with the right product identification. Without proper codes, products won’t even be allowed to ship. Any delay could have health risks for consumers and potential financial impact on the manufacturer.
Look for non-contact coders with features focused on maintaining maximum uptime such as:
Cold, wet environments characterize dairy manufacturing facilities. Fluid milks and cheeses can perish quickly and require constant refrigeration from the production line to the delivery truck all the way to the grocery store. Mixing and filling stations call for washdown procedures to prevent contamination and create a damp environment for coding and involved equipment.
It is crucial that coding equipment upholds against these environmental factors with features found in leading inkjet coders like:
At Diagraph, we recommend the Linx 8900 Series printers for their reliable performance in dairy processing environments. To further improve your batch and date coding in the dairy industry, we can suggest additional accessories like fork style photocell sensors for the most accurate coding, positive air added in the printer cabinet to protect against contaminants entering system, and end coders. Contact us today to learn more about how these small character inkjet printers can improve your date and batch coding operation.