When it comes to product identification equipment, Diagraph likes to keep intervention requirements to a minimum so that customers can simply focus on producing their products. We do this in several ways including:
It is worthwhile to spend a little more time breaking down the importance of these three areas of focus:
At Diagraph, we design our coding and labeling equipment to run cleaner for longer between required interventions as well as to withstand wear and tear to get more useful life out of our equipment. This results in greater equipment uptime and a stronger return on investment over the life of Diagraph equipment.
We accomplish this by focusing on minimizing the number of steps required for routine interventions as well as extending the length of time that can pass between those interventions. Product capabilities like automatic printhead cleanings help keep inkjet coders running with optimal print quality for longer.
Examining consumable replenishment practices and offering opportunities to centralize ink refills or provide a quick turn label stock webbing approach makes accomplishing required interventions quicker and hassle-free.
Finally, quality materials and thoughtful engineering make a difference when it comes to the longevity of your equipment. At Diagraph, we focus on impact resistant designs – whether it be an inkjet coder or a labeler – to ensure long-term product reliability.
Other than making sure your product coding equipment is properly matched to your application and manufacturing environment, one of the most essential steps we can take to ensure your success is to make sure your line operators and maintenance staff know how to properly handle and maintain your equipment.
Because many of our manufacturing customers deal with worker turnover challenges on a regular basis, we recommend routine training touchpoints to keep workers knowledgeable and good stewards of your equipment investment. At Diagraph, we offer refresher-level training opportunities with each scheduled service visit from a Diagraph field service engineer and high-level, more in-depth training that can take place on location or at the Diagraph training facility in St. Charles, Missouri.
Our most successful customers work with us in partnership to regularly evaluate and maintain their coding and labeling equipment. At Diagraph, we team up with our customers to perform routine equipment assessments, provide regularly scheduled service support, and develop long-term equipment upgrade plans.
Staying ahead of wear-caused failures and properly maintaining your equipment keeps it running for longer thus reducing the need for unplanned interventions. As with all things electro-mechanical, there comes a time when equipment performance starts to impact production throughputs. We help you navigate the useful life of your equipment so that you know when it is best to repair and maintain a system or to upgrade to take advantage of performance and feature enhancements.
By working closely together, our account teams can help develop a multi-year plan that provides measurable cost saving opportunities to our customers thanks to efficiency gains in system and consumable usage optimization. These strategic audits also help customers strategically sequence system upgrades of their older technologies in order to avoid the sticker shock that comes along with most of your product identification equipment failing at the same time. Our goal is to always eliminate surprises as much as possible.
Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.
Looking to Increase Productivity?
ITW Shakeproof is the first established ITW (Illinois Tool Works) division. They bring over 80 years of expertise as a manufacturer and innovator of the twisted-tooth lock washer, which paved the way for fastener application engineering. This method of engineering remains popular to this day.
ITW Shakeproof needed to find a method for increasing productivity while reducing packaging line concerns regarding safety. They transitioned away from manually applying labels that were pressure-sensitive and looked for options to automate this process. Manufacturing Engineer, Robert Bauer, saw the need to upgrade the current packaging line in order to make this happen.
They were knowledgeable about Diagraph’s coding and labeling equipment, and decided to add a second line and mirror the equipment on the two lines. Each line featured one PA/6000 label printer/applicator and an IV large-character inkjet coder. The PA/6000 has the capabilities to print the bar code, part number, lot code and company specific information in multiple text sizes all on a 4X6 p-s label. The IV coder marks customer identification information in green ink right on to the other side of every case.
After establishing the two lines, ITW Shakeproof incorporated a robotic palletizer from Fanuc Robotics to save on manual labor. By implementing the two lines and the addition of the palletizer, not only were costs lowered, but employee safety was enhanced. Employees no longer manually lifted heavy cases or stood in one position for hours at a time. Within one year, they saved 331 hours in overtime and eliminated back injuries caused by case lifting.
Need to automate your line? Visit www.diagraph.com for more information on our coding and labeling solutions.
System uptime is the average length of time a piece of equipment runs between interventions are required to keep it operating smoothly. When comparing system uptime when assessing coding equipment, it is important to look at several factors including:
To understand system uptime better, let’s take a closer look at each of these key areas:
Consumable replenishment is the most common and necessary interaction with any given piece of coding equipment. The amount of time a system can go between consumable replenishment, like adding more ink to an inkjet coder, replacing ribbon stock in a thermal transfer printer, or replacing labeling stock on a labeler largely depends on the capacity of the individual piece of coding equipment. There are additional factors to consider when assessing consumable replenishment.
For inkjet coders, it is important to understand how long a printer can run after the bottle or cartridge of ink has run out of fluids. Does the system provide an advanced notice warning giving a countdown to when the coder will be truly empty? Does it provide enough of a warning that allows for fluids to be replenished at ideal production times like before and after shift changes? Can the fluids be replaced while the system is actively coding?
For thermal transfer printers, ribbon capacity as well as total ribbon usage are important to maximizing the length of time between replacing ribbon stock. For ribbon capacity, look at the maximum size of the ribbon roll for your chosen ribbon type. To maximize ribbon usage, look for thermal transfer printers that offer ribbon saving features that utilize as much surface area of the ribbon before advancing it for ribbon waste collection.
Although replenish consumables is unavoidable for the most common types of coding equipment, the very act of replacing or replenishing a bottle of ink or solvent, a roll of ribbon, or a roll of label stock can be made easier and less time consuming for system operators.
Inkjet coders tend to be the easiest type of coding equipment when it comes to consumable replenishment since most inkjet coders can keep running while being refilled. Look for inkjet coders that offer mess free, mistake free refill options like needle and septum systems that prevent leakage and dripping when swapping fluid bottles. This is ideal compared to inkjet coders that require fluid bottles to be manually poured into the system. Another factor to consider is how many touches or actions are required to complete the fluid refill process. Look for systems that provide one-touch fluid refill options as well as variations in shapes and sizes between ink and solvent bottles to simplify the process as much as possible while preventing the wrong fluids from going in the wrong compartments.
Due to the nature of thermal transfer printing, the printer will become temporarily unavailable for coding while ribbon stock needs to be replaced. Look for thermal transfer printers that have an easy-to-web design as well as easy to remove and replace ribbon cassettes. Investing in an additional ribbon cassette that can be loaded and ready to go when ribbon is low minimizes downtime on thermal transfer printers as much as possible.
Like thermal transfer printers, automated labelers also become temporarily available for use when label stock needs to be replaced. Look for an automated labeling system that has an easy label webbing design to make it easy to unload spent stock and load a fresh roll. Manufacturers with high production commands benefit from having alternate labeling machines available. When one machine signals that its label stock is low, the other starts applying labels so that the low system can be replaced. This virtually eliminates downtime with automated labelers.
Although consumable replenishment is required more frequently than maintenance, preventive maintenance procedures take more time to complete and often require the coding equipment to be completely unavailable for printing while being serviced. Not all coding systems are created equal. Service intervals are usually stated in the amount of system hours that can pass before preventive maintenance is required. Things like ink type, manufacturing environment, and overall wear and tear caused by the application can impact recommended system intervals.
For inkjet coders, look for systems that can run as long as a year or more before maintenance is required. Better yet, look for systems that provide advanced warnings about upcoming maintenance so that you can schedule interventions around your production schedule. Another factor to consider is how easy or complicated it is to perform maintenance. Look for systems that have self-contained service modules that can be easily swapped out without the need for a service engineer. Systems that have screen-guided instructions for service interventions tend to be the easiest to use.
For thermal transfer printers, take a look at preventive maintenance requirements that are recommended by the manufacturer. How many parts require replacement? How long does the manufacturer state it will take to perform maintenance? How easy is it to access parts that need to be replaced? These are all important questions to ask when evaluating thermal transfer printers.
When it comes to automated labeling systems, all-electric systems allow you to replace wear parts while relying on pre-programmed settings to get the labeler operating as quickly as possible. Pneumatically operated labeling systems require extensive adjustments after replacing wear parts, making maintenance interventions anything but fast. Also look for labeling systems that offer screen-guided instructions for quick and simple service interventions. Another advantage of all-electric labeling systems over pneumatic is that electric options allow for a gentler application of the label to the substrate. This cuts down on overall wear and tear, allowing the system to go for longer between maintenance intervals.
If you have any questions about how to calculate the uptime of your current coding equipment compared to new coding equipment technology, we are here to help. Contact a Diagraph product identification expert today by calling 1.800.722.1125 or contacting us through our website.
For sachet or stick pack packaging, the Allen MLi-TE multi-lane thermal transfer printer is a top solution for coding individual expiration dates or lot codes upstream. Multiple lanes can print quickly and simultaneously, utilizing one ribbon to avoid multiple consumables running out at various, unsynchronized times. The Allen MLi’s configurable design requires only one controller and one consumable for up to 12-lanes of print, greatly simplifying packaging machine maintenance and reducing downtime.
Once your packet is coded, sachet or stick pack packaging requires a specialized system to form the packaging receptacle, fill the product into the packet, and seal the ends to secure the product for transport. These systems are known as FFS - form, fill, and seal machines - and they come in two different varieties: (1) Vertical (VFFS) and (2) Horizontal (HFFS). Vertical uses gravity to aide in the filling process, where horizontal is generally high speed by using mechanical methods for filling.
Today we’re doing a Q&A with an expert stick pack OEM, Viking Masek, to cover the key points to evaluate when selecting stick pack equipment to integrate with a marking and coding solution like the Allen MLi-TE.
Stick pack machines are perfect for packaging a wide variety of powder, granular, and liquid products. Powder products can be dense, fine, loose, and particulate materials. Liquids can be substances of differing viscosities including water-like fluids, gels, and pastes.
Stick packaging is very popular in many industries, especially with powdered drink mixes, liquid and powder pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, and granular ingredients like sugar. Contract packagers in the medical and dietary supplement industries also highly favor stick packaging equipment.
Single serve and controlled dosage packaging is very popular with todays’ consumers, spanning across many generational demographic groups. Millennials and young professionals love stick packs because they are portable, convenient, and fit unobtrusively into their busy lives. The aging population uses stick packs because they are lightweight and often feature easy-open options like tear notches, making it easier for those with limited dexterity to handle and use the product. Moms and dads are attracted to stick packs because they can easily feed their children with a single, easy to open, controlled serving size package that requires little clean up and virtually no utensils.
When it comes to selecting the proper stick packaging equipment for your unique product, there are experts available to guide you every step of the way. However, there are a few major considerations they will take into account when recommending machinery. These include:
All stick pack machines can utilize the following product fillers:
Stick pack machines can be built to accommodate different stick widths (most popular are 23 mm and 35 mm), convenient designs including pour spouts and specialty die-cut shapes, and can also feature easy-open options like tear notches and micro-perforations. Available with IQ/OQ pharma construction, stick packaging machinery is a great solution for pharmaceutical packaging.
Often stick pack clients desire to print expiration dates or lot codes on their stick packaging. There are many multi-lane printing options available, including Diagraph’s new Allen MLi-TE multi-lane thermal transfer printer.
First, do your research. This can be done via the internet, on the phone, or in person through your professional and personal networks. Attend industry trade shows and strive to see available equipment in person. When you’ve narrowed down your packaging OEM choices and are looking for more details in the form of a proposal, prepare by defining key points the equipment manufacturer will need so to provide the most accurate configuration for your specific needs. The key items that must be defined differ from powder to liquid products.
Remember that with most capital purchases, and especially when it comes to a piece of equipment you will rely on for a vital part of your production process, you often get what you pay for. Consider not only the initial purchase price of the piece of machinery, but total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO will include costs for things like training, maintenance and parts, installation, and tax implications.
Located in Southeast Wisconsin, Viking Masek manufactures, sells, and services flexible packaging machinery for food and non-food industries worldwide. Our focus on packaging innovation and investments in both technology and people makes us uniquely poised to take on unique packaging equipment projects, both large and small. Have questions about flexible packaging? Contact us today for a free Packaging Equipment Consultation.
Learn more about the all new Linx 8900.
Not having what you need for your coding and labeling equipment when you need it can put a halt to production. This is why we recommend taking a proactive approach to the supplies you need to keep your equipment up and running in tip-top condition. The result? Your coding and labeling operations run like a well-oiled machine, with the right amount of consumables at the ready based on your production and the right parts on hand leading up to preventive maintenance actions.
Through the Diagraph On-time Delivery component of our Diagraph Solution Center model, we match each customer with a dedicated account team that can help plan your order schedule for supplies around the following:
The Diagraph On-time Delivery program is just one of the ways we partner with customers to deliver tangible value throughout a long-term relationship. Free yourself from the hassle and complexity of coding and labeling supply management and also save money by opting-in to our annual services to receive a predictability discount.
Learn more about the other three components of the Diagraph Solution Center:
St. Louis, MO. . .Diagraph, a leading manufacturer and distributor of marking, coding, labeling and RFID systems, is educating our customers and prospects on why NOW is a great time to buy.
Most companies are watching Wall Street and looking at internal improvements, cost reductions, ROI, etc. and Diagraph believes that we can help them achieve their goals. For capital expenditure projects that have been slated for 2008, but have been considered being postponed due to economic conditions or threats, news from the White House provides good reason why it may make more sense to make those purchases NOW, rather than later.
On Feb. 13, 2008 - President Bush signed H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008*. In addition to providing stimulus payments to individuals, it provides tax benefit incentives to businesses. These incentives include two provisions: an increase in the small business expensing limitation for tax years beginning in 2008 and/or a special 50-percent depreciation allowance for 2008 purchases.
Provision #1: Section 179 Expensing*
In general, a qualifying taxpayer can elect to treat the cost of certain property as an expense and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service instead of depreciating it over several years. This property is frequently referred to as section 179 property, after the relevant section in the Internal Revenue Code.
Under the new law, a qualifying business can expense up to $250,000 of section 179 property purchased by the taxpayer in a tax year beginning in 2008, up from $128,000 previously. (The $250,000 amount provided under the new law is reduced if the cost of all section 179 property placed in service by the taxpayer during the tax year exceeds $800,000).
AND/OR, provision #2
Provision #2: 50-Percent Special Depreciation Allowance*
Depreciation is an income tax deduction that allows a taxpayer to recover the cost or other basis of certain property over several years. It is an annual allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration or obsolescence of the property.
Under the new law, a taxpayer is entitled to depreciate 50-percent of the adjusted basis of certain qualified property during the year that the property is placed in service. This is similar to the special depreciation allowance that was previously available for certain property placed in service generally before Jan. 1, 2005, often referred to as “bonus depreciation.” To qualify for the 50 percent special depreciation allowance under the new law, the property must be placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007, but generally before Jan. 1, 2009. To reflect the new 50-percent special depreciation allowance, the IRS is developing a new version of the depreciation and amortization form for fiscal year filers. The new form will be designated as the 2007 Form 4562-FY.
Provision #2 Example** Let’s take a look at an example of how a company purchasing capital equipment may benefit from this Economic Stimulus Package.
The example illustrates the difference prior to the Stimulus Package, and with the Stimulus Package now in place. Here’s the criteria we’ll use: ABC Company purchases $24,000 of equipment that qualifies as eligible property, they are in a 30% tax bracket, and they do a straight-line depreciation over 5 years:
Prior to Economic Stimulus Package For a $24,000 piece of equipment, ABC Company would depreciate $4,800 in years #1 through 5, and their tax savings on the depreciation would be $1,440 ($4,800 x 30% tax bracket) in years #1 through #5.
With Economic Stimulus Package For a $24,000 piece of equipment, ABC Company would depreciate $12,000 in year #1 (50% special depreciation allowance), and $3,000 in years #2 through 5. The depreciation of $12,000 in year #1 brings a tax savings of $3,600 ($12,000 x 30% tax bracket) and $900 ($3,000 x 30% tax bracket) in years #2 through 5.
Summary With or without the Economic Stimulus Package, ABC Company’s tax savings over 5 years remains the same (in this example it would be $7,200). The key difference is that companies save more tax dollars immediately, (in year #1), instead of it being evenly recovered over 5 years. In our example, ABC Company saves an additional $2,160 ($3,600 minus $1,440) in year #1. And the more money that businesses can put in their pocket today to invest in additional capital purchases or create new jobs is the key benefit of this Economic Stimulus Package.
NOW Is The Time… This growth package will protect the health of our economy by putting money back into the hands of American workers and businesses. The agreement offers incentives to spur business investment, by saving businesses approximately $50 billion in near-term taxes through this temporary change to the tax code.
Diagraph believes that if our customers and prospects have a capital expenditure project planned for 2008 and considered postponing it; this news should make them reconsider. It may be smart to do it NOW rather than later, not only for the tax savings incentive, but especially if…
Food & Beverage manufacturers are in one of the most stable, mature markets in industry. The growth is under 5% and the making, packaging, packing and shipping of the food and beverage we consume everyday is not that much different month to month. Some tweaks may occur, but these manufacturers have their processes down to a science. So really, the art is in helping them with their systems that they rely on to meet the demands of the supply chain. Diagraph is focused on providing solutions that will provide cost benefits, improve throughput and add value. And that coupled with the news of the tax savings, should help manufacturers realize that NOW is a great time to buy.
For more information on marking, coding, labeling and RFID systems, call Diagraph at 800-722-1125, send e-mails to email@example.com, or visit us on the web at www.diagraph.com.
Diagraph, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., has been in the product identification industry for over 100 years and manufactures and distributes automated industrial coding and labeling systems and supplies. Primary product lines include: small character ink jet systems, large character ink jet systems, automated labeling systems, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Systems.
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*For specific information regarding the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and more information on the tax savings benefits, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov and always consult your company’s Controller and/or your tax professional.
**This example is for illustration purpsoses only. For exact tax savings for your capital equipment purchases, please consult your company’s Controller and/or tax professional.