The final step in your production process can often easily be overlooked. After rigorously completing all the upstream processing, packaging and coding processes, the final palletized product seems to be a small step before crossing the finish line. However, labeling at the pallet level is a crucial process for identifying palletized products being shipped to retailers.
Imagine this: You’re completing a custom job for products specific to one regional retail chain. To differentiate the pallets for the custom job from your standard products, you plan on printing the identifying batch information on the license plate label and applying it to the outside of the shrink-wrapped pallet. When the time comes, your shipment is sent to the retailer only to discover that the products sent are not the custom printed containers they ordered. Now not only is your relationship with this retailer tarnished, but you are on the hook for reprinting all of their products at your own cost.
This scenario might sound familiar if you’re still in the business of manually applying labels. Some level of human error is always a risk and it can be a costly one. Ensuring a consistent, accurate label on every pallet that leaves your facility doesn’t have to be a trying task. It is possible to guarantee proper label placement while also avoiding common safety issues often occurring from the entanglement of the labeler in the pallet shrink wrap.
Our pallet labeling experts at Diagraph have complied a helpful guide for assessing automated pallet labelers for your production line. This guide steps through the main questions you should ask when evaluating your pallet labeling automation process and reviews the top areas of consideration you should work through before you make any kind of investment.
Download the full whitepaper, “Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process”, here to learn more.
Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process
There is a great debate in the packaging technology industry around the core driver of automated labeling equipment. Which is a superior labeling power source — pneumatic air or electric? Pneumatic labeling systems are built around timing-based commands that drive label movements based on the reliability of the pneumatic air supply, while all-electric labeling systems are built around real time data-based commands that allow for total control of the labeling process.
The difference between the two approaches is night and day — like the difference between VHS and high-resolution digital streaming technology. The more that manufacturers understand the advantages of all-electric labeling, the more pneumatic systems will go the way of VHS tapes and rotary phones.
Every labeling system, regardless of core technology, can incorporate sensors for feedback. Recall the times you have seen a product strike a pneumatic labeler’s actuator arm while moving down the packaging line. This happens all too often with pneumatic labelers because the control of the label feed and actuator arm is not reacting to real-time feedback from sensors, it is following pre-programmed timing commands and relying on the programmed settings for the pneumatic air supply (regardless of the actual pressure in real-time).
Free from the timing control constraints found in pneumatic air powered machines, Diagraph’s all-electric labeling systems can interpret feedback from smart sensors in real-time to allow for total control of the label throughout transit. Combining strategically placed sensors with brushless DC servomotors allows Diagraph’s labeling systems to operate with extreme precision, guaranteeing one-to-one label-to-product matching time after time. The all-electric, servo-driven actuator maintains speed consistency, while “smart” sensors confirm that a label is present for application and even provide the ability to control impact on the product being labeled. The system doesn’t have to rely on inconsistent air pressure to manage this process.
Another advantage of the all-electric method over the pneumatic air method centers around the tamp pad. Pneumatic driven label applicators utilize venturi vacuum technology to control the transit of the label from the tamp pad to the product. Nearly the entire surface of a pneumatic machine’s tamp pad needs to be covered by the label to maintain proper suction. Unlike pneumatic machines, Diagraph’s all-electric label applicators utilize an electric fan to create vacuum, allowing Diagraph labelers to accommodate multiple label sizes utilizing a single tamp pad. This saves time during label size changeovers as well as money.
With more than 120 years in the marking and coding industry, Diagraph has a rich history of providing highly durable and reliable labeling and inkjet solutions. Diagraph was the first to offer all-electric labeling solutions to handle all modes of label application including tamp, swing and tamp-blow. The result is a robust lineup of automated labeling solutions that offer benefits only found in all-electric systems that don’t compromise on labels sizes or performance.
RFID: Diagraph University
1/28/05 WELCOME TO DIAGRAPH® UNIVERSITY:
RFID TRAINING CENTER AND APPLICATION TEST LAB- LEARN HOW RFID CAN CHANGE BUSINESS PROCESSES FOR YORU COMPANY
Diagraph, An ITW Company, announces the introduction of DIAGRAPH UNIVERSITY: RFID Training Center and Application Test Lab.
Finding new ways to help customers—that’s the idea behind “Diagraph U.” Diagraph University: RFID Training Center and Application Test Lab is a workshop that offers informative, educational seminars for beginner to advanced, plus the ability to test YOUR product and application in our RFID Testing Lab. Whatever your current level of RFID knowledge, Diagraph is ready to conduct a 1-2 day workshop, just for your company, at our St. Louis Training Center and Application Test Lab.
The Curriculum includes the following:
• History & Benefits of RFID
• How RFID Can Change Business Processes
• Theory of Operation
• RFID Label Options
• Specifications & Compliance Standards
• Hardware & Software Availability
• Component Technical Capabilities
• Implementation Solutions
• Equipment for Your Application
• Lab Testing for Your Application
There is no pre-determined class schedule at Diagraph University. Instead, workshops are scheduled to accommodate each company that wants to participate. Our preference is for each workshop to be focused on just one company. This way, we can personalize the course content and make certain that it is always 100% relevant to every student.
The workshops are intended to take 1-2 days, but will vary slightly in length, depending on the entry level knowledge the participants bring to the seminar. From beginner to advanced, all interested parties in learning more about RFID and how to implement an RFID solution are encouraged to attend. At Diagraph we are much More then just another radio frequency identification tag company, we trully are onf of the nations top rfid solutions providers. Come to our class and see for your self.
To help offset the costs of meals and lodging, Diagraph charges a reasonable tuition for each RFID workshop participant.
For more information about Diagraph University, to request a Curriculum, or to schedule a workshop for your company, please use the contact method that is most convenient for you:
• Phone 800-722-1125
Diagraph, an innovator in product identification technology for over 100 years, manufactures and distributes marking, coding and labeling systems and supplies. Diagraph offers a complete line of RFID and bar code printing systems; small character ink jet, large character ink jet and high-resolution ink jet systems; label printer-applicators and label applicators; thermal transfer label printers; stock and custom labels; labeling consumables; and traditional marking and stenciling equipment and supplies. Diagraph is a global supplier, with sales and service offices located across the United States and throughout the world.
DIAGRAPH is a registered trademark of Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Diagraph RFID Quick Links: Diagraph RFID Solutions Diagraph Partner Company RFID Solutions Providers RFID versus Barcode
At Diagraph Marking & Coding, we like to work closely with customers to understand the cycles of their business. This allows us to develop and recommend a personalized plan to manage maintenance schedules and on-hand supplies for their coding and labeling operations.
Cyclical account trends help predict and plan for the following:
We believe that customers are best served when we can partner in every aspect of their coding and labeling operations. This holistic approach allows us to maximize efficiencies while driving tangible value throughout a long-term partnership. Let us be the coding and labeling experts so you don’t have to be.
Interested in working with Diagraph to keep your marking, coding, and labeling operations running as easily and efficiently as possible? Speak with a Diagraph representative today by calling 1.800.722.1125 or contacting us through the website.
If you haven’t had a top-to-bottom review of your coding and labeling operations within the past 5 to 10 years, you are probably overdue for a comprehensive product identification site audit. Technological advancements have allowed for manufacturers to achieve greater efficiencies and accuracy with their product coding efforts for all levels of packaging – from primary products all the way to pallet level labeling.
Diagraph can take the guess work out of coding and labeling operational best practices by offering free comprehensive site audits. We make a series of recommendations that span anywhere from making modifications to current equipment or practices for enhanced productivity to the complete retooling of your product identification operation to help you achieve your production and packaging compliance goals.
Our site audits include a close review of the following key areas:
After reviewing these key areas and other aspects of your packaging compliance requirements, we provide a site audit report with simple recommendations that you can implement immediately as well as bigger picture recommendations that can be implemented overtime with planning and support. At Diagraph, our goal is to make it easy for our customers to achieve the perfect mark on their products. Regular site audits and account reviews are just one of the ways we work in partnership with our customers.
Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.
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.
Did you know there were 80 GMO labeling bills introduced in 20 states in 2015? On July 1, 2016 the first GMO labeling law will go into effect in Vermont. The Vermont law requires raw agricultural commodity and processed food producers who sell food products in or into the state of Vermont to mark the lowest saleable unit of food packaging with a disclaimer that clearly and conspicuously reads “produced with genetic engineering.”
Although the labeling message requirement is clear, the law does not specify exactly how manufacturers need to apply the mark to the packaging container. Determining how to apply the mark is entirely up to the manufacturer’s discretion.
Moving forward, food producers need to keep a keen eye on the changing regulations regarding labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unless or until there is a federal law regarding labeling, individual states make the rules on whether or not products sold in their state need to have labeling that includes warnings such as “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering”. Companies need to decide whether to change their formulations to eliminate GMOs, adjust the geographical markets they sell into, or modify their labeling to meet individual state requirements. The path of least resistance and expense will usually be to change the labeling.
If your product has regional or national distribution, how do you manage specific variable information for sales to a specific state? Diagraph provides a solution with its Linx 8900 Series Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers.
If you can use the same GMO call out to cover the requirements of all the regions you sell into, then you can create, store, and easily select the GMO message to be printed onto your product. If different GMO messages are required, you can choose to print all of the necessary GMO messages on each package or easily create different messages and select the appropriate one for a specific manufacturing run. Regardless of the flexibility you need and the type of packaging material you are marking on, the Linx 8900 Series has you covered.
The 8900 family of CIJ printers is capable of printing between one to five lines of text, logos, and barcodes, and is designed for maximum efficiency and minimal effort. The stainless steel cabinet boasts a minimum IP55 rating, which makes it suitable for a wash-down environment. The 8900 Series printers are designed to run reliably and feature the ability to program 4 to 50 production line settings and up to 1,000 unique messages to enable quick and painless change overs and message updates.
With easy change overs and high quality, high speed print, companies can easily add any required GMO text to existing packaging using Linx CIJ.
Although CIJ technology is ideal for meeting nearly every GMO labeling need, there are a variety of technologies available to you to stay in compliance with the law. All-electric label applicators and thermal inkjet printers may be good alternatives depending on your operation. Contact us today for a free consultation to determine which technology is best suited to meet your unique needs: 800-722-1125 or email info @ diagraph.com.