Plant managers and maintenance managers alike are deserting pneumatically driven label applicators in favor of all-electric label applicators for one BIG reason – dirty air lines.
Unpredictable, unfiltered air supplies disrupt the efficiency and performance of air supported tools and machinery, especially label applicators. Water, oil and particulate matter are hard on label applicators, impeding the performance and reliability of the tamp pad suction and the actuator arm – the key functionality of any automated labeling machine!
With all of this being said, not all electric label applicators are created equal! Contact us today to learn why Diagraph printer-applicators and label applicators lead the industry in both reliability and performance.
According to a recent PMMI Business Intelligence Report, the meat, seafood, and poultry packing industries are experiencing “a global boom” due to several factors including import and export opportunities expanding into new markets, growth in foodservice, and growth in ready meals. Food producers are rapidly moving to automate processing and packaging to be prepared to meet increased demand and be flexible enough to adapt to changing product coding requirements.
For food producers and processors with small character coding requirements, Diagraph offers the Linx 8900 Series Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printer family. The 8900 Series is designed for maximum uptime and provides the flexibility to meet the demands of complex food manufacturing plants.
Moving towards an automated continuous inkjet coding solution can solve the following problems commonly found in the meat, poultry, and seafood manufacturing industry:
High manual labor costs: Consumer demand dictates changes in the packaging materials used for meat and seafood products. Flexible and clear packaging for shoppers to verify freshness and quality in-store, smaller portion sizes and clean labeling to indicate product varieties – i.e. GMO-free, grass-fed, etc. – leads to more changeovers and a need to produce high-quality, durable codes on a range of substrates. The costs associated with managing a large manual workforce are cited by many manufacturers in this industry as one of the highest expenses. Manufacturers are looking for automated processes that can be run with little to no training required and an easy-to-understand HMI to make product changeovers as effortless and error-free as possible.
How the Linx 8900 meets this challenge:
Food safety and sanitation issues: Threats of contamination are a constant worry in the meat, poultry and seafood industries. To integrate new automated machinery requires that the process reduces human handling and has clean-in-place and washdown capabilities.
How the Linx 8900 meets this challenge:
Maintenance downtime: Manufacturers want to continue to increase their throughput to fulfill growing demand. To keep production going, predictive maintenance features are essential in preventing unexpected shut downs for repairs, printhead cleanings or fluid refills.
Are you facing these challenges in your business? If you’re in need of a date, lot or batch coding printer, the Linx 8900 Series might be the right option to help you efficiently automate your meat, poultry or seafood packing operation. For more information, visit our Linx 8900 Series product specification page or arrange to see it in action by contacting us for a demonstration.
Source: PMMI Business Intelligence Report, 2017 Trends Shaping Meat, Poultry and Seafood Packaging and Processing
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.
Diagraph, An ITW Company, announces the addition of ITW Inks to its wide range product offering. Formulated for use in Marsh Ink Jet Printers, ITW Inks provide a cost-effective ink alternative that is low on price and high on value.
Click here to find out more about ITW Inks...
Common GS1 Barcodes Pictured Above. The following can be printed by Print and Apply Labeling and most High-Resolution Inkjet Technologies:
Barcodes: UPC-A, EAN-13, UPC-E, EAN-8, GS1 DataMatrix, GS1 QR Code, GS1-128, ITF-14
GTIN Types: GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, GTIN-14
Many major retailers and distribution centers require manufacturers to display important information on all four sides of cartons and cases that are intended for backroom storage purposes. This offers retailers ultimate flexibility for their inventory management programs.
The following information is important to effectively manage inventory:
Having this information visible on your box is usually not enough. Manufacturers need to ensure that this important information is large enough and clear enough to read from a distance.
4-Side Print Solutions
Unfortunately, there are not any one-size-fits-all solutions to accomplish four-sided printing on cartons. Flexographic and lithographic pre-printed boxes are not practical for the important variable information needed with every shipment (i.e., best by date and lot/batch code). Manufacturers can turn to a combination of pre-printed information and print-on-demand information if flexographic elements are required. However, complete print-on-demand solutions offer manufacturers the greatest flexibility in terms of cost and supplies.
Print and Apply Labeling 4-Side Print Solutions
Because manufacturers have more options when choosing to use a labeling solution for their four-sided print requirements, the best solution for your particular operation depends largely on the speed of your line and your product throughput. The most efficient option in terms of the equipment required would be to opt for two opposing E-FASA (swing arm) print and apply labeling machines. One machine would apply the label to the front and the side of the box while the other would apply to the opposite side and the rear panel. This solution does not require a bump turn material handling mechanism.
The Diagraph PA/6000 with E-FASA tamp applicator module offers the greatest flexibility for manufacturers. The all-electric design frees the labeler from shop air, allowing it to be placed anywhere on the packaging line. Additionally, the servo motor and smart sensing technology unique to the PA/6000 system ensure that labels are precisely placed on time, every time.
If retailers and distribution centers require flexographic and lithographic printed barcodes, you can more easily manage pre-printed label stock than a large pre-printed box inventory. Utilize flexographic printed labels for all information that will remain the same and utilize the labeler’s printing capability to print the important variable information on demand. With that being stated, it is important to point out that printing barcodes using a wax-resin ribbon and a thermal print head onto consistent label stock is a highly reliable print method. The recommendation to get pre-printed label stock depends entirely on retailer requirements, but is not necessary if you want the print and apply labeler to handle your entire print message – including the barcodes.
Large Character Inkjet 4-Side Print Solutions
Many manufacturers can get away with only displaying information on one or two sides of a case. To accomplish print on two opposing sides, manufacturers need inkjet printers installed on opposite sides of the packaging line. At Diagraph, our high resolution large character inkjet system – Diagraph IJ4000 – can drive printheads on opposing sides of a single line from a single system. The unique centralized ink delivery system in the Diagraph IJ4000 allows floor operators to monitor and change fluids from a single location rather than having to monitor each individual print head.
Additional material handling is required when setting up your packaging line for four-sided printing. A “bump turn” material handling method is required to rotate the box 90° to present the remaining two panels for printing. Two additional opposing printheads need to be installed further down the line, positioned after the bump turn mechanism, to print on the remaining panels. Four-sided box printing can easily be accomplished using the Diagraph IJ4000 once the bump turn mechanism is in place on the packaging line. A single IJ4000 system can drive all four required printheads from a single system, allowing up to a 2” print height for the printed information.
Printing variable information using a Diagraph IJ384e printhead offering a maximum of 2” characters satisfies size requirements for most retailers. If larger characters or a larger print area is desired, manufacturers can opt for the Diagraph IJ768e printhead, which offers up to 4” of print height. A single Diagraph IJ4000 system can drive two IJ768e printheads, which means two systems would be required for a four-sided printing application. Many of our customers opt for the IJ768e 4” printhead to take advantage of the larger print area and future-proof for expanding retailer requirements.
The Diagraph IJ4000 system prints high resolution text, graphics and machine readable barcodes, including GTIN, ITF and GS1 varieties.
Additional Quality Assurance Measures
Both high resolution inkjet and print and apply labeling technologies can print machine readable barcodes with high quality resolution. Many of our customers install a fixed mount barcode imager to test the barcode quality. This information is sent to a PLC which reads the good or bad output from the barcode imager and stops the conveyor when a barcode gives a bad result. This extra quality measure ensures that only readable barcodes reach retailers.
Material Handling Solutions Provided by Diagraph
At Diagraph, we have customers large and small who have varying degrees of internal resources and packaging line expertise. We offer project management services for manufacturers who choose a Diagraph solution and need to outsource the material handling changes to their lines. Our dedicated engineers work closely with manufacturers to design a material handling solution that will meet their unique application need.
Still have questions about printing variable information on all four sides of a box? Contact us today to learn more about your options: Call 1-800-722-1125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
According to PMMI’s 2017 Trends in Food Processing Operations, “Four out of five companies have more than 100 product SKUs and over half predict SKUs will continue to increase, driving the need for faster changeover.”
A number of factors contribute to the drastic rise in SKUs, like company acquisitions and portfolio merging, flavor variety, count variety and retailer-specific case sizes, to name a few. Managing an increasing number of SKUs is costly for snack food manufacturers, especially when a bulk of them only contribute a small portion to their bottom-line profit. Constant starting and stopping of production lines to changeover a new product run means more downtime in a manufacturer’s operations.
On-the-go lifestyles, practiced commonly amongst the Millennial generation, have increased the need for convenient packaging:
A greater emphasis on healthy options has also increased the number of recipe variations, causing more SKUs to be made for tracking purposes. Consumers want to be able to recognize the ingredients in their products, known as “clean labeling”, giving rise to popular snacks like popcorn, breakfast bars, pretzels and others to have variations such as:
In addition to having access to ranges of food products in virtually any shopping setting – retail chains, convenient stores, grocery stores and department stores – consumers are also demanding to have the ability to order their snacks and other groceries online. Different distribution channels are assigned different SKUs for manufacturers to have visibility into tracking purchasing. On the fulfillment end of the supply chain, it is of the utmost importance that cases sitting in the warehouse of online distribution centers are clearly labeled with the correct product information to ensure accurate customer order fulfillment.
For instances when skilled labor workers do not speak the primary language of your printer settings, these barriers can be dealt with through advanced line setting features in the user interface of marking and coding technologies. More and more, interfaces for coders and labelers are moving towards the look and feel of a smartphone – with recognizable icons instead of text. For operations with multiple production lines to accommodate different products, the name of the product can be replaced with an image of the actual product for quick recognition. This simplified naming method for line settings reduces the user error brought about by language gaps.
There are a couple of levels in which SKU proliferation can be managed in an automated way through your coding and labeling printers:
1) Storing messages at the machine level with meaningful names to alleviate mistakes during changeover. For example, naming your message “Gluten Free Crackers” versus “Crackers”.
2) Message retrieval from a database through barcode scanning goes a step further through verification, ensuring that the message on the secondary cases matches the primary product information.
You can make the greatest impact on your operations, including managing SKUs, when you partner with a solutions provider to design your entire marking and coding operation around this objective. With your main requirements and unique specifications in mind from the start, it is possible to integrate a coding and labeling solution that not only works seamlessly in your production line but can add additional value by automating the SKU management process and reducing downtime.
Interested in more forward-looking trends and topics affecting manufacturers in the snack food industry? Download our free whitepaper, 2018: Innovations in Snack Food Packaging, for a full analysis of how these changes will impact manufacturers, packagers and retailers.
2018: Innovations in Snack Food Packaging