And our message to our Beer customers this week is… Wait, What?
By Chris Pangallo, Product Manager – Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) and Laser
So, you and your buddies have brewed the perfect beer. It is really catching on. You’ve gone from bottling batches in your garage to production with bottling, canning, sales, distribution, quality control and marketing. You are not alone. Many Craft brewers are following this path to success.
Coding on cans is a necessary part of the distribution process and Continuous Inkjet Printing (CIJ) is the best fit technology for this coding requirement. CIJ is non-contact printing using solvent based inks that allow for superior adherence, quick dry times and are designed to print variable information such as batch codes and born on dates.
While born on dates and batch codes serve a quality control function, there is also an opportunity for some marketing with CIJ. You’re marking on the cans anyway. Why not add a fun message for your customers at the same time?
Craft Brewer Sun King Brewing out of Indianapolis has a process in place where their line workers not only update the date code on their cans each day, but also include a message for the customer. Recently, Sun King produced a limited edition run of 20,000 beer cans with a special message, and Sun King found themselves a discussion point on Fox News, CBS Sports and local media. Apparently a line worker took the opportunity to express his true feelings about quarterback Tom Brady.
Not every craft brewer may feel comfortable allowing their staff to input messages without approval. Linx CIJ can accommodate your message security requirements, whatever they may be. In addition to being reliable, easy to set up and work with, Linx CIJ printers have a standard feature of programmable passcodes that can be a big benefit to manufacturers that wish to maintain control of their company’s message.
All models of Linx have security levels that you can set with passwords as standard.
Select a Message to Print, Start, Pause and Stop the printer
Additional access to Printer functions plus Create and Edit a Message
Even more access to Printer functions, plus ability to delete a message or change the production line set up.
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.
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:
Downtime in your production simply isn’t an option. But at any moment, an unpredictable event can arise like low ink levels, maintenance and clogging, putting your operations on hold anywhere from an hour to an entire shift. So how do you prepare for the unexpected? One option that we see put into practice by many customers is the investment in a spare inkjet printer – a reliable, on-hand system that can quickly be fired up on a production line when your regular systems suddenly quit.
So what exactly should you be looking for in a reliable back-up inkjet printer?
Extended shutdown features – There is no planning when you might need to pull in a spare printer, meaning it could be sitting idle for an undefined amount of time. Many small character printers take time to boot up and flush printheads that have not been in use for some time. These printers often require full system flushes or draining when being prepared for extended shutdown periods. When purchasing a small character printer to use a spare, choose one that doesn’t have extensive shut down procedures and is designed to fire right up and start printing after sitting idle for as long as 3 months at a time.
Long shelf-life – Thermal inkjet printers that utilize snap-in and -out replacement ink cartridges make great spare candidates. Ink cartridges can be kept in-stock and on-shelf so your printer is guaranteed to have a supply of ink when it is pulled into operation at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, for high-resolution inkjet printers that take fluids from bottles, industry-leading inks are formulated to last as long as 18 months on the shelf and still consistently deliver high contrast print messages. Similarly for your case coding, look for printheads that remain start-up ready for up to 12 months. To ensure peak performance of ink fluids and printheads, always store according to recommended temperature and humidity conditions.
Protected internal electronics – Look for systems that have a protective covering to maintain and preserve the internal electronics. Not only is thermal jet printer technology a low investment option that produces high resolution text, graphics and barcodes up to 1” high, but the easy-to-change cartridges are simple to store on-shelf in case of emergencies.
Ask yourself whether it is more costly to invest in spare printers for your food production line or to risk unplanned downtime. The investment to protect your productivity is more than likely to pay off if you’re making an informed decision about the inkjet systems you’re keeping as back-ups. Our product specialists can help you determine what the best spare system type is for your application needs. Call today or send us an email for our recommendation.
What would you do with 3 months?
By Chris Pangallo, CIJ and Laser Product Manager
Linx Printing Technologies introduced their latest Continuous Inkjet Printer (CIJ) model 8900 in September of 2015. The new printer reflects the fundamental Linx design philosophies of Ease of Use and Reliability, supported by a hermetically sealed printhead with no moving parts, self-service Easi Change module and new features such as one-touch cartridge refills and a 10” capacitive touch screen with customizable menu. The 8900 introduces a new iteration of Linx Hermetically sealed printhead model MK11. The new design improves upon the already impressive model MK9 design for maximum reliability.
Ø The MK11 printhead makes use of Push-pull drop positioning in the deflector fields.
o More drop control means better print quality.
Ø The MK11 has a unique auto flush process at shut-down, and solvent flush at start-up.
o This means a cleaner operation – less downtime.
Ø The MK11 introduces a new “figure-8” 2 tube style conduit for maximum support and flexibility
o This means reliable performance, even in challenging environments.
These improvements have been tested and reveal with typical inks and in typical application environments, customers can expect 100 starts and stops without the need to clean the printhead. Testing actually found 3 months as typical, and in some cases can go up to 6 months.
What would you do with the time saved by only having to clean your printhead once every 3 months?
At Diagraph, we are dedicated in solving your coding and labeling challenges. Diagraph has been assisting customers for over 120 years improving production line efficiencies with simple, reliable, cost-effective coding and labeling solutions. Contact us to learn more about the Linx product line. Visit us at www.diagraph.com or contact us at 800.722.1125.
As we pause to fully appreciate the momentous occasion of our 125th year in business, we can’t help but look back on more than a century of important innovations and milestones that have put Diagraph directly at the center of major paradigm shifts in the way industry moves goods to market. You can reminisce on those milestones with us by reading our last blog post.
In the process of celebrating our past, we couldn’t help but look to the future. How are we going to write the next chapter in our 125-year-old story? This is a question that we asked ourselves leading up to this important anniversary. One thing we know for sure is that this chapter is not being written without the direct involvement of our customers as we have turned to them to help us chart a new course.
Our customers spoke, we listened, we deliberated, and now we are emerging in our 125th year in business with our plan for the future. Our plan looks less like an equipment manufacturing company and more like a strategic business solution partner. Our goal? Partner with customers in every aspect of their coding and labeling operations – providing a holistic approach that maximizes efficiencies for customers and drives tangible value throughout a long-term partnership.
As part of this goal, we are excited to introduce the Diagraph Solution Center. With our model, we leverage our full portfolio of coding and labeling solutions that are designed to be reliable, repeatable, and easy to use while at the same time helping our customers push past viewing coding and labeling assets as standalone equipment. We believe that these solutions can be powerful alone, but our customers can overdrive operational efficiencies when used together in combination with Diagraph’s comprehensive services that extend well beyond implementation.
There are four components of the Diagraph Solution Center model that help customers maximize efficiencies and drive value in their own businesses:
1) Solution Matching Services – Our team of product identification sales and service experts are dedicated to fully reviewing your coding and labeling operations to pinpoint opportunities where slight changes can provide big impacts on your production.
2) Diagraph Uptime Advantage – We design every product to deliver more uptime with minimal intervention requirements to ultimately give you what you desire most – the opportunity to focus on your own manufactured products, not down equipment.
3) On-time Delivery – Our philosophy here is simple: get what you need to support your coding and labeling operations, when you need it. We have teams in place to help you understand what a proactive on-time plan looks like for your business.
4) Predictable Service Support – Our happiest customers have service programs that are designed to meet their unique needs. We have doubled down on our commitment to working with customers to ensure that they have their very own service plan for success in place.
Through the Diagraph Solution Center, we are fully embracing the role of marking and coding experts, so you don’t have to be! Stay tuned as we dive deeper into each component of the Diagraph Solution Center model.
Learn more about the four components of the Diagraph Solution Center:
Increasing in popularity among big box chains is retail-ready packaging (RRP). A retail-ready package refers to secondary packaging that is branded appropriately to be able to move to retail shelves in a quick, “one touch” movement. RRP should be intentionally designed to self-contain individually packaged products, this eliminates the need for stock workers to unpack and individually display each product. This comes as a huge advantage to the big box retailers like Walmart or Kroger, because it reduces labor by cutting out the need for workers to unpack or hang individually packaged items. Effort is reduced to five simple phases: pack, ship, stock, display, shop.
For the manufacturers or co-packers packaging the product, the challenge of retail ready packaging is having the corrugate case function as both a shipping case and display piece. Considerations here would be having product flavor and count information, SKUs, barcodes, lot codes and expiration dates visible while creating a package that is appealing to consumers on a marketing level. Making the switch to RRP may be an investment, but it has been proven to pay off in terms of keeping good relationships with big box retailers like Walmart. Simply put: If you make your product easy to stock, retailers will continue to stock it again and again.
The key characteristics of retail-ready packaging are:
Changes in the market are directly influencing the rise manufacturers are seeing in the demand for RRP. As larger chains begin to open smaller, neighborhood stores with fewer employees, the speed in which products can get to shelves grows in importance. The Millennial generation is also waiting until later in life to begin having a family, so smaller portioned packaging continues to be purchased far more often. Millennials are also drivers of online grocery shopping fulfillment. Well-implemented retail-ready packaging makes it easier for the warehouse staff fulfilling the online orders to quickly identify and select the correct items to ship out.
For these reasons and many others, retail-ready packaging is a strategy for retailers to boost sales. In order to move more product, this means your packaging production will have to appease retail distributors while still meeting coding and labeling requirements for consumers and traceability. Our experts can help you strategize your operations around this RRP trend. Reach out to us today to discuss what we’re seeing in the retail market and how we can partner with you to make a retail-ready packaging strategy a profitable endeavor for your company.