Perfect Codes for the Personal Care Industry
Image is everything in the Personal Care industry and the companies producing cosmetics, toiletries, home fragrance and the like will spend a lot of time, energy and money in making sure their products look good. But regulations often require variable information such as expiration dates and batch codes to be added to the packaging. The required codes are usually designed to be discrete to help maintain a quality product image, but must be indelible, easily legible and visible. As a result, coding is a small but essential element in creating perfect packaging for personal care products.
Continuous Inkjet Coding (CIJ) may be an excellent solution to this particular coding need. CIJ technology uses fast drying solvent based inks, and produces small character codes in a non-contact process capable of accommodating high speed production lines.
CIJ Solvent based inks are designed to bond to a wide range of substrates. Shortly after printing, the solvent evaporates leaving a color mark. There are a variety of inks whose solvent bases (Acetone, MEK, Ethanol, etc.) have the correct properties to leave marks on packaging used for personal care products such as plastics, paper, coated chip board, and glass. Specialty inks are also available should the coding mark need to have a distinctive property, such as withstanding alcohol, adhering to flexible film, or being free of ketone. Counterfeiting is a common issue with designer cosmetics and fragrances. CIJ offers UV readable inks (clear inks that fluoresce under UV light) for applications requiring a higher level of security.
CIJ coders produce letters and numbers by placing a series of dots to create a character. Quality printing is achieved when the coder is able to keep up with the production line speeds. CIJ printers have options
for speed of marking and orientation of the print to ensure the mark looks as good as the rest of the product packaging.
A CIJ mark can be applied anywhere on a package to be as visible as you like. Because this is non-contact coding, printheads can be placed at any angle to product a print; from the bottom up, the side, or the top down. Additionally, the printheads have some options such as right angle or cut-away covers to allow them to fit into other packaging line machinery. With the ability to print on a large variety of substrates, at fast speeds, with premium print quality, and easy integration into the production line, CIJ is often the right solution for coding needs in the personal care industry.
To read more about solutions for the personal care industry, download Diagraph’s white paper.
With an ever-growing array of product types, packaging formats, costs, and innovation driving and shaping packaging in the personal care product market, effective marking and case coding equipment must continue to deliver high-quality codes onto a variety of substrates while ensuring code quality, reliability and low cost of ownership.
3/24/05 INTRODUCING THE NEW TRIDENT-POWERED IJ/384 PRINTHEAD FOR THE IJ/3000™ IMPULSE JET SYSTEM
Diagraph, An ITW Company, introduces the new IJ/384 printhead for the IJ/3000™ Impulse Jet Large Character Ink Jet System. This IJ/384 printhead utilizes the new third generation print engine from Trident®. This printhead features a 2” imaging height at 192 vertical dpi for smooth true-type fonts and logos, as well as UPC/EAN and SCC-14 bar codes at 200 horizontal dpi. It is also the first of a new family of printheads that use the pigmented Scan True II ink. This pigmented ink minimizes the ink bleed for bar codes and small text, and offers better light fastness than dye-based inks.
The IJ/3000 Impulse Jet offers unsurpassed “smart” features: the ability to print high resolution bar codes, touch screen controls, worldwide networking connectivity, around-the-clock monitoring and diagnostic functions, and convenience features such as automatic cleaning.
The IJ/384 printhead offers the automatic cleaning feature, which allows the operator to program the IJ/3000 controller to self-clean at selected times over a 24-hour period. The pump and vacuum device in the CIDS/3000 ink delivery system automatically remove accumulated contaminants from the faceplate of the printhead and transport them to a reservoir, for future disposal. This will keep the printhead clean and printing clear marks as part of the preventive maintenance process.
IJ/384 Printhead Specifications:
Image Height: 2” (51mm) Number of Orifices: 384 (3 per channel)
Vertical Resolution: 192 dpi Addressable Channels: 128
Interface boards per printhead: 2 Ink Type: Scan True II Black
Maximum line speed: 200fpm Printhead Orientation: Horizontal
With the addition of the IJ/384 (2”) printhead, customers have four IJ/3000 Impulse Jet printhead choices to satisfy virtually any marking or coding application: IJ/96 (3/4”), IJ/192 (1”), IJ/384 (2”) and IJ/768 (4”).
The IJ/3000 allows users the flexibility of multi-technology performance. It is engineered to drive either high-resolution Impulse Jet printheads, such as the IJ/384, Diagraph’s patented Integrated Valve printheads, or the PA/5000LT Label Printer/Applicator.
The Impulse Jet High Resolution bar code print solution comes with a touch screen that allows operators to control the system with the touch of a finger and enjoy previously unimagined levels of convenience and productivity. The graphical user interface visually displays menus and commands so operators can enter messages and codes in minutes. And batch codes can be changed during a run, without interrupting production.
The IJ/3000 Impulse Jet has a built-in high-speed Ethernet connection that permits networking with another printer on the other side of the factory, or on the other side of the world. For multi-location manufacturing customers with constantly changing batch codes, this smart feature is invaluable for making changes and checking status. The system is designed to work with Web browsers (including Netscape and Internet Explorer), existing local area networks (device net, arc net, etc.), or wireless (radio frequency) using off-the-shelf converters.
Another smart feature is 24/7 monitoring and diagnostics. Operating on PCs, PLCs, and LANs, it can be used to obtain up-to-the-minute system status. The IJ/3000 Impulse Jet can even be programmed to monitor ink levels and provide an alert when the supply needs to be replenished.
Like all Diagraph ink jet printing systems, the IJ/3000 Impulse Jet is built to last, with minimal maintenance, even in hostile industrial environments. It provides reliable performance in all kinds of conditions—hot, cold, wet and dry.
For more information, please contact Diagraph using the method most convenient for you:
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; barcode label printers; 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. TRIDENT is a registered trademark of Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Bar Code Printer Related Quick Links: Barcode Printer Case Studies Zebra Barcode Label Printers Datamax Barcode Label Printers Sato Barcode Label Printers
By Eric Janes, Laser Product Manager
You went to the trouble to build a factory, develop a product, built the production line, worked out operations, purchased all the raw materials, toiled hours longer than you should have on the perfect package design, and then do what at the end of it? Smear some code on the corner that’s supposed to stand out to the customer? Good news – you don’t have to deal with smudged codes anymore.
To avoid smeared, smudged and illegible date and lot codes, turn to the high print quality made possible from today’s scribing lasers. Yes, there is a past where lasers were producing a “dot matrix” type of code too, but thanks to better controllers and development, we’re past all that history. Today’s lasers fire a single beam that is digitally controlled and “writes” across the surface being marked with smooth fonts, high quality graphics and bar codes when needed.
A lot of end user packaging is coated paper and, when coupled with scribing lasers, produces exceptional print quality. No, lasers won’t print in color – that’s a technology off in the future. We achieve the high contrast by ablating away the top layer of print exposing the lower bleached or kraft paper color.
Simple messages are a slam dunk in this type of application, but complex messages such as those with bar codes or graphics are not too difficult either. They do require some design, and a good software package to drive the laser. Most likely you will want to control separately the different elements of the message. This allows setting different mark delays and times to correctly image those elements on the package.
Using the Linx Laser Systems, Diagraph can help you produce great marks on your products. We have the latest in lasers and software to produce the best mark without overpowering, or overselling, the application.
Fast-paced lifestyles of the working class and a growing number of Millennials demanding on-the-go options are two contributing factors to the rise in the ready-to-eat (RTE) prepared foods market with a projected CAGR of 7.2% between 2016-2026. (Source: Ready-to-Eat Food Market: Meat/Poultry Segment Expected to Dominate Market from 2016 to 2026: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2016-2026)
What exactly classifies a product as RTE? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a ready-to-eat product is defined as “animal or plant derived food that is cooked, frozen, washed, cooked for hot holding, cooled, and processed to be consumed directly or after heating.”
Packaging for RTE food products can come in many forms or in a variety of materials including aluminum foils, extruded polyethylene, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and cellophane. These types of materials offer versatility for keeping food shelf-stable, while utilizing less shelf space and materials than traditional tin cans and many allow for cooking food directly within the package for eating or serving. A common RTE package used for microwaveable soups, sauces, rice and pasta dishes are stand-up pouches. This flexible packaging format is also commonly seen in prepared baby foods, juices, yogurts and wet pet foods.
These newly designed packages raise questions on how to properly make required expiration and identification marks. Consider the following factors:
Packaging substrate – Most common RTE meal packaging is made up of non-porous plastics or foils, meaning your mark either requires ink or ribbon that will adhere to non-porous surfaces for a permanent mark solution
Branding – Consumers value freshness, portion control, and perceived health benefits of these RTE products meaning new creative packaging innovations are necessary to stand out on the shelves. This requires finesse from the manufacturer or packager in strategically placing freshness dates in locations on the product that are easily visible by consumers and maintain permanency without compromising the integrity of the brand packaging
Integration – If your product is packaged via a vertical or horizontal form fill and seal machine, consider marking and coding printers that will most easily integrate into that process to still achieve demanding throughput goals
If you’re a food manufacturer focused on the ready-to-eat meal or snack market, it is critical to have the right partner in place to assist with marking and coding solutions that won’t disrupt your operation. According to the study Ready-to-Eat Food Market, the North American RTE market is forecasted to be valued at $78.73 billion. (Source: Ready-to-Eat Food Market: Meat/Poultry Segment Expected to Dominate Market from 2016 to 2026: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2016-2026)
Our experts are ready to speak with you about how our thermal transfer overprinters or continuous inkjet systems can meet your product identification needs.
Many companies, especially in meat and dairy processing, struggle with the requirement to mark variable information onto slick packaging for a couple key reasons:
The packaging substrate High surface tension substrates like HDPE, polypropylene (PP) containers and caps, treated and untreated Orientated Polypropylene (OPP) for flow wraps and stand-up pouches, glass and metal all make ink adhesion difficult.
The manufacturing environmentFood packages of butter, margarine and salad dressing often leave a thin layer of condensation or grease on the packaging surface, inhibiting the preservation of code quality.
For manufacturers who experience difficulties using continuous ink jet (CIJ) coders on substrates and products with slick or greasy surfaces, specially formulated inks that cut through light films of oil or condensation are necessary to preserve print quality and contrast.
Linx’s new 1063 Grease Penetrating Black is a dye MEK based ink, developed for the market-leading Linx 8900 Series CIJ coders. 1063 Grease Penetrating Black ink has aggressive adhesion before and after refrigeration and resists removal by a wide range of oils and chemicals such as acids, alkalis, detergents, petrol and water. It dries in seconds and provides excellent contrast and legibility on transparent or light colored materials and, as the name implies, penetrates light layers of condensation and grease for a robust, durable mark.
Talk to a Diagraph specialist today at 1.800.722.1125 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss whether the new Linx 1063 Grease Penetrating Black ink may be a solution to your slick or oily manufacturing conditions.
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.