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.
There is a debate in the packaging technology industry on which is a superior labeling power source for automated labeling equipment — pneumatic air or electric? Pneumatic labeling systems are built around timing-based commands that drive label movements depending 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 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. Instead 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 servo motors 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 130 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.
Click here for a comparison of all-electric and pneumatic labeling systems.
Many factors determine the profitability and performance of a manufacturing operation. For example, every experienced manager knows the importance of understanding and controlling the cost of raw materials, labor costs, capacity utilization and quality assurance to maximize bottom line results.
As manufacturers hone the efficiency of their operations, however, they also know the importance of looking beyond the obvious variables to evaluate and improve the performance of less apparent workflows. These processes may seem secondary to core production activities on the surface but they will have an outsized impact on results if they can’t keep pace with operations. One of the less apparent workflows that efficiency‐minded managers should focus on occurs right at the end of operations: pallet labeling.
High‐volume manufacturing operations that ship products to a variety of distribution channels simply can’t afford a slowdown in production caused by breakdowns, errors or low capacity in labeling systems as pallets are prepared for distribution.
The answer for most manufacturers to supporting increased productivity is an automated print‐and‐apply labeling machine that eliminates the productivity limitations of manual processes and streamlines labeling workflows. The production rates of automated print‐and‐apply labeling machines vary depending on the labeling method used and the number of application points, but a standard tamp system should be able to label 120 products per minute.
Automated print‐and‐apply labeling machines also deliver quality control benefits because human error is largely eliminated from the equation. Instead of inconsistent label placement that can slow shipments or even result in a customer rejecting a pallet, an automated labeling system helps ensure every pallet is labeled in compliance with customer requirements and expectations.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO AUTOMATE PALLET LABELING?
While some labeling machines rely on pneumatic systems to apply labels, maintaining highly consistent PSI in compressed air systems is challenging for manufacturing plants. These challenges can lead to inconsistent performance and difficulty troubleshooting problems.
The better alternative is the Diagraph PA7100 all‐electric print‐and‐apply machine which offers reliability and performance that can’t be matched by traditional pneumatic‐based labelers.
The Diagraph PA7100 all‐electric labeling machine relies on industry‐leading technology to reliably print and apply labels in a variety of applications including the top, sides, bottom or corners of pallets. These solutions are fully customizable to apply self‐adhesive labels at varying heights, distances and speeds. The all‐electric design eliminates the potential inconsistencies of pneumatic alternatives—producing consistent results no matter how many units move through production.
A key to the performance of Diagraph’s all‐electric print‐and‐apply labeling machines is the usage of industry‐leading Zebra OEM thermal print engines. Zebra is a leader when it comes to 4‐ and 6‐inch thermal labels, using all‐metal construction for long‐lasting durability and delivering print speeds that allow our print‐and‐apply labeling machines to keep pace with high‐volume production lines.
For 130 years, Diagraph has been helping manufacturers make the perfect mark, pairing technology and service to deliver complete solutions. To learn more about our automated all‐electric print‐and‐apply labeling machines for pallet labeling, contact your Diagraph representative.
Getting shipments and inventory into retail distribution and onto store shelves efficiently is a key to profitability for any manufacturer, especially when you ship high volumes of products to big‐box retailers. Since all big‐box operators have rigid requirements for shipments coming into their distribution centers and stores, it’s critical to ensure pallets and cartons are labeled precisely. Get it right and inventory will almost always sail through without a hitch. Make a mistake however, and you’ll likely see delays, rejected deliveries, extra charges and costly rework to get your products on store shelves.
The first step to preparing shipments to big‐box stores is understanding their labeling requirements. While many retailers use certain common elements and regulatory requirements may apply to labeling standards within certain product categories, no single set of pallet labeling standards applies to all industries. Each big‐box retailer establishes detailed requirements for their receiving operations.
The first thing shipping teams should do is obtain the labeling guidelines for each big‐box retailer — never assume that what’s acceptable for one will work for another. Each big‐box store will have specific requirements for everything from what goes on each label to how many labels are required to exactly where labels should be applied. For example, Walmart’s supply chain packaging guide, which runs several hundred pages, includes multiple pages of instructions and requirements just for pallet labeling.
DEPLOY A LABELING SOLUTION
Once you understand the requirements, your next step is to deploy a labeling solution that will keep you in compliance while keeping pace with shipments moving through your packaging and shipping workflows. For high‐volume operations, an automated print‐and‐apply labeling machine is an ideal solution that can be customized to your business.
With an automated print‐and‐apply labeling solution, you’ll eliminate potential slowdowns and errors associated with manual systems. Plus, you’ll take workers out of production areas where labels are applied, minimizing the potential for costly injuries and accidents.
Keep in mind that all print‐and‐apply solutions aren’t created equal. You need a solution that can keep pace with your operations while delivering the flexibility required to address the varying requirements of different big‐box distribution centers and — perhaps most importantly — ensure reliable performance day after day, shift after shift.
ALL‐ELECTRIC PRINT & APPLY LABELING MACHINE
At Diagraph, a key component of our all‐electric PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine is the Zebra ZE500 Series OEM thermal printer engine. We know from experience that we can count on Zebra printer engines to deliver industry‐leading print performance and durability for 4‐ and 6‐inch carton and pallet labels in your print‐and‐apply solutions. They feature durable, all‐metal construction for long‐lasting durability and deliver print speeds that can match the throughput of high‐volume production lines. Plus, they’re easy to set up, manage and maintain onsite or remotely to help schedule maintenance and prevent unexpected interruptions.
With an all‐electric Diagraph PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine using a Zebra OEM print engine, you’ll have a pallet and case labeling system that can help you maximize performance, compliance and profitability. To learn more, contact your Diagraph representative.
Download the full whitepaper, “Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process”
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.
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:
At Diagraph Marking & Coding, we believe that service interventions should always be planned, never a surprise. There are several components to an operations and maintenance program that make this possible, but one of the most important ones that we like to focus on is operator and maintenance team training. A well-trained equipment end user can keep systems running at their ideal performance level for longer.
When working with customers to develop a training program that is right-sized to their coding and labeling operation, we focus on the following:
Operator and maintenance team training is critical at time of installation. We want the operators to understand how to navigate the user interface, perform commands that are relevant to their application, evaluate the system’s performance, and properly perform routine maintenance.
When working with maintenance teams, we cover routine maintenance expectations, system diagnostics, and the steps needed to perform required service interventions on the system. A discussion around service intervals recommended for the unique manufacturing environment as well as what parts are required (if any) to perform maintenance are also identified.
Because we understand that questions come up after users have spent some time with the equipment, we like to do a post-installation check-in to ensure that everything is running smoothly and questions get answered.
Although customers can request training for their workers at any time, we incorporate regularly scheduled training intervals into our contract service programs. This ensures that operators remain proficient in using Diagraph coding and labeling technology throughout their use of the equipment and helps account for the training of any new workers that may have joined with our customers since the last training date. Performing regularly scheduled training also allows our field service team to inform our customers of new capabilities that may be helpful for their application that are unlocked by firmware upgrades.
We offer advanced technical training for customers that takes place either at our training facility in St. Charles, Missouri or on-site at the customer’s facility in a training or meeting room. Our advanced technical training is ideal for largely independent maintenance teams that perform the bulk of diagnostics and service work on their coding and labeling technology. At Diagraph, we customize all advanced technical training programs to the unique goals of the maintenance team and manufacturing environment.
All of our training programs are performed by Diagraph Factory Certified Service Technicians to ensure that you are getting the most up-to-date information about how to best use your coding and labeling equipment.
Interested in scheduling a training session or building a full training program for your team? Speak with a Diagraph representative today by calling 1.800.722.1125 or contacting us through the website.