If labels don’t properly contact the carton in your case labeling application, it requires rework and wastes label stock - costing you time, money and throughput. Cutting down on the maintenance and monitoring of your label application will keep your lines at a maximum uptime and ensure the accurate labeling of your products. To rely on your marking and coding technology versus human intervention, look for these three features in your labelers to guarantee consistent label applications:
Diagraph’s smart sensing technology ensures precision label placement, reducing the need to rework improperly labelled products. The LA/4750 features key enhancements that allow it to accurately dispense hard-to-read clear labels, prevent missed products and double feeds, and auto-adjust outputs to changes in line speeds.
No matter your choice for end of line coding solution – labeling or large character inkjet – Diagraph has the expertise to help you evaluate your total cost of ownership. To better understand what hidden costs of end of line coding may be adding to your bottom line, read our full whitepaper:
The Hidden Costs of End of Line Coding Whitepaper
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.
Five Key Elements to Ensure Optimal Reliability and Long Life in Your Case Coding Ink Jet Printhead
By Steve Liker, Product Manager – Large Character Ink Jet
Today, many companies take advantage of the benefits of inkjet printing of barcodes, graphics and text directly onto secondary packages. Inkjet printing can cost up to eight times less than labels. At the same time having an inkjet printer on the factory floor allows for greater printing flexibility and requires less space than an inventory of assorted pre-printed secondary packages.
Stainless steel construction, automatic maintenance, a repairable design, demonstrated long lifetime and quality ink compatibility are five key elements to look for in an inkjet printhead.
Visit www.diagraph.com for a complete line up of our case coding ink jet printers.
NEW DIAGRAPH IJ4000 INKJET SYSTEM COMBINES
INDUSTRY-LEADING BARCODE DECODE-ABILITY AND INDUSTRY-LEADING RELIABILITY
(March 1, 2016) – Diagraph (www.diagraph.com) announces the launch of the IJ4000 high-resolution large character impulse inkjet system for printing alphanumerics, barcodes and graphics onto porous substrates. The cost-competitive printer combines industry-leading barcode decode-ability, industry-leading system durability and industry-leading print throw distance with the lowest maintenance requirements on the market.
Industry-Leading Barcode Decode-ability & Print Throw Distance
Three unique features combine to allow the IJ4000 to provide best-in-the-market print consistency on challenging packaging lines where boxes are rarely perfectly uniform.
First, precision print placement is ensured by a unique roller retractor and a digital level sensor accelerometer. The roller retractor provides a consistent gap between the print surface and print engine. A green LED light on the digital level accelerometer indicates when the print engines are perfectly aligned and perpendicular with the packaging material to be printed- regardless of floor variations. This ensures high-quality print and optimal readability for bar codes.
Secondly, the print engines of the IJ4000 provide throw distance of ½ inch for alphanumerics and an industry-leading ¼ inch for barcodes. This is double the 1/8 inch throw distance currently provided in the market for readable barcodes. In addition to ensuring high-quality print, the increased throw distance also reduces the impact of corrugate dust, glue and contaminants resulting in reduced maintenance needs.
Finally the unique design of the print engine ensures print is up to 15% darker than the last generation offering.
Combined these features allow the IJ4000 to offer a 35% improvement on barcode decode-ability compared to competing systems available in the market.
Industry-Leading Flexibility & Ease of Use
The IJ4000 was carefully designed based on customer feedback for optimal ease of use. The system features a unique HMI (Human Machine Interface) wherein the print engine, encoder and photocell connections run directly and cleanly to the connection hub. This allows the HMI to be moved to a remote location for greater ease of use. The HMI can be as far away as 100 meters when connected via Ethernet and an unlimited distance when connected through a Network.
The system offers a great deal of flexibility with both on-floor and in-office editing capabilities. The intuitive interface provides the option of use with a personal PC, eliminating the need for a separate controller and reducing cost by as much as 15%.
The integrated 10.2 inch touch screen controller interface eliminates the need for a separate keyboard, thereby reducing the system footprint. The system print head is also smaller in all three dimensions and further flexibility is provided by a dovetail track on both side of the print engines for ease of mounting on either side of the conveyer.
While many printing technologies advertise that they are ‘Unicode-ready’ they often mean that language characters are used as locked images. This is not the same as true real-time, variable print Unicode capabilities. Diagraph’s IJ4000 printers were specially designed to provide real-time printing in 11 languages.
Lowest Maintenance Requirements in the Market
The IJ4000 was carefully designed to provide the lowest maintenance requirements of any similar system in the market today.
The printer features a unique single point ink supply that can feed as many as four different print engines. This greatly reduces downtime and simplifies the fluid refill process as it is not necessary to monitor and maintain individual ink supplies.
The system´s unique digital level accelerometer has a sensor which indicates if the print engine has tilted plus or minus 1.5 degrees both for ease of installation and to assure the print gap between print head and carton is consistent along the entire print image.
A new auto-channel purge allows all 256 printhead channels to be quickly checked by a simple push of a button on the print head right on the packaging line. Maintenance is further simplified by hard-mounted, easily accessible filters and a centralized connection point that simplifies and reduces cabling requirements.
Taken together, these features allow the IJ4000 to provide as much as 30% less downtime than alternative technologies.
Industry-Leading Print Engine Durability
Featuring unique-in-the-industry stainless steel construction, and patented repairable (rather than disposable) design, shock resistance capability and automatic maintenance modules, the Trident print engines in the IJ4000 provide industry-leading durability. Whereas traditional print engines might need to be replaced as often as every few months, Trident technology can last as long as 10 years or 300 billion firings. This allows the IJ4000 to provide industry-leading durability with projected lifespan being as much as 5 times longer than competitive technologies.
“The IJ4000 is the result of over 5 years of intensive research into user needs,” said Steve Liker, LCIJ Product Manager at Diagraph. “It was thoughtfully designed with a number of unique-in-the-market features to provide customers with significant new performance benefits at the same price point as our last generation technology. We are proud to offer significantly more value at the same competitive price.”
The new print engines are reverse compatible to older IJ3000 systems for existing customers and are available with two inch print height. Technology featuring market-leading four inch print height is anticipated to launch in 2016 and will be forward compatible with the IJ4000 system.
About Diagraph, An ITW Company
Diagraph, An ITW Company is a leading manufacturer and distributor of marking, coding and labeling systems and supplies, and has been in the product identification industry for over 120 years. Diagraph’s products include all-electric printer applicator labeling systems, LINX continuous ink jet and laser coders, large character ink jet printing systems and thermal transfer overprinting systems.
For more information, call 800-722-1125, send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit diagraph.com.
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.
Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process
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.
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 email@example.com.