Looking to Increase Productivity?
ITW Shakeproof is the first established ITW (Illinois Tool Works) division. They bring over 80 years of expertise as a manufacturer and innovator of the twisted-tooth lock washer, which paved the way for fastener application engineering. This method of engineering remains popular to this day.
ITW Shakeproof needed to find a method for increasing productivity while reducing packaging line concerns regarding safety. They transitioned away from manually applying labels that were pressure-sensitive and looked for options to automate this process. Manufacturing Engineer, Robert Bauer, saw the need to upgrade the current packaging line in order to make this happen.
They were knowledgeable about Diagraph’s coding and labeling equipment, and decided to add a second line and mirror the equipment on the two lines. Each line featured one PA/6000 label printer/applicator and an IV large-character inkjet coder. The PA/6000 has the capabilities to print the bar code, part number, lot code and company specific information in multiple text sizes all on a 4X6 p-s label. The IV coder marks customer identification information in green ink right on to the other side of every case.
After establishing the two lines, ITW Shakeproof incorporated a robotic palletizer from Fanuc Robotics to save on manual labor. By implementing the two lines and the addition of the palletizer, not only were costs lowered, but employee safety was enhanced. Employees no longer manually lifted heavy cases or stood in one position for hours at a time. Within one year, they saved 331 hours in overtime and eliminated back injuries caused by case lifting.
Need to automate your line? Visit www.diagraph.com for more information on our coding and labeling solutions.
Marking and coding equipment should help contract packagers improve productivity. Diagraph accomplishes this by keeping equipment intervention requirements for our product identification equipment to a minimum.
Diagraph’s coding and labeling equipment runs cleaner for longer between required interventions and withstands wear and tear, increasing its useful life. This leads to greater equipment uptime and a stronger return on investment over the life of Diagraph equipment.
The number of steps required for routine interventions as well as the length of time between those interventions is minimized. Product capabilities like automatic printhead cleanings help keep inkjet coders operating with optimal print quality for longer. Examining consumable replenishment practices and centralizing ink refills or providing a quick turn label stock webbing approach makes required interventions quicker and hassle-free.
Finally, quality materials and thoughtful engineering matter when it comes to the longevity of your equipment. Diagraph’s focus on impact resistant designs – whether it be an inkjet coder or a labeler – ensures long-term product reliability.
After making sure your product coding equipment is properly matched to your application and contract packaging environment, it is essential to make sure your line operators and maintenance staff know how to properly handle and maintain your equipment.
Diagraph’s equipment is designed to have fewer touchpoints to enable hassle-free installation, training and maintenance. These easy access touchpoints minimize the amount of time required and eliminate the need to access the entire system to perform maintenance or changeovers.
Because contract packagers regularly deal with worker turnover challenges, routine training to keep workers knowledgeable and able to be good stewards of your equipment is critical. We offer refresher-level training opportunities with each scheduled service visit from a Diagraph field service engineer. In addition, in-depth training is offered on location or at the Diagraph training facility in St. Charles, Missouri.
Our most successful customers partner with us to regularly evaluate and maintain their coding and labeling equipment. We perform routine equipment assessments, provide regularly scheduled service and develop long-term equipment upgrade plans.
Equipment is kept running longer and the need for unplanned interventions is reduced by staying ahead of wear-caused failures and by properly maintaining equipment. As with all things electro-mechanical, equipment performance will eventually impact production throughputs. We help you navigate the useful life of your equipment to determine when to repair and maintain a system and when to upgrade and benefit from performance and feature enhancements.
By working closely together, our account teams can help you develop a multi-year plan that provides measurable cost savings opportunities due to system efficiency gains and consumable usage optimization. These strategic audits also help customers strategically sequence system upgrades of their older technologies to avoid the sticker shock created if your product identification equipment fails at the same time.
Our goal is to always to make it easy for our customers to make the perfect mark. Find the right product for your application by completing this short assessment.
Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.
Pharmaceutical manufacturer upgrades their laser coders from 30W to 60W to increase the throughput to meet production demand for COVID-19 vaccine.
A major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals produces medicines and now COVID-19 vaccines on high-speed lines. Because this customer had 20 years’ experience with Linx printers, they didn’t hesitate when they needed to upgrade their laser coders to increase throughput to meet demand.
The customer codes four lines of human readable code onto paper labels which are then applied to ampoules running at a rate of 400 items per minute. The laser codes while the line is static, and the static coding time is 300 fps. The lines run two shifts a day, five days a week.
On another line, the customer codes four lines of human readable code plus a data matrix code onto carton boxes. The production line speed is 131 feet per minute and 250 cartons are coded every minute. These lines run for two shifts a day, five days a week.
The Linx CSL60 laser coder is a 60W, CO2 scribing laser coder that offers reliable coding for faster and more demanding operations enabling the customer to increase capacity. The flexibility of the coder means that the customer can have the right combination of tube and lens for their application. This level of tailoring means that the laser tube is always running at an optimum rate, which extends the laser tube life beyond other suppliers, and also extends the time between service intervals. As a result, the customer will enjoy less downtime and a lower cost of ownership.
Learn more about the all new Linx 8900.
When looking at purchasing small character continuous ink jet coding equipment, it’s important to take a step back and look at the total cost of ownership. As consumers, we have fallen into the habit of looking at the sticker price, no matter if it’s a car, dishwasher, or ink jet printer and immediately formulating an opinion based on the price tag. “It’s too expensive” or “it costs more than other ones just like it” might be typical reactions when finding something that looks like it’s priced higher than similar looking, competitive models. And it’s easy to understand why we do that…and we ALL do that. Typically, it’s a large purchase. Or in the case of buying something for business, it’s a capital expenditure, and the purchase needs to be justified. However, if you want to find the true cost of what you’ll spend, you have to look at more than just the initial purchase price, or “perceived price” of any item…you’ll need to look at the total cost of ownership. Doing a proper cost analysis may take a little time and effort, but it’s time well spent. It can save you in both dollars and “sense” later on.
With the purchase of a small character continuous ink jet (CIJ) printer, there are three main areas when considering the total cost:
1. Purchase Price 2. Maintenance & Production Downtime Costs 3. Consumables & Parts Costs
Again, the first and most obvious indicator of pricing comes from the purchase price of the item. And there’s a pretty healthy range of pricing and options when it comes to CIJ printers. Make sure you are comparing equivalent features and options when looking at printers head to head. And if CIJ printers are designed to print, whether it be alphanumerics; date codes; batch codes; lot codes; bar codes; graphics or logos, what makes one different from the other? They all still print the code, right?
The old adage, “you usually get what you pay for” greatly comes into play with CIJ printers, just like it does with automobiles. The similarities are uncanny. Every automobile, when it came off the showroom floor, was designed with at least one commonality in mind: to get you from point A to point B. But think about the vehicles you’ve owned. Hasn’t there been one that drove better, last longer, provided more reliability than others that you’ve had? It’s the same with CIJ printers. They’re all designed to come off the showroom floor, or in this case out of the box, and “drive” or print. However, just like your favorite vehicle, there is a difference from one CIJ to the next, on how it drives, how long it lasts, how reliable it is over time. And in the end, just like an automobile, you usually get what you pay for. In a sense, you can “pay now or pay later”. (“Pay now” meaning the initial cost may seem more expensive, but over time will be minimized by less maintenance, less downtime, less headaches. Or “pay later” meaning a lower cost initially, but over time more expense through frequent maintenance, more downtime, more headaches.
After purchase price, we need to look at an area that may be thought about the least, but arguably should be considered the most. It’s the categories that we don’t automatically think about when we think about “price”, but these are a very important part of the equation when adding up to the total cost of ownership.
Some important questions to ask while comparing CIJ printers:
Do you see the reoccurring theme? Let’s face it, time is money. And the time that your production line is not running is costing your company money. Ask any Maintenance Manager who oversees a CIJ printer on the production line about their joys or pains. Depending on the CIJ printer, you’ll either hear “I press the go button in the morning for start-up, I press the red button in the afternoon for go home, and the time in-between I have no problems.” Or you’ll hear responses like, “my CIJ printer takes forever to start-up, I have to clean the printhead daily, I have to manually make adjustments to the printhead, it’s a mess.” So one of the factors that needs to be added in to the total cost of ownership is time. How long does the printer take to get up and running? What’s involved? How much time is spent daily on maintaining the printer, or more specifically, the printhead? Are manual adjustments to the printhead needed in order to maintain print quality throughout the day?
Is the printhead your friend or foe? For example, if daily printer startups takes 10 minutes every day x 7 days week x 52 weeks/year, that’s an average of over 60 hours spent just on getting the CIJ printer to print! How much is your time worth per hour? Do the math. How important is it to have a CIJ printer that does not require daily printhead cleaning nor any manual adjustments made to the printhead? How much time could that save? How much money could that save! That too is part of the cost of ownership that needs to be factored in.
While not all CIJ printers require factory air, many today do. So another cost as part of your analysis is factory air. How often does the air filter need to be replaced? What is the cost of the air itself? $400/year? And what about portability or rather mobility. Some manufacturers like to have one printer to move to multiple production lines at different times of the day. If so, how easy is it to move the CIJ printer if there is an airline connected to it? Will I need an airline added in another location? If you’re comparing a CIJ printer that does use factory air vs. one that does not, make sure to take those items into consideration as well. They too are part of your cost.
Also, and without getting into the details, it is important to know how frequently your CIJ printer will require scheduled maintenance. You’ll want to understand from your CIJ vendor what is recommended by the manufacturer and factor that into your cost.
Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to consumables. Ink consumption will be based on the volume used to mark your product. Solvent consumption has many variables based on ambient temperature and fluids management (i.e. are you wasting solvent on printhead cleaning, are you needing to refresh systems with new solvent when you haven’t finished your old solvent yet). Figuring how much ink and solvent your CIJ printer requires to put your mark on your product is part of the cost analysis. Also, in terms of purchasing fluids, make sure that you are comparing the volume of fluids per case. Some vendors will package and sell 6 bottles to a case; others will be 10 bottles to a case, so make certain you are looking at the total volume when looking at cost per case on consumables.
Replacement parts should be purchased from a manufacturer-approved source. Discount replacement parts (i.e. from a third party) may prove to be more costly due to increased maintenance & service costs.
So that’s basically it. The key to determining the total cost of ownership is to look at the total picture. And if you’re working with a reputable vendor of CIJ printers, they’ll alert you to this and even aid in figuring your total cost. The main thing to remember is that a CIJ printer with a higher purchase price does not make it a more expensive printer. In fact, it will probably save you money because of its quality, reliability, and longevity.
At the end of the day, what you’re really buying is value and peace of mind. If you have to continually stop your production line to babysit the CIJ printer because it’s time to add fluids, tweak the printhead, etc. on a printer that you saved a few thousand dollars on, you’re not saving money. With CIJ printers, you really do get what you pay for. Remember, it’s about dollars and “sense”.
And just like automobiles, you should be able to do a “test drive” of the CIJ printers before you purchase. A quality vendor will access your application needs, make a recommendation based on best-fit technology and provide you with a free, no-obligation demonstration of the CIJ printer on your production line. If they can’t or won’t do that, look elsewhere.
ST. LOUIS, (Sept. 1, 2015) – Diagraph recently launched the Linx 8900 – a next generation CIJ (continuous ink jet) printer featuring an error-free user interface and smart productivity reporting functionality. The printer is designed to maximize efficiencies during production, delivering valuable cost and time savings.
Capable of printing both human and machine-readable codes, the Linx 8900 incorporates a wealth of new features and reporting functions that speed up day-to-day operation and maintenance. Production monitoring is made easy with a unique screen saver mode that provides manufacturers with a simple visual status check, indicating whether throughput is on target or not.
This is part of a range of reporting features that provide at-a-glance real-time data, which also includes downtime information and batch counts. The Linx 8900 self-monitoring productivity reports can be easily transferred to a USB for archival and analysis purposes. The smart productivity reporting functionality allows operators and plant managers to identify patterns or reasons for any line stoppages, allowing for the quick implementation of changes, solutions or countermeasures to improve efficiency and productivity.
In addition to the productivity reporting functionality, the new system’s self-service module is designed for engineer-free service and minimized downtime, allowing operators to change filters and ink in one quick step with the help of the on-screen Self-Service Wizard to guide operators through the process. The easy and quick self-service functionality allows maintenance managers to schedule service times around production schedules, causing no need to take the printer off-line.
These smart reporting features and minimized service and maintenance requirements combine with Linx’s industry-leading sealed printhead to allow the Linx 8900 to perform reliably in even the harshest factory conditions. Linx’s proven autoflush system thoroughly cleans the printhead every time the printer is shut down, ensuring a fast and clean start-up when it is next required. The automated cleaning feature enables the Linx 8900 to be cleaned and ready for immediate use even after three months out of operation, making it ideal for periods of extended shutdowns.
The Linx 8900 is designed to be simple to use and maintain, minimize operator errors and identify opportunities to improve production line efficiency in real-time. For more information, call 800-722-1125.
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.
About Linx Printing Technologies Ltd
Linx Printing Technologies is a leading global supplier of continuous ink jet (CIJ) printers, case coders, laser coders, thermal transfer printers and thermal inkjet printers. Its printers and coders are used across many different industries where product identification codes, batch numbers, dates and barcodes are required.
All Linx products are designed with low cost of ownership in mind and are distinguished by reliability, robustness and ease of use. Linx products code and mark millions of items every day, ranging from bottles, packages and cans of consumer goods to pharmaceutical products, cabling, electrical components and car parts.
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.