Small Character Continuous Ink Jet Printing System replaces multiple industrial labeling products
Buffalo, NY is not only known for it’s proximity to Niagara Falls and its snowy winters, it’s also home of a very special treat... Culinary Arts Specialties’ cheesecakes. Culinary Arts Specialties has been in business since 1980, producing and labeling cheesecakes for numerous customers. While it currently produces about a dozen different flavors of cheesecake, that number changes as frequently as the customers’ requests that new products be added to the company’s menu.
Recently, Culinary Arts decided it was time to make its production process more efficient. One of the procedures the company decided to focus on was the way it marked its products. Since its product were perishable goods, the company needed reliable means of placing date codes on both its primary and secondary packages. Up to that time, the company had been using various industrial labeling products to mark the packages, typically utilizing label guns for primary packages in unison with one of many methods for identifying secondary packages, including impact printers and hand held coders. Unfortunately, frequent message changeovers and product changes proved the two-pronged coding approach to be extremely time-consuming and tedious. Culinary Arts Specialties decided to look for a quicker, and more efficient method of coding, eventually turning to St. Louis, MO-based printing equipment manufacturer, Diagraph Corp.
Now, Culinary Arts uses a Linx 4200 Small Character Continuous Ink Jet Printing System (CIJ Printing System) from Diagraph for printing on its primary products. An extremely versatile machine, the Linx printer allows Culinary Arts to mark primary packages which includes chipboard boxes for the company’s customers that freeze the cheesecakes and plastic dome packages for its bakery customers. One of the primary benefits of the system lies in the ink. “The ink used in the Linx printer dries instantaneously so there is no smearing, and that was one of the concerns we had,” says Brian Vanderbrook, plant manager for Culinary Arts Specialties. The printing system uses a special fast-dry ink formulation which virtually dries in a second, so even the plastic dome packaging becomes dry to the touch almost immediately after it is marked. The Linx printer also drastically reduced the time that it took to change a message. Because Culinary Arts is now able to save pre-set messages in the printer, thanks to its message storage feature, message changes are now as simple as the touch of a few buttons, according to Vanderbrook. “You just punch in the number (of the stored message), and the current date is added right into the message, then printed on to the product on-line.” Vanderbrook says. After the cheesecakes are coded, they are placed into a master case, a secondary corrugated carton, which moves through a carton sealer before it passes by Diagraph’s Series I Large Character Ink Jet Printers.
Patented design These printers are drop-on-demand units that use patented Integrated Valve technology to generate highly legible markings by utilizes precise fluidics and powerful solenoids to deliver perfectly-formed ink drops. In addition, the unique valve design isolates ink from all internal mechanisms to prevent any ink-related failures. Culinary Arts uses one Series 1 printer on each side of the line so that the message is printed on both sides of the carton, to print date codes as well as the description (size and flavor) of the cheesecake. Using on-line systems such as ink jet printers has proven to be a very efficient method since, as with the cheesecake containers, the message being printed on the master case is variable. Also, the Series I printers have enabled the company to print fonts ranging from 1/4” to 2” tall on the same line to make the message aesthetically appealing. Vanderbrook says he is very satisfied with the new on-line printing capabilities at the plant, saying the new systems are “much less labor-intensive” compared to the previous set-up. In addition to the helping increase productivity, Culinary Arts was decidedly pleased to have a single-source solution for both its small and large character coding needs.
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