Dr Paul Doody, marketing director, Linx Printing Technologies, told FoodProductionDaily.com coding and marking is typically only a small consideration to most producers but the consequences of getting it wrong can be costly.
Changing pack shapes
“The demand for portion control, whether it’s from consumers or parents controlling children’s portions, leads to additional coding and marking challenges,” he said.
“It means printers are required to code onto more varied substrates, and at different angles, to reflect changing pack shapes and sizes. Inaccurate coding, whether through the wrong code or the print being delivered outside the correct area of the pack, can lead to product scrappage, which is particularly costly in an industry where perishable goods often can’t be recoded.”
The company, whose clients include Coca-Cola, Mar and Heineken, announced it started construction of its headquarters in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, recently where it will consolidate the separate buildings currently occupied by its various operations into a single facility employing 250 people. It will open in Spring next year.
The 41,000 sq ft will house research and development laboratories, sales and administration offices, manufacturing and assembly lines, and storage and distribution areas, along with customer training facilities.
“The building underlines Linx’s confidence in our continued growth and development,” added Doody.
“Even during recent troubled economic times, Linx has performed well, demonstrating there is still demand for reliable equipment that meets the needs of all types of manufacturing operations.”
Frequent line changes
He said as manufacturers and brands strive to make their products stand out on the shelves, we are likely to see an increased demand for shorter runs, which means more frequent line changes.
“Add to that changes in legislation The challenge for us is to make sure we continue producing flexible coding and marking machinery which is capable of adapting to the need for quick changes of code, but is simple to set up and use,” said Doody.
“Of course margins are being squeezed constantly, which will result in increasing numbers of manufacturers looking for different ways of owning machinery, such as leasing.”
He added in a fast moving production environment, manufacturers need to know their coding equipment can be trusted to perform its basic task without interruption. This is an area where making the right choice of equipment can help, for example by choosing machines with easy-to-use picture-based interfaces, which can reduce the likelihood of error and speed up changeover times.
Additionally, major customers such as supermarkets may require to oversee early production personally to satisfy themselves that their quality requirements can be met straight away – another reason why coding machines must be able to deliver straight from start-up, with the first print as good as the last.
China and the Middle East
Future-proof coders, which allow add-ons to be integrated at any time, mean users can react quickly to changing trends, customer demands or legislation without having to trial, test and gain expenditure approval for more machines.
Talking about emerging markets, Doody said the company was excited at the opportunities still presented by China, South America and the Middle East and recently spent time strengthening the teams in these regions.
Linx Printing Technologies will be exhibiting on stand S-112 by Linx's distributor partner Reliable Industrial Coding & Marking Systems at Gulfood Manufacturing (November 9-11).
On display will be the Linx CJ400, Linx 5900 and Linx 7900 continuous ink jet printers, the Linx TJ725 thermal inkjet printer, the Linx IJ355 and IJ375 case coders, the Linx SL302 laser coder and the Linx thermal transfer overprinter (TTO).