FAQ

You will find the following information on this FAQ page. If you can’t find what you need, please call us on 01962 761761 and we will be very happy to answer any questions that you have.

Buying coding equipment from PrintSafe

Offline Coding


How do I know which coding solution is best for me?

There are a number of questions that we would ask you to determine which coding system is the most appropriate:

  • What are you printing onto?
  • How much information do you need to print – how many characters/lines?
  • What type of information do you need – simple mark, date code, bar code, 2D data matrix code?
  • What is your factory environment?
  • Do you already have automation in place?
  • What is your line speed?
  • What throughput are you looking for?
  • How many different batches and typical batch size?
  • What are the other stages of the production process (e.g. heating, cooling, packing, verification)?
  • Are there any integration or networking requirements?
  • What are your future plans?

With any customer, we would always run through these and other questions. Just about the first thing we do with any requirement is to test-print samples to verify the best method and the most suitable ink or ribbon (including replicating as far as possible further processes that the product has to go through before reaching your customer).

Sample testing and a site visit are the best way to ensure that we recommend the most appropriate machinery.


Which customers do you work with?

Our customers span a diverse range of industries. We have a large number of customers in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries who use our offline coding systems. Our printers are also used by food industry customers within their online production – often integrated with packaging machinery (e.g. cartoners, sleevers, flow-wrappers).

Our customers range from small independent companies to household name producers – covering just about everything in between.

KBA-Metronic (whose machines we supply) has a long heritage in industrial applications (automotive, aerospace, cabling, building materials, extrusion). We have printers in use in multiple industrial applications in the UK. These are predominantly inkjet (CIJ) applications.

If you would like to speak to one of our customers, we would be very happy to put you in touch with someone who is using our machinery for a similar application. Please call us on 01962 761761.

What is the relationship between PrintSafe and KBA-Metronic?

PrintSafe is the sole UK and Ireland distributor for KBA-Metronic machinery, consumables and parts. This does not preclude us working with other coding machinery manufacturers (and we do occasionally fit other manufacturers printers to our offline feeding systems) but the majority of installations are for KBA-Metronic equipment. We like the fact that it is designed and manufactured in Germany, well-built, reliabled and backed by a large R&D investment.

What level of support do you offer?

We have a team of engineers that covers the UK and Ireland.  They provide, installation, support, maintenance and training services. We provide free first-line telephone support to all customers. Standard support is available in normal office. Out of hours servicing is available if required.

We offer free machinery health checks to all customers but do of course recommend regular servicing by one of our engineers.

Do you provide training?

Engineer and operator training is provided on installation. We can arrange this to cover multiple shifts if required. We also schedule additional engineer and operator training courses either at your site or at PrintSafe HQ.

What is the lead time on buying new equipment?

Standard equipment is normally available from stock. If customisation or integration are required we will provide a revised lead time when quoting.

Can I try before I buy?

In most cases, yes.  We are always happy to bring a trial system to site or you can of course come to us. When you send us your samples we will send them back with a video showing them being printed.

Another option is to go for a rental system which lets you try it out over a longer period to prove the benefits before you buy. When you decide to go ahead with the purchase we will discount the rental amount against the purchase cost (to a pre-agreed maximum).

What refurbished equipment do you have available?

This changes from week to week. Offline feeding systems make up the largest part of our refurbished stock. We can generally supply these with either a new inkjet or refurbished thermal transfer or hot foil printer.

How do I order inks, consumables or parts?

You can email sales@printsafe.co.uk or give us a call on 01962 761761 with a detailed description of what you need.

 

Offline coding

What is offline coding and why might I need it?

Offline coding generally refers to standalone semi-automatic coding systems that print codes (lot codes, best-before date codes, bar codes, 2D data matrix codes) on packaging in its flat form – prior to packing.  Such systems can also be used for printing things like plant tags, identity cards, lottery tickets – anything that can be fed through the system.

Typically, our customers use offline coding systems for printing cartons, sleeves, crash-lock boxes and pouches.

There are a few reasons why you might need an offline coding system:

  • You are currently applying date and batch codes manually (hand stamping or stickering) and increasing throughput is making this too labour intensive. Also the code quality may no longer be adequate
  • Your product can’t be coded as part of your online process – because of the packaging characteristics, product orientation or other constraints
  • You need extra capacity or a way of handling short runs of lots of different batches (including different packaging types and sizes)

How does offline coding work?

Packaging is fed in its flat form from stack to stack using either a narrow belt or conveyor (depending on the model). A photocell detects the pack edge and programmed setting place the code accurately in the designated print area as it passes under the print head.

You can fit both a labeller and printer to a feeding system so that you can apply, for example, both a date code and promotional label.

You can also fit more than one coder – perhaps a thermal transfer printer for certain batches and an inkjet for others where higher throughput is required.

What products can I code on a standalone or offline system?

Our FORMAXX offline systems can be used for printing on most packaging that can be fed in its flat form (min  W 300mm ,L45mm and max W 450mm, L 500mm). There are occasionally some packs that are trickier to feed – perhaps because of their size or profile – which is why we will always want to test print prior to accepting an order.

  • Cartons
  • Sleeves
  • Watch strap bands
  • Crash lock boxes
  • Bags
  • Pouches
  • Outer cases (depending on size)
  • ID cards
  • Plant tags
  • Seed packets

 What sort of speeds can I expect?

The FORMAXX technical documentation lists a maximum print speed of 1000 pcs or 90 m per minute. Actual print speed is determined by pack size and the type of coder (for example hot foil is stop-start so will be slower than inkjet or thermal inkjet) or whether there is a label applicator fitted.

Typical print speeds when used in earnest in customer applications range from 150 per minute up to around 500 per minute.

What printer do you recommend?

The date coder that we supply will be determined by:

  • What you are printing
  • What you are printing on
  • Print orientation
  • What your operators are comfortable with

Continuous inkjet (CIJ) and thermal inkjet (tij) are now the most common coders that we supply. We also fit a good number of thermal transfer printers. Some customers still prefer hot foil for its low maintenance and simplicity but it can restrict throughput.

The FORMAXX offline system integrates natively with alphaJET equipment, but we can also integrate other manufacturer’s printers.

Can I use an offline system for labelling?

Absolutely. You can use the system with a label applicator for applying a variety of labels – including promotional spot labels. You can add a printer and label applicator on the same system – lots of our customers have done this. KBA-metronic does not have its own label applicator, but the FORMAXX offline system integrates easily with most applicators – including Herma, ALS, Atwell.

What is the difference between the FORMAXX ‘i’ and FORMAXX ‘c’?

Both are offline feeding systems and from a distance look very similar. The ‘i’ version uses a narrow belt to grip the edge of the pack to move it between stacks. It is suitable for most applications. The ‘c’ versions uses a broad conveyor belt to transport the pack – one main advantage is that there is no unprintable area.

Have you found the answer you need? If not, please feel free to call us on 01962 761761 to speak to someone in our sales or technical team.