High-Speed Sleeve Date Coder for UK Meats Company
How Puredrive Fine Foods is reaping the benefits of the udaFORMAXX offline sleeve feeder for printing date codes on carton-board sleeves.
Part of the Dutch owned Zwanenberg Food Group, Puredrive Fine Foods produces cooked sausages, meatballs and formed meat products at its Corby factory. Around 100,000 sleeved products leave the factory each week destined for retailers, food service companies and other food manufacturers.
The company had previously been using an older sleeve coding system with thermal transfer printer as well as a foot operated hot foil printer to print 1 line use-by date codes on a variety of sleeve types and sizes for its different product lines.
When planning for Christmas production, it was clear that this system would be unable to handle the number of sleeves that would need coding each day. As Victoria Carlton, Packing Room and Despatch Manager, explains: “With our existing equipment, we could print date codes on around 30 sleeves per minute. Even with an operator on the machine for a full 12 hour shift, 6 days per week, we still would not be able to achieve our target.”
Looking at it simply, we would be able to code in just one hour what had previously taken a full 12 hour shift.
An internet search led Puredrive to PrintSafe and the udaFORMAXX sleeve coding machine. The udaFORMAXX is a standalone ‘stack-to-stack’ feeder that can be used to feed and code packaging, such as sleeves, cartons and crash lock boxes, in flat form prior to packing.
The high-speed, offline system offers a potential throughput of 600 sleeves per minute. It also adjusts very easily for different sizes making it possible to code multiple product ranges on one machine.
Initial testing of five different sleeves demonstrated that the udaFORMAXX, with alphaJET mondo inkjet coder, could increase Puredrive’s throughput from the current 30 per minute to between 300 and 500 per minute.
Carlton says: “These initial numbers represented a huge potential cost saving for us. Not only this, it would ensure that we could confidently fulfill our projected orders. Looking at it simply, we would be able to code in just one hour what had previously taken a full 12 hour shift.”
A visit to another food producer, coincidentally on the same industrial estate, already using a udaFORMAXX sleeve date coding machine cemented the ROI justification.
PrintSafe worked really quickly to get a system in place for us and have continued to support us allowing us to focus on delivering high quality products to our customers.
Within just a few days of installation, the offline coding system had proved its worth. Says Carlton, “As far as coding was concerned, Christmas production was a completely different story from the previous year. When you think that we were able to print all of the sleeves needed for the day’s production in a matter of hours just ahead of time. This removed any potential hold-ups and freed operating resource for other areas of production and packing.
“With the inkjet and accurate positioning provided by the sleeve coding system, we were able to guarantee high quality, accurate codes. This meant much less wastage – another cost saving.”
One of Puredrive’s concerns was ease of use for operators. PrintSafe provided full operator training on installation. Because both the sleeve feeder and integrated alphaJET mondo inkjet coder have been designed to be as simple as possible to set-up, adjust and use any concerns were very soon allayed.
Carlton says: “Just one look at the system and you can see that it has been well designed and built. It is very easy to make adjustments for different sleeve sizes. The touchscreen on the inkjet is also a benefit. We can store all of our messages ahead of time and just need to select a couple of icons on the screen to be ready for printing.”
Carlton concludes: “We remain impressed by the sleeve coding system and the cost-saving and operational benefits. PrintSafe worked really quickly to get a system in place for us and have continued to support us allowing us to focus on delivering high quality products to our customers.”