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FEATURE BARCODING, LABELLING & PACKAGING


OFFLINE CASE-MARKING minimises human error


Pre-marking boxes enables users to install only as many systems as they need to meet their capacity requirements rather than installing a separate unit at the end of each line


Many of today’s food manufacturing


facilities face an ever-expanding variety of products passing through multiple packing lines. In these situations, pre- marking boxes enables users to install only as many marking systems as they need to meet their capacity requirements rather than having to install a separate system at the end of each line. For example, one early adopter of the RF-Box Feeder uses just two systems to mark up the boxes for 3.5 million packs of sandwiches each week. The RF-Box Feeder takes flat boxes


The offline, stack-to-stack RF-Box Feeder enables users to pre-mark flat cases prior to erection and filling typically coding 50 to 150 boxes per minute


he new RF-Box Feeder from Rotech enables the fast, efficient feeding of secondary packaging including flat boxes and cartons into and out of labelling and coding systems. Enabling users to pre- mark flat cases prior to erection and filling, rates vary depending on the box length and marking technology but typically range from 50 to 150 boxes per minute. The ability to mark-up secondary packaging offline meets a growing need in today’s grocery market where the emerging retail channels of discount, convenience and online will account for all the growth over the next 10 years as conventional supermarkets decline. For many food operators this shift is driving a rapid rise in the complexity of their logistics operations as demand grows for mixed cases and little-and-often deliveries to a wider range of locations. With this in mind, having a supply of boxes that are pre-marked with information about their contents and destination helps minimise the chance of human error as products reach the end of the packaging line. “Pre-labelled boxes tell operators what they need to do,” explains director


T 26 NOVEMBER 2015 | FACTORY EQUIPMENT


Richard Pether. “If the box is already labelled ‘prawn sandwiches’ they know they should be filling it with prawn sandwiches not ham. Each box can be marked up with its destination or whatever code it needs to ensure products end up in the right place. “Rotech’s RF range is well established


for offline marking operations in primary packaging. The RF-Box Feeder is in response to a surge in demand we’ve received from secondary packers looking to adopt a flexible and cost-effective offline approach.” Offline coding speeds up overall operations by removing the need for a marking step within the packing line itself. This can be an important advantage in high-speed production environments, especially when handling perishable products with short use-by dates such as chilled foods. Marking boxes while flat enables users to apply codes and labels that will cover two sides of the box once erect. This would be much more complicated and expensive to achieve once the box is assembled. “The cost savings will vary with each


application but the system will always be much simpler,” says Pether.


from the bottom of a horizontal stack and feeds them through the user’s chosen marking system, stacking them again neatly on the other side. Two conveyors working at slightly different belt speeds optimise the gap between each box so a photocell can trigger the marking system as each item approaches. This enables the RF-Box Feeder to achieve the optimum throughput in terms of boxes per minute at the lowest possible belt speed. With expert knowledge of the range of third party marking systems available Rotech is not tied to using its own technology and can help users choose the optimum system for each application whether that’s an inkjet printer to code directly onto the box or a label printing and dispensing system, for example. Rotech’s handling expertise means that the RF-Box Feeder is optimised to provide a compact, ergonomic solution. “The handling aspect of packaging systems is too often put together on an ad hoc basis and performs in a way that is not optimal,” concludes Pether. “Our RF-Box Feeder is reliable, simple-to- operate and extremely cost-effective. Again, just how big any savings will be will vary with each project.” The system dimensions are 2020 x 530


x 1575mm (not including the marking system). It handles boxes ranging from 200 x 200mm up to 700 x 400mm with a minimum card thickness of 3mm. Box size changeovers take a few moments.


Rotech Machines T: 01707 393700 www.rotechmachines.com


/ FACTORYEQUIPMENT


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