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FEATURE PACKAGING SAVING YOUR BACON – TIJ OFFERS CODING BENEFITS


When Molls Bacon moved from labels to pre-printed film, it chose a centrally- controlled TIJ coding solution from Rotech Machines, reducing both set-up and running costs


I


n the first UK installation of its kind, Rotech has supplied Molls Bacon with a


five head, centrally-controlled TIJ (thermal ink jet) coding solution. The capital cost was a third less than the indexing thermal transfer systems that are usually specified for these on-thermoformer applications, and the bacon producer is enjoying low running costs thanks to the ink economy, reduced set-up times and zero servicing. “I’m very impressed that the only upkeep


I have to do on these printers is clean the heads twice a day. The unit is very efficient in regards to ink consumption there is still 40% ink left and we haven’t yet replaced the cartridges since they were installed in March. If I’d known then what I know now about TIJ technology, I would have had these printers on our other thermoformer,” said Matthew Oswell, engineering manager at Molls Bacon. From its Birmingham slicing and


packaging facility, Molls Bacon supplies the food service and retail markets with vacuum and MAP packed bacon, sold under its Cole Valley brand, as well as under customers’ own labels. Molls was


of companies look to replace TT and CIJ (continuous ink jet) printers with clean, cost effective and compact TIJ units. TIJ does not require ribbons, and units are lighter and more compact than TT machines. In terms of upkeep, TIJ printers have no replacement parts other than the inkjet cartridge. All of these benefits combined result in a much lower cost of ownership for TIJ versus TT. With the thermoformer producing 10


packs per cycle (two packs long, five across), Rotech’s solution was to fit five X1 Jet TIJ printheads in a fixed position across the web to print the film as it passes through the machine, eliminating the need for an expensive indexing system. Because of space limitations, the coders


already buying coding consumables from Rotech, so when it needed a new automated system for applying date codes and batch numbers to the film lids of thermoformed packs, it sought advice from the Hertfordshire coding company. Up until this point, Molls Bacon had


been overprinting labels with coding data, then using a label applicator to apply the labels across the web path. A move from labels to pre-printed film prompted the bacon processor to look at direct coding options. The industry standard solution for coding film on a thermoformer is to use a TT (thermal transfer) printer in conjunction with an indexing unit. However, these large systems are not only expensive to buy, but also to operate. In recent years, Rotech has become more involved with TIJ, as an increasing number


With the thermoformer producing 10 packs per cycle (two packs long, five across), Rotech’s solution was to fit five X1 Jet TIJ printheads in a fixed position across the web to print the film as it passes through the machine, eliminating the need for an expensive indexing system


Because of space limitations, the coders were installed in a staggered configuration on two frame assemblies, one below the other, with three on one row and two on the other


RETROFIT AND HIRE SOLUTIONS OFFER LONG-TERM BENEFITS


A fast-response service from Proseal that enabled ready meal manufacturer Rowan Foods to maintain production has cemented the working relationship between the two companies. In addition to three Proseal PR30 machines, installed in the late 1990s, and which are still in operation to this day, Rowan Foods has 23 Proseal tray sealers, comprising GT1, GT0 and GTR models, all delivering speed, reliability and quality. In particular, in recent years Rowan Foods turned to Proseal for a solution when the servos failed in


seven older machines from a different supplier, which were no longer being supported and, therefore, unable to function. Proseal is committed to supporting all its machines throughout their lifetimes, and as such, new features


that are developed can be retrofitted to models already in operation. This has enabled Rowan Foods to incorporate some of the latest improvements into its older pre-owned


models. Equally important, some of the company’s newest machines are hired rather than owned outright. This means Rowan Foods does not have to tie up large sums of capital or wait for expenditure approval while also having the advantage of servicing and maintenance costs taken care of. In addition, after two years, the company is able to exchange the tray sealers for new replacement machines In this way, Rowan Foods can remain at the forefront of new product development and adopt new


packaging trends for its customers. Among the various technical advances in Proseal tray sealers, the company’s E-seal technology ensures


excellent seal reliability to meet the stringent quality requirements of the food sector. Another innovation, ProMotion, the company’s continuous motion tray infeed system, can increase the speed of a tray sealer by up to 30% by providing a smoother, more stable journey for products into the machine. Proseal UK


www.proseal.com


were installed in a staggered configuration on two frame assemblies, one below the other, with three on one row and two on the other. The film web is coded in a vertical position before being applied to the pack. A further benefit of this set-up is that


rather than having individual control panels on each unit, the coders are all networked to a central PC. “Set-up time is far less than with


independently controlled coders,” explained Steve Ryan, sales manager at Rotech. “The X1 is ideal for centrally controlled applications. It is an entry level printer and doesn’t have a built-in interface unless a customer specifically requests one.” The printers use iDesign format creation


software, which enables the user to create and edit the print image from the central PC. It also provides useful information such as ‘job completed’ updates, print quality checks and ink consumption levels. “This configuration doesn’t require the


film to be indexed or the printer to be moved back across the web, so there is no need for an indexing unit and there is no ribbon wastage. Added to this, it’s a simple, easy to use installation that requires no maintenance or servicing - just the occasional replacement of a click- in, click-out cartridge,” said Ryan.


Rotech Machines www.rotechmachines.com


16 JUNE 2019 | PROCESS & CONTROL 


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