Continuous inkjet (CIJ), an ink-based
coding and marking method, is particularly
useful for more complicated snack food
applications where the film is not flat, as
with preformed pouches and bags with
resealable zippers. CIJ can print up to
five lines of text on a variety of packaging
types including stationary packaging via
traversing systems. For applications where
CIJ is a good choice, laser marking may
also be a viable solution based on the
specifics of the substrate.
Case coding solutions, including
direct-to-case printing and print-and-apply labeling, are usually integrated on
the conveyor after the sealed case has
been discharged. Printing this variable
information directly on the case or label
simplifies packaging demands and
reduces changeovers by standardizing
on common cases for different trading
partners. High-resolution barcodes, lot,
batch and supplier-specific information
printed on labels and directly on cases can
create a traceability point that is visible for
warehouse, wholesaler and retailer use.
Considerations for Selecting
To ensure production line efficiency and
uptime, and to best meet changing retailer
and consumer needs, consider these
three key points for selecting coding and
1) Substrate of packaging: The
equipment needed is highly dependent
on the material on which the
ingredients and other information will
be printed or marked. Talk to an expert
and have samples of your packaging
material printed/marked with different
technologies to help you find the ideal
solution for your material.
2) Setup/environment: The setup/
environment of production influences
the type of equipment that’s needed.
For example, if the conveyor setup for
cases is belt-driven vs. roller-driven,
print-and-apply labeling can offer better
flexibility than direct-to-case printers.
Other criteria to keep in mind when
selecting equipment is whether the
environment is cold or wet, as well
as the degree of maintenance rigor
3) Retailer requirement: It is critical
that manufacturers understand the
packaging and labeling requirements
of their retail customers. For instance,
some retailers require multi-sided
coding on the case while others specify
different colors for their shelf-ready
The bottom line is that increased line
changeovers can lead to coding errors,
which can have real costs for snack food
companies. Manufacturers need user-
friendly coding solutions that help to speed
line setup and changeover while also
limiting the opportunities for user error.
Keeping in mind the substrate of what
the code will mark, what your production
setup and environment entails and what
retailer requirements you need to meet
will help determine the best coding
solution matched to your needs. There are
a number of factors that will determine
which coding solutions will best-suit your
operation, and these factors are not static.
Manufacturers should select a coding
solution that offers dynamic solutions to a
constantly changing industry.
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