When a major retailer tells its consumer packaged goods (CPG) suppliers that they must comply with new case-coding requirements, suppliers most often do comply, especially when that retailer represents a significant percentage of a supplier’s revenue. That said, compliance with new case-coding requirements can take a bite out of supplier revenue and take up additional floor space.
For example, assume a new case-coding requirement includes printing a GTIN141 bar code and other information identically on all four sides of a corrugated case so that no matter how the cases are stacked and/or palletized, a GS1-compliant readable bar code is presented. In most situations a supplier’s packaging line must be modified to comply with this new requirement, and implementation can result in increased costs and reapportioning of floor space.
When confronted with such new requirements, suppliers will seek solutions that minimize impact on both costs and floor space. In collaborating with markem-imaje2, Benda Manufacturing is able offer a low-cost, small-footprint solution that can be adopted by CPG suppliers large and small.
The solution comprises a Benda bump-and-turn conveyor section with four markem-imaje direct-to-carton large-character ink-jet print heads that use wax-based, high-optical-density “hot melt” inks. This print technology is proprietary to markem-imaje. The print heads are very compact and can be positioned as low as necessary to place a bar code and text near the bottom of a case side, but are also fully height-adjustable. The markem-imaje print system accepts downloads from a user’s MRP or ERP system, and the information can also be modified once it’s in the printing system to meet any special requirements.
The conveyor section is only eight feet long, thus minimizing floor-space impact. For large operations, the bump-and-turn section can be placed permanently into an existing packaging line. For smaller operations, where cost is a major consideration, the bump-and-turn section can be modified by Benda Manufacturing so that it can be moved easily from one line to another.
Here’s how it works: as a carton or case enters the conveyor section, two guides on either side, each containing markem-imaje print heads, position the item, which then encounters a bump-turn post that rotates the piece 90 degrees. The carton or case then passes through another pair of guides, also with print heads, and exits the section with the required bar code, text, logos, etc., printed on all four sides.
As many cartons are rectangular and not square, proper orientation for downstream processes such as manual or robotic palletizing, can be accomplished easily by adding another bump-turn post. For those applications requiring other printing and labeling technologies, the Benda Manufacturing/markem-imaje collaboration can provide a fully-integrated and optimally engineered solution.
1 - Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier for trade items, and was developed by GS1.
2 - Markem-Imaje is a trusted world manufacturer of product identification and traceability solutions, offering a full line of reliable and innovative inkjet, thermal transfer, laser, print-and-apply label systems. Markem-Imaje delivers fully integrated solutions that enable product quality and safety, regulatory and retailer compliance, better product recalls and improved manufacturing processes.