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TIJ Transforms Coding Process for African Food Distributor

21st December 2020

MacPhilips Foods Ltd is a UK distributor of African Foods which they supply to wholesalers and retailers across the UK and Europe. Their quality products include seasonings and spices, palm oils, flours, maize, starch, beans and a range of tinned produce

With large shipments of foods being widely distributed from their Essex-based factory, the reliability and speed of product date coding and batch coding is essential. However, their Continuous Inkjet Printer (CIJ) was becoming troublesome and expensive; issues with missing codes meant product recalls, resulting in goods being shipped back from Holland at great cost to the company, along with high consumable costs and associated down time.

High maintenance and support costs were another issue – without the system support agreement in place, the printer supplier would no longer send engineers to site.

It was during this problematic period that Rotech made contact with the warehouse manager, as a follow up to previous conversations. The timing of the call was perfect and Rotech was asked to visit their factory to advise them on how to achieve all of their coding needs with a more reliable and cost-effective solution.


A sticking point when coding bottle tops

One of the company’s key products is palm oil, which is used extensively throughout the food manufacturing industry. They manufacture and process two types of palm oil brands, pre- and non-labelled. They wanted to print codes onto the lids of the palm oil bottles so that they had one method of coding, however they had issues with the adhesion of the ink.

Rotech sales manager, Steve Ryan, outlined the implications of printing codes onto lids, particularly when they come into contact with fluids or, in this case, oils. To test the quality of adhesion on their bottle tops, we used a thermal inkjet printer to print onto the lids – the adhesion was good, however when we put palm oil onto it the print wiped off.


One Printer for multi-purpose coding

Knowing that they needed a simple but effective solution to meet all of their needs, we suggested that it would be easier, cleaner and more efficient to print their codes directly onto the label. This would provide a solid, reliable code which they could apply to any of their products. To demonstrate this, we installed a small X1Jet directly onto the labeller, set it to print the ‘best before’ date and batch number in the 3mm area.

The results were instantaneous – a reel of labels was precisely coded in a matter of minutes, clearly marked and still firmly in place when wiped with oil.

For added flexibility, we showed them how the printer could be simply unplugged and moved onto the conveyor line for direct printing onto the pre-labelled bottles, and adjusted to any position to print on any of their other products – for short or long runs. They were convinced, and along with the many other benefits that the printer offered, the solution was perfect and an order was placed.


Low cost, clean, no maintenance coding

The X1Jet thermal inkjet printer is not only small and clean, it produces high-quality prints at high speeds at the touch of a button. Up to 400,000 prints can be achieved from a single cartridge, which simply clicks in and clicks out for replacement. With their current usage of around 15,000 prints per day, their consumable costs are very low and there is no contact with ink - no spills and no mess. Further, it requires no maintenance.

For added ease of use and convenience, we engineered a simple, adjustable and portable floor stand for the printer, allowing them to easily position it onto the labeller, or at any point on the conveyor line, enabling them to print each a full range of products precisely.

Warehouse Manager, Andrew Ekechukwu, said “I would like to express my sincere thanks for making the printer installation happen so soon after the survey. Words cannot express how happy I am with the set up and the printer itself - this will make my life so much easier and eliminate the constant headaches I used to encounter. A special commendation for Marcin, the installation engineer, for his professionalism, attention to detail and workmanship. He is a massive credit to Rotech and easily one of the best engineers I’ve ever met and I’ve met a lot!”

If you have a similar application, or you would like to speak to one of our experts about how you could benefit from using thermal inkjet technology, please contact us