Continuous inkjet Overcoming condensation in dairy and beverage coding applications
The major challenges dairy and beverage manufacturers deal with are the fast speeds of their lines and the moisture and condensation on their packaging from the production and pasteurization processes. Linx has multiple coding solutions to address these needs.
There are several major challenges in coding and marking that dairy and beverage manufacturers must overcome in day-to-day operations. First, they can be high-throughput environments where line speeds must be maintained with virtually no downtime. Second, it is common that different products with varying sizes and packaging substrates are being produced throughout the course of a run. Third, different substrates may require different coding technologies. It is also important to note that due to high temperatures and condensation, the beverage manufacturing environment can be a challenging one for printer performance, due to high humidity.
Continuous inkjet (CIJ) is a fluid based, non-contact printing technology that can apply alphanumeric text, linear and 2D bar codes, or graphics on a variety of packaging types and materials. The benefits of CIJ include:
• Simple line integration
• Wide selection of inks for specific application needs
• Able to keep up with the demands of high-speed dairy and beverage lines
CIJ inks have been developed to address the coding issues created by condensation present on products and packaging. Formulations have been specifically engineered to maintain code quality and adhesion, even in these challenging environments.
To address moisture concerns, Linx has developed inks which dry rapidly and do not smear when interacting with condensation. When coding for a cold fill operation, there may also be an air knife used to blow away large drops of water from the beverage container right before printing. The very thin layer of condensation which is left over will not smear the ink and the codes will remain clear and crisp. Videojet offers two different types of inks for this application, returnable and non-returnable, and both perform well when condensation is present. The difference being if the container is to be returned and reused, the ink can be washed off.
Many dairy and beverage manufacturers will put their products through a pasteurization process after filling and coding glass and plastic bottles. This is done to clean and kill pathogens from these containers prior to shipment to consumers. Linx has taken this into consideration when formulating our inks to help ensure the printed code will survive this critical process and remain bold and readable.
Other inks have also been specifically developed for printing on returnable glass bottles and steel kegs for beverage. When using an appropriate set-up, printed codes will be rub-resistant within just seconds after application. And where required a standard 2-3% caustic solution can remove these inks, meaning they can be returned to manufacturers for reuse without worry of a previous code still being present.
Since there is a multitude of different packaging materials available, Linx offers a number of different ink formulations in order to achieve excellent performance on a wide variety of material types.
Regardless of which dairy or beverage manufacturing challenge you face, there is a Linx coding and marking system available to meet your specific needs. Working with an expert supplier can make all the difference in your success. A Linx expert can complete a thorough evaluation of your facility, packaging materials, line speed requirements and your integration needs. With expertise and data, we can help you select and implement an ideal solution that can help add value from the day it is installed.