Videojet has spoken out about the trend for firms to snap up sub brands to expand their portfolio, as it installs printing software at Britvic UK.
The drinks manufacturer which makes Robinsons, J20, 7UP and Tango, has seen as an increase in demand for its soft drinks and asked Videojet to improve its production speed of the volume and amount of data it can print on a can.
23 million codes
Sergio Zamora, vertical marketing manager for the Beverage Industry, Videojet, told FoodProductionDaily.com its 1620 UHS (Ultra High Speed) Clarisoft and Clarinet software is over 40% faster than its existing printers and can increase production line on cans of Britvic’s soft drinks by 30 metre/minute.
He said it is increasing the line speed by 25% to 150 metre/minute and increasing the size of the print character from 7x4 to 7x5.
Zamora said the 1620 UHS technology has printed 23 million codes onto the cans without having to clean the printhead.
"We have seen an increase in product proliferation, where large and small brands are starting to expand their portfolio to accommodate for additional sub-brands,” added Zamora.
“This diversity will facilitate targeting desired markets more easily. For example, global brands such as Coca-Cola are adapting to changing consumer demands with additional flavours and compositions such as Coke Light, Coke Cherry and Coke Vanilla.
Pepsi Cola cans
“The acquisition of smaller brands by larger corporates is also becoming a trend. This leads to the need for faster production and more demand for labelling and coding systems which have the capability of keeping up with line speeds and producing the best coding and labelling quality possible."
Paul Ash, maintenance technician at Britvic manufacturing factory in Rugby, said the company has been working with Videojet for 18 years but it was looking to upgrade its Excel 170i UHS (Ultra High Speed) machine, installed in 1996.
The Rugby site cans Pepsi-Cola products as the company has an exclusive agreement in the UK with PepsiCo to make and distribute its global brands.
For legal requirements and traceability purposes, Britvic codes two lines of text with a best before date, Julian date, lot number, line number and site number because poor code quality can lead to financial penalties.
“The age and number of prints is now showing on the older coders so we were looking at the next generation of machine,” said Ash.
Restarting the jets issue
“Our current machines need a continuous ink and makeup change with cleaning every 10 hours, with a cycle time of approximately nine minutes per machine. While the running is okay, there is a four minute shut down and restart.
“Not only that but operators that clean the machines aren’t always gentle, which can cause issues with restarting jets.”
Ash added staff now clean the printhead once a week when there is no pressure from the line being down.
He said due to high print makeup and ink volumes, the ink lasts three to four days, maybe more.
Zamora said the machine is installed with a patented CleanFlow printhead which delivers longer runs owing to the flow of filtered air and reduces ink buildup that can cause ordinary ink jet printers to shut down.
“The 1620 UHS can perform up to 14,000 hours between planned maintenance or approximately 19 months for around the clock operations,” he added.
“It has a countdown meter to monitor the amount of time remaining before the core has to be changed.”