Coding of cardboard boxes
Hundreds at a time. Bottles, vials and cans in all shapes and colours. Empty when they start their journey, filled and labelled when they go onto the pallets. At Jodima, they make car coolants, windscreen washers, cleaning sprays for rims, dashboards… The challenge for their labelling is therefore flexibility. An interview with production coordinator André De Nijs.
“We do everything here ourselves,” André begins. “We mix, fill, label and prepare everything on the pallets. And all that as automatically as possible. Do we receive an order via our ERP system? Then it automatically informs our suppliers. So that, for example, our one-litre bottles arrive just in time. Without us having to make any calls.
“Almost no product has a separate line here. The surface area of our hall does not allow for that. Each line must therefore be able to handle several products. This requires a flexible production process in which each component can be included. From the filling installation to the labelling solution. For example, we have a labelling system that not only labels all round, but also one and two sides. Without loss of quality. Because all products that leave here eventually end up on a shop shelf. The visual aspect is important in our sector. If the label is crooked or uneven, we sell less. It’s as simple as that. If it doesn’t look good, it reflects on the content anyway.”
“For the customer, a properly applied label seems so obvious… but it’s not. I think labelling is one of the more complex issues in our production. So many factors come into play: the temperature, the shape of the bottle, speed, the label material, the print quality… Everything has to be right.”
“For me, flexibility also means fast changeovers. That determines our output, turnover and service to our customers. We must be able to switch quickly between all those products. Both digitally and with manual operations. If it takes our operator more than an hour to change over our labelling machines, I don’t want it any more. That, too, has to be done quickly.
More quality, fewer collisions
“Our latest collaboration with Codipack is the Diagraph. This is an inkjet printer for applying bar codes to cardboard boxes. The inkjet prints directly onto the boxes and works in tandem with a labelling machine. It is one of the few lines that does constantly run the same product.
“The Diagraph’s travelling arm guarantees the right printing distance every time. Because a cardboard box is not dimensionally stable. By allowing the print head to move with it, the quality remains high. And that is important for something as precise as a barcode. Not every printing system can handle this quality at this speed. Another advantage is that the moving wheel prevents the boxes from colliding with the machine.
“We have been printing with this Diagraph for two years now. And I haven’t had any problems with it – not even a blocked nozzle. The line has never stood still, not even for maintenance. It cleans itself in a fraction of a second. And even if a box passes by just then, there is no loss of quality.”
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