There are always several options when choosing a date code printer encoder. So, how do you choose the right encoder for your application? Choosing a date encoder without first clearly defining your requirements can lead to problems for your business. So how do you ensure that your business has the right technology to meet its needs, now and in the future?
While every business’ needs are unique, there are a few things that every business should consider when investing in date coding equipment.
1. What will you be printing Date Code Printer?
Which date coding device you choose depends on the codes you will be printing. Are you printing a best before date on the primary package? Or a batch code on the secondary package? Before you start, take a moment to clearly outline what you need to print (everything). If there are several different types of information, you should also consider what they all mean. (The difference between best before and expiration dates is outlined here).
2. What will you be printing on?
Paper, card, wet glass, plastic, wood, fabric – each material has different properties that will ultimately affect how the code is printed. Lasers are a popular choice for companies in a range of industries – beverages, pharmaceuticals and snacks, to name a few – because they offer a very fast way to print high-quality, permanent codes on virtually any substrate, such as glass, plastics (such as PET, polystyrene and polypropylene), metal and cardboard.
3. What is the speed of your production line?
The speed of your production line will determine the output you need from your date coder. For example, continuous inkjet printers (CIJ) have the advantage of being able to clearly mark all packaging materials at all production speeds. They are also very easy to integrate into the assembly line.
4. What is your current production environment like?
Dusty? Wet? Cold? Some production environments may be challenging for technology. Choosing the right date encoder for your particular environment will ensure longer life and greater reliability.
5. What are your future plans?
It doesn’t make sense to invest in a date encoding solution that will no longer meet your business needs in 12 months. Think about your future plans: Do you expect to grow? Will you be printing on other substrates? Will you introduce new SKUs or print different information? All of these will affect your date coding requirements.
Barcode printers and labels for inventory control in the food industry are not only a labor saver, but in this age of traceability and expiration dates, they are critical for controlling food during storage. Barcode printers make checking perishables especially easy, as a simple scan enters all the information a computer needs.
Barcodes are printed on traditional or industrial printers and applied to food products. This makes it easy to store large amounts of information, allowing products to be distributed with full traceability and safety.
Most large retailers, such as major supermarkets, distribute most food products from large regional distribution centers that have refrigeration and freezer departments where supplies can be loaded and unloaded directly into cold storage and freezers.
However, this poses a problem for food inventory control because no printer, including industrial printers, can operate at temperatures below freezing. This is because the print heads are extremely sensitive to heat and will fail at near-zero temperatures, meaning that food label printing in these large distribution centers must be done in a warm office. Given the size of many of these regional frozen or refrigerated distribution centers (FDC.CDC), this often means a thirty-minute walk for an unfortunate worker.
But it’s not just the workers’ shoe leather that suffers. Transportation handling at these centers is also disrupted, affecting the entire distribution chain:
o Disruption of transportation schedules as drivers have to wait for labels before they can unload/load.
o Saves time for employees who have to walk to and from the printer on a regular basis, which can often take more than thirty minutes to complete
o Complicates labeling and causes inventory control issues as well as the possibility of mislabeling products
o Delayed shipments affect supermarket inventories and discourage customers from buying the products they need.
Many large grocery retailers have found a solution with the use of a heated printer enclosure. They allow standard printers to be used in temperatures below -30 degrees. These enclosures keep the printer, and especially the print head, warm so that the device can be used even in the middle of a freezer.
Once installed, these heated printer housings significantly reduce shipping time to these centers, improve operations and logistics, and eliminate the possibility of mislabeling.