What are the top 5 considerations when buying a date coder?
Choosing a date coder can be confusing. So how do you make sure you have the right technology? Each manufacturer has unique requirements, but there are a few basics that everyone should consider; otherwise you’re setting yourself up for issues. Firstly, clearly define your needs. This quick Q&A is a great way to start.
Q. What are you printing?
A. A use-by date on primary packaging? Batch codes on secondary packaging? Multiple different message types? Clearly outline everything you need to print.
Q. What are you printing onto?
A. Cardboard, wet glass, plastic, film, wood, cloth … every substrate has different properties, which affects the way a code is printed. Lasers are popular across many industries (e.g. beverages, pharmaceuticals, snack foods), because they offer a very fast way to print high-quality, permanent codes on almost any substrate, such as glass, plastics, metal and cardboard.
Q. What is your line speed?
A. Production line speed determines your date coder’s required capability. Continuous inkjet printers (CIJs) have the advantage of being able to clearly mark on most packaging substrates even at very high production speeds. They are also easily integrated on to a conveyor production line.
Q. What is your factory environment?
A. Is your factory dusty, wet or cold? Some manufacturing environments can be challenging for technology. Choosing a date coder that’s built to withstand your environment will ensure longer use and greater reliability.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. Always think about your future needs. Are you expecting to grow, print on different substrates, introduce new SKUs or print different messages? Each of these will impact your date-coding needs.
Q. What do I do now?
A. Thinking about running costs will help determine the date coder with the best ROI for you. Consider your factory’s current technology: can the date coder easily integrate with minimum disruption to your production line? Do your team need additional training? What kind of support does the equipment provider offer? It is critical to choose one with local maintenance teams who have the skills and resources to install, service and fix the date coder should anything go wrong.
Q. I’m after labelling equipment, not a date coder.
A. Perfect; these same basic points above also apply.
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