Mexican Express hots up food packaging line

Friday, 12 May, 2006 | Supplied by:

The addition of a new product to its range of specialist Mexican cuisine triggered a need for Adelaide-based manufacturer, Mexican Express to upgrade ('hot up') its labelling line to a fully automated process.

First, there was a need to apply labels to a range of plastic bottles of different sizes and with different profiles - flat sided, round and oval.

Second, there was a need to code the plastic containers with batch numbers and other variable data, including 'Best Before' dates.

Space limitations, on the floor of the production area, placed another set of limitations on the labelling equipment - there was a critical need for an unusually small footprint for the labelling machinery - including the necessary vacuum wrap, overhead stabilising conveyor and the front and back label application heads.

The modular design of the Tronics Series 3 machine allowed a solution to be quickly put together - a solution that met the production requirements of Mexican Express as well as giving the ability to fit in the limited floor space available.

As to the speed of the labelling process, Mexican Express's line needed to achieve a moderate rate of 40-50 bottles per minute with labels on both the back and front of the bottles.

The Tronics Series 3 labeller has integrated stepper motor control systems that ensure accuracy and consistency of label application across a variety of production speeds and label types. The synchronisation of all the machine modules guarantees front and back labels are always accurately positioned for best on-shelf presentation.

Rather than have separate AC motors for the different functions on the labeller, stepper motors are used to ensure synchronisation of all labelling components. This approach eliminates variations in positioning of labels, caused by voltage fluctuations and mechanical irregularities.

For Mexican Express's coding requirements the Videojet 43S's stainless steel construction presented advantages over other materials, such as plastic. The automatic print head flushing reduces the need for the operator to clean the head daily.

The Videojet coding unit can print three lines of text and can now meet the demands of present coding regulations, as well as those into the future. Changing from one message to the next is also easy as the pre-formatted messages can be changed on the fly.

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