Centralised Marking Brings Improved Barcodes and Traceability to Vegetable Producer.

A leading vegetable producer prepares for growth by upgrading to a centralised marking and coding system. Resulting benefits include increased efficiency, improved traceability, fewer quality holds and rejects, and an overall better customer experience.


A large vegetable producer supplying major retailers had issues with its date printing equipment causing barcode readability issues on the cases of hydroponic butter lettuce grown in their facility. Poorly printed barcodes created the potential for the product to be held up in quality holds or rejected entirely by their customers. Traceability also became an issue with the outdated technology of their current marking system, which was unable to integrate with their data system. 

The coding and marking solution included MPERIA® L-Series Thermal Inkjet Printers (TIJ), all controlled from the easy-to-use MPERIA platform and controller. Integrating data from their business system with MPERIA provides additional assurance that products can be successfully traced in the event of a recall or related issue. Not only does this keep them from potentially incurring compliance fines, but it instills additional confidence in their customers reselling their products.

The Challenge

The company had genuine concerns about the performance of the printing equipment on the production line. Poor print quality led to rework, product scrap, and rejection of the butter lettuce cases by customers due to the information printed on their PTI (product traceability initiative) label being unreadable. 

In addition to needing better print quality of the marks, the company also required the ability to track and trace its products. Not only as a company that prided itself on quality but also to stay current with traceability requirements. Integrating their database with their marking technology was critical to making this happen.

The Solution

The print quality issues were solved by integrating data from its business system easy with the MPERIA platform and controller and MPERIA L-Series L-50 Thermal Inkjet Printers.

The MPERIA L-Series L50 printheads drastically improved barcode readability on the cartons of butter lettuce, with consistent, high-resolution marks. The installation of the L-Series L-50 printheads led to a significant decline in product rework and scrap. It increased satisfaction and confidence in the production team that their carton marks were living up to the same high quality that their company’s produce is known for. 

The MPERIA Platform and Standard Controller streamlined operations and reduced the risk of accidental human error by allowing print management, message creation, editing, and marking data flow from one central location. MPERIA also allowed for successfully tracing its products in the event of a recall or related issue, preventing them from potentially incurring compliance fines or losing customer confidence in the quality of its products.

Improved print quality.

Improved print quality was also achieved with the Matthews L-Series L50 printheads. The L50s provide the company with the ability to print crisp 2” marks and on its cartons of butter lettuce. With easily readable marks, they were able to confidently print their traceability barcodes and product information to help their customers in distribution and reduce scrap and rework.

Easy to use software. 

The all-in-one MPERIA platform and controller gives a single point of contact to control a production line. With MPERIA’s easy integration, data from a business system can automatically print on every case to reduce coding errors and increase overall efficiency. They can also add new printers and devices at any time without needing to purchase additional controllers, MPERIA allows them to quickly scale their operation while maintaining centralized control from one controller.

The Results

The company experienced immediate improvement in the quality of the barcodes printed on their cartons with the L-Series marking systems.

Less rework and scrap mean employees spend more time focused on the tasks adding value to the production process. And management has renewed confidence that the products shipped to their distributors for accounts like Walmart and Kroger would not be subject to quality holds or rejection.

Centralised management of marking data and integration into the business data system enabled efficiency gains on the production line and gave the company peace of mind in its traceability initiative. Plus all the employees appreciated the intuitive nature of using the MPERIA controller; they were up and running in no time and did not require technical training to become comfortable interacting with it, saving time and money. 

For further information call Xact on 0151 479 3020 or email info@xactpack.co.uk

A Leading Producer of Pickles and Peppers, Streamlines Production With the Help of the MPERIA® Marking and Coding System.

A pickle and pepper producer has been delighting customers for more than 95 years, annually producing millions of cases of pickles, peppers, and relish in their 300,000 sq ft facility. Ten production lines produce both six-pack cases and 12 pack cases of their branded products as well as third-party products.

The company found that dated marking equipment required substantial maintenance and it didn’t provide the flexibility needed for the variety of tray packs with the company prints on. Additionally, the barcodes printed were inconsistent and not always readable, causing quality holds and potential rejection by their customers in distribution centres. Needing a new solution they shopped the market for a company with better technology and top-tier customer service.

“We looked at 3 or 4 other companies and other marking systems, but we chose the MPERIA L-Series thermal inkjet solution  for a variety of reasons. Number 1, we liked their technology. We liked the cartridge system, because every time we changed cartridges, we got a new printhead installed. We liked the options – they had bag systems or bulk systems. And the setup and customisation we were able to do, Matthews worked with us throughout the whole project to a large testing timeframe, and we were able to do customisations that we needed to do. I thought the customer service was just excellent, so that’s a lot of the reasons we went with Matthews.” – Head of Manufacturing

The Challenge

The company was faced with illegible barcodes and unreliable marking equipment that was expensive to maintain. The old dot matrix style of printing experienced clogged ports that caused lines in their barcodes which made them unreadable. The legacy system was inflexible and they were forced to deploy two different sets of printers to accommodate the variety of cases and tray packs they need to mark. And their customers wanted a better print setup that enabled barcodes to be scanned from a greater distance.

The Solution

The solution was to install the MPERIA L-Series thermal inkjet printers on ten manufacturing lines. The stitched L-Series L1 TIJ printers provide high-resolution 2-inch marking capability on both sides of their tray packs and cases. The solution includes the intuitive, easy-to-operate MPERIA controller for each of the production lines as well as the ABIS bulk ink supply system, allowing it to run nearly non-stop.

“So we worked with them to install VIAjet printer technology and that has proved to be very, very reliable, very clean and very good barcodes.” – said the Head of Manufacturing.

Unlike the old print technology that required two different sets of printers, one set for six-pack cases and one for 12 pack cases, the MPERIA L-Series solution consolidated everything into one print area. This markedly improved efficiency while substantially reducing the maintenance burden.

Three ways the company increased production:

1. Reduced scrap and re-work.

Crisp, clear, legible barcodes from the MPERIA L-Series gave the company exactly what they and their customers in distribution needed. Cases and tray packs of pickles did not have to be re-worked because of poor print quality, ensuring a productivity boost while reducing quality holds in distribution centres.

“We saw a reduction of 70-75% downtime related just to printer technology. And then we probably reduced our quality holds related to printing issues around 80% just by going to the new technology.” – Head of Manufacturing.

2. Substantial maintenance savings.

Unlike the legacy marking system that required regular monitoring and maintenance, the MPERIA L-Series is incredibly easy to maintain. Swapping the print cartridge means a new printhead each time, removing one of the main pain points from the legacy system. 

3. Improved flexibility.

MPERIA L1 printheads are very compact and offer the additional benefit of being able to be stitched together in an array allowing larger prints or specific mark sizes. The company eliminated a redundant set of printers and consolidated everything into one print area by deploying the L1s.

“Previously, we used to use two different sets of printers, we used one set of printers for six-pack cases and we used a second set of printers for 12 pack cases, and by going to this system, we consolidated everything into one print area.” – Head of Manufacturing

The Results

The company was able to achieve a 30% reduction in the cost per mark on their cases and tray packs after installing the MPERIA L-Series solution. Additionally, they experienced a 70-75% reduction in downtime related to printer technology and a decrease of nearly 80% in quality holds related to marking problems from the legacy system.

“Through ink savings alone, we will have the entire cost as a capital project paid off in two-and-a-half years. And there’s an immense amount of maintenance savings and labour hours savings…..” – Project Manager

For further information call Xact on 0151 479 3020 or email info@xactpack.co.uk

Manufacturer of Dietary Supplements Saves Time, Reduces Waste, and Increases Marking Flexibility with New Coding Solution.

Seeking to eliminate labour and errors due to previous product carton embossing process, a leading pharmaceutical company chose a more flexible marking and coding system.

The Challenge

A leading pharmaceutical manufacturing facility sought a new solution. After the company purchased new L-Series thermal inkjet marking and coding system, time previously spent operating the old system was cut by as much as 1.5 hours per print run, errors and resulting waste were significantly reduced, and the ability to print on bottles—in addition to boxes—was gained. These benefits yielded a complete return on investment for the manufacturer in less than three months.

The Pharmaceuticals manufacturer produces a variety of dietary supplements and functional beverages. To mark two lines of lot numbers and best before dates on their product boxes after the contents (bottles or sachets) were packaged and prior to the overwrapping process, the company used a box embossing printer. This was labour intensive to set up and operate plus if the mark was incorrect the boxes could not be re-printed, resulting in lost time and waste.

Additionally, at least one of the four staffers managing the marking and coding process had to operate the embossing printer. That process could take as long as 1.5 hours to print a single batch of approximately 1,640 boxes. The box embosser was also unable to mark the bottom of bottles, forcing the company to instead mark labels with lot numbers and best before dates in a separate process, then apply them to the bottles.

VIAjet™ L-Series L12 thermal inkjet printing system was connected to their packaging line, and a successful trial run of both boxes and bottles was undertaken.

Engineered for industrial and packaging marking—such as batch codes, date codes, fixed and variable texts, graphics and barcodes—on porous and non-porous materials, the L-Series L12 sports a 0.5-inch thermal inkjet printhead capable of making up to 0.5-inch-tall marks in either horizontal or down print directions. It can be configured to mark high-resolution print (600 x 600 dots per inch) at speeds up to 200 feet per minute, or to mark 600 x 75 dots per inch at high speeds up to 1,660 feet per minute, easily accommodating the BF SUMA’s desired production rate of 25 to 40 marks per minute.

The management team were impressed by the ease of set up, flexibility afforded by the TIJ system. Although the company was only considering using the L-Series to imprint on boxes, the demo proved it capable of marking the bottom of its bottles.  The system also gave a wider range of printing options such as text size and variable lengths.

The Results
LABOUR SAVING: Since the installation the company have eliminated one labour hour per person, as the printing happens automatically once the boxes are conveyed to the device.

SPACE SAVING & EASE OF USE: Additionally, the marking system is much smaller than the previous embossing printer, which was so large it required dedicated floor space.

WASTE REDUCTION:  The company is also able to do away with printing separate labels for bottles, as the same VIAjet printer can be used to mark the bottles directly and in different character sizes and lengths.

FAST ROI: Due to all these benefits, the company achieved a full return on its investment in the VIAjet system within three months.

Xact is a full-service provider of marking technologies from World Leading manufacturer Matthews Marking Systems. Our experts will be happy to provide you with free, no-obligation advice on your marking requirements, including on-site at your production facility.

For further information call Xact on 0151 479 3020 or email info@xactpack.co.uk