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

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