A thermal transfer printer and a print and apply labeller from Clearmark Solutions have reduced label printing errors at three times the speeds of previous alternatives at Whitby Seafoods.
In a bid to reduce downtime caused by inefficient legacy coding equipment, Whitby Seafoods commissioned Clearmark to install a Zodiac HS thermal transfer overprinter (TTO) and a Vulcan print and apply labeller on two of its packaging-house lines. Significantly reducing label printing errors, the system is three times faster than traditional alternatives and has enabled the company to keep pace with growing production demands.
Whitby Seafoods sources, processes, packs and distributes over 9,000 tonnes of seafood each year, supplying several major UK supermarkets and processors. With business increasing, it was evident that its coding and labelling equipment needed to be replaced to avoid unnecessary downtime and increase throughput. However, as the company supplies to a range of retailers, it was important that any new coders and labellers could be networked for various production cycles, to ensure both primary and secondary packaging leaves the factory with the correct variable information.
Clearmark identified that its primary and secondary coding portfolio plus CLARiNET networking technology could provide far greater printing capabilities, accuracy and performance for Whitby. It specified a Zodiac HS TTO primary coder and secondary Vulcan print and apply labeller on two of Whitby’s packaging house lines. As well as allowing codes to be easily printed onto flexible packaging bags at the desired throughput, the specified solution also enables relevant secondary packaging information to be applied at the end of the line accurately, with minimal wastage.
The ICE Vulcan is significantly more advanced than Whitby’s previous labelling system, running at speeds up to three times faster than traditional machines, says Clearmark. Its small footprint enables easy integration, while its special ribbon drive means it never misses a label, regardless of line throughput, build pack or pack size. And as 80% of traditional wear parts such as the slip clutch and nip drive are removed, the system also delivers improved reliability and reduced expenditure on consumables.
Now, Whitby’s operators can be confident of correct labelling even after a product changeover – something that could not be guaranteed with the accumulation system of the company’s previous labelling solution.
With a smooth installation being supported by an intuitive error-proof operator touchscreen, operator training was simple and easy, causing minimum disruption to production. The benefits to Whitby Seafoods were clear from day one. “The Vulcan labellers have allowed us to significantly reduce label printing errors,” explains John Tate, asset operations manager at the company. “Being able to check a job file from the office via the coder touchscreen also provides added peace of mind.”
Following the project’s success, Whitby has recently purchased a third Vulcan labeller with an accumulation system, delivering a full end-of-line solution. When installed, there will be a Vulcan print and apply labeller on all three of the company’s packaging lines.
“Since investing in our first ICE coder, we’ve continued to be impressed with the reliability of the machines,” adds Tate. “It makes sense to continue to install ICE printers as we expand, knowing they work well with other machines in the factory and can easily be added to the existing list of networked coders and labellers.”