- Technical seminars a resounding success in explaining RFID and laser technology updates
- IDSnet integration demonstrations mimicked benefits in a real plant
- Laser bar coding demonstrated with DataLase
- Fibre YAG launched: ideal usage to code flexible snackfood films
- Continuous inkjet coder launched: prints up to five lines of text, graphics and bar codes at single-printed line speeds
- SX 7/SX 16 DOD entry-level, carton-marking systems launched: can print on porous or non-porous surfaces
- International guests and speakers impressed with Auspack
Laser marking bar codes onto cartons and laser coding flexible packaging were two areas attracting the attention on Matthews’ Auspack stand
Phil Biggs, Matthews Intelligent Identification’s national sales and marketing manager, says the seminars examining RFID technology versus bar codes, plus the technical demonstrations were also well received.
“Our Auspack tag line was 'we plan to not be noticed', which stems from the way we approach business solutions for clients: it is all about reliability and complete integration of the coding and labelling equipment in to production lines and business systems.
“However, it was ironic Matthews was noticed a fair bit,” Biggs quips, “particularly when we were awarded ‘new product’”.
More than 100 people packed out Matthews’ technical seminars.
“I think the reason for their popularity was that the topics are top of mind at the moment. At the same time, both RFID and laser-reactive materials are not widely used in industry today, but offer tremendous advantages for the future,” Biggs says.
“Our first speaker was an international guest, Rick Fox, who heads up FOX IV Technologies, a solution provider for various implementations, including Wal-Mart. Rick spoke about the successes and challenges of various RFID implementations in the USA.
“What got a lot of people’s interest was Rick making a case for retaining bar codes in many traceability applications.
“Rick is also formally involved with GS1 USA, and was recently inducted into the ‘US ADCA 100’, recognising him as one of the top 100 contributors to data-capture technologies.
“The second part of the seminars looked at laser-reactive materials, specifically DataLase. Such materials have the potential to significantly change how packaging is coded and bar coded on production lines.
Trevor Wilson, VP of DataLase’s business development, came out to Auspack to outline how the latest developments can be used effectively.
“Many attendees were keen to hear about the successful Patties Foods RFID pilot in Australia that Matthews was involved in. Mark Dingley, who heads up Matthews’ Identification Systems Group, took the audiences through a précis of the key findings.
Probably what people were more interested in was Mark’s overview of how integrating coding systems into any business system delivers a strategic approach to coding, rather than mere compliance!”
Seminar topics were backed up with technical demonstrations.
“All equipment on the stand was integrated through IDSnet, allowing us to demonstrate the benefits of integration in a plant.
For instance, during a product changeover on a packaging line, we can change all coding and labelling devices, including TUN and SSCC barcodes, to the correct set-up via a very simple bar code scan.
“Integration is something Matthews has concentrated on because it gives back control to manufacturers.
Many companies have used contract packagers, because they are specialists, but you can lose some control. Integrating an entire plant means activities are not doubled up on, it is simple and you have increased control.”
“We were also able to show people what we talked about in the seminars with laser-reactive materials and laser bar coding, the first time either of these has been done in Australia.
“It was pretty fantastic to see people’s disbelief give way to lots of excitedly nodding heads at the fact a laser could bar code cartons so clearly and so quickly.
This drew a significant amount of interest from manufacturers and retailers alike. It was certainly pleasing for Trevor Wilson, who could come out from the UK to support Matthews around Auspack, to see such interest in Australia.”
DataLase is a laser-reactive material placed on fibreboard and the like. It allows laser coding on substrates not normally able to be marked by laser.
“Lasers have no consumables, so operating costs to mark the primary or secondary packaging item drop dramatically compared with other coding technologies. On medium-volume production lines, investment payback can be less than a year.”
But, says Biggs, of equal impact is the fact this method reduces carton-inventory costs, as generic cartons can be marked, as needed.
The other laser technology to attract much interest was the new fibre YAG, which Matthews launched at Auspack.
“This laser can mark flexible films, yet not pierce through the substrate which has drawn incredible interest from the snackfood and confectionary industries.
Neither does the fibre laser require a special marking field; the original one created for a small character inkjet code generally suffices. These lasers can also mark metal materials.”
Maintenance-free fibre lasers have several benefits over CO2 laser technology key being a life expectancy more than three-fold.
New product launches:
Among the new products Matthews launched were the new Linx continuous inkjet, the new 6900. This premium machine is suited for a wide range of coding needs.
The fully featured coder can efficiently print up to five lines of text, graphics and bar codes at single-printed line speeds of up to 8.4m/s. The printer is washdown rated (IP55), to ensure ease of cleaning; with an optional IP65 rating for dusty production environments requiring an extra level of protection.
Matthews Intelligent Identification also launched the new SX 7 and SX 16 DOD inkjet coders. These are a reliable, entry-level, carton-marking system that can print on porous or non-porous surfaces. (They do so using pressurised ink canisters, eliminating the need for an external ink pump.)
Phil Biggs says with the stand always busy, Matthews was pleased at the interest in the live demonstrations, integration benefits, new products, advanced technologies and seminars.
“Our international guests Rick Fox, Trevor Wilson and Bob Bobertz from Linx who all came to support us around Auspack, were impressed with the show, and the number of genuine inquiries that came flowing through. It certainly made their trips to Australia worthwhile.”
Linx’s Bob Bobertz says, “Of particular interest to me at Auspack this time were the number of attendees who seemed to have specific projects on hand. In other words, they were not just window shopping for ideas but actually looking for equipment to purchase.
“We launched the 6900 in Australia at Auspack, and, as always, the Matthews team did a perfect job of designing a marketing mix that culminated in the public showing.”