INCREASING the efficiency of printing and applying barcode labels to shrink wrapped shipping trays was one of the jobs on the packaging line at Campbell’s Soup plant at Shepparton, in rural Victoria.
“The imported print and apply machine used for the job had been operating at about 70%, instead of a desired figure of around 90%,” explained Len Tricarico, capital and engineering manager at the Shepparton plant.
“We did get it up to about 90%, but it was a twelve month journey to get it there … the delay, we felt, was attributable to it being an imported machine … and part of the delay was some waiting for parts to come in.
“Whilst the machine was doing a job, we thought we would be better off with a locally made machine. We were familiar with Tronics , as we already have their equipment elsewhere in the plant. So, we elected to change to a Tronics iLabel SS print and apply machine.
With the changeover to the new machine a few teething problems were reported … “it was more to do with programming.”
Although the new unit has not been set at maximum speed it is comfortably keeping up with the flow of trays coming off the conveyor line. It is expected that it will achieve a rate of over 50 trays per minute, with efficiencies in excess of 90%.
What is being noticed at the Campbell’s plant are certain operational advantages:
First, a label width of up to 180mm, with a print area width up to 160mm, plus a print ribbon reel capacity of 900m. For an average size label, (80mm high), that is around 10,400 labels, before needing to load a new ribbon. Additionally, should Campbell’s choose to do so the company can run the machine without ribbon with a simple parameter change in the print engine and a change of label stock.