BHC Coding Systems Ltd would like to assure all of our customers that we are fully operational and available to help you in these challenging and difficult times. The office can be contacted at any time on 01-8902070 or by email email@example.com All consumable and parts orders will continue to ship daily.
The deadline for the New plant health requirements will come into force in the EU on December 14th 2019. The purpose of the new plant health legislation is to help protect Plant health across EU Member States from the introduction of harmful pests and disease. It will help to prevent the entry in to the EU of specific harmful organisms and also prevent and limit the spread within the EU. It will also help ensure that Ireland and the EU complies with strict International standards.
The legislation will require all plants for planting sold between professional operators including nurseries/garden centres to have a plant passport. A new format or style of plant passport will bring a level of standardisation across the European Union.
All professionals trading or selling plants will be required to register with their national authority, The Department of Agriculture, in Ireland.
There some standard elements to the new Plant Passport.
- The EU logo in the left-hand top corner
- The word plant passport in English and possibly other EU languages
- the letter “A” followed by the botanical name of the plant;
- the letter “B” followed by the two-letter country code for the Member State hyphen the company registration number;
- the letter “C” followed by the traceability code of the plant. This may be in addition to a barcode, data matrix or chip);
- the letter “D” followed by the two-letter country code of the country of origin and, where applicable, the name of the third country.
For movements in EU protected zones it is necessary to print the words “Plant Passport – Protected Zone” and the scientific names or EPPO codes of the relevant protected zone quarantine pests. PZ will now replace ZP as used previously.
Further requirements for the EU plant passport:
- must be attached directly to the commercial unit (e.g. pot container, bundle, package)
- must be clearly visible and legible
- must be unchangeable and durable
- must be separate from other information on the same medium
- must contain the information in a rectangular or square text area
You can find detailed information about new plant health regulations from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM)
Contact us at +353 1 8902070 or Adrian Hudson @ +353 86 0441044 for information on how BHC Coding Systems Ltd can help you to comply with the new plant passport requirements or visit www.bhc-linx.ie
BHC Coding Systems Ltd are the proud sponsors of the Amateur Football League Referee’s Association for the second year.
Brian & Anne presenting the Amateur Referee of the Year Award to Mr Gary Leeper.
The outlook for the dairy sector is positive, particularly as incomes rise and nations become increasingly urbanised, meaning individuals tend to receive more of their calories from proteins (which includes dairy) rather than carbohydrates (such as grains). This factor means global demand for dairy is expected to rise by 2.5% per annum to 2020, also driven by rising incomes in emerging markets, for example the growing popularity of dairy products and cheeses in Asia.
Health and nutrition are also contributing to dairy’s growth. Some dairy companies are starting to use sustainable nutrition (healthy food that has been produced in an enviromentally-friendly way) in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this there is a significant trend, particularly among millennials, to seek natural foods such as probiotics.
There are other market trends to which the dairy industry is responding , for example the move towards smaller portion sizes, both to counter the food waste as well as rising levels of obesity. On the go consumption is also growing, as is the demand for convenience solutions.
The development of new products leads to new packaging formats. Convenience examples include reclosable stand up pouches for grated cheese; a four pack of 4oz yoghurt pots meets the need both for smaller packs and a “grab and go” solution; a 3/4oz cheese stick offers the benefits of a healthy snack at just 70 calories per portion.
When you buy your groceries, the chances are that you read the ingredients and the price, and glance at the sell-by date.
But that sell-by date or batch code is a vital part of the packaging. Not only does it tell the consumer by when to use the product, but it also includes traceability information to help protect you, the consumer. And that information is a legal requirement.
So it is important that the code is clear and legible and remains so during the lifetime of the product, so in the event of a recall for instance all the affected products can be correctly identified and returned. Manufacturers need to be able to trace their products back to the raw materials, to help identify the possible source of a product problem, and the batch code forms an essential part of this process.
CIJ, or Continuous Ink Jet, is widely used as a method of applying batch codes onto products because it is quick, non-contact and is supported by a vast range of ink types. New inks are continually being developed in response to changing packaging, and ink innovation is becoming faster as consumer and market drivers speed up this packaging development.
Inks are therefore as varied as the number of applications: from edible inks for coding onto eggs and pharmaceuticals, to robust inks for extruded drainpipes that withstand UV exposure.
All inks will have slightly different performance characteristics, often by virtue of their solvent base, and these need to be considered when determining the correct ink to use.
- General-purpose inks offering excellent adhesion and contrast on a wide range of porous and non-porous substrates, such as paper, metal, card, plastic and glass.
- Pigmented inks offering a higher level of opacity are especially useful if printing onto dark surfaces. These inks do not bleed on PVC or other flexible plastics and have a higher level of resistance to heat and light, making them ideal for use on items intended for the open air. They also offer good chemical resistance and are therefore suitable for use in situations where solvents such as perfumes or aerosol products are used.
- Specialist inks designed to operate under particularly challenging conditions or to perform in a specific way such as UV-readable inks, colour-change inks, removable inks & food grade inks.
How to choose an ink for coding
When choosing an ink for coding purposes, there are five key areas to consider:
- What does your application require?
- Drying time
- What is the speed of your production line? Certain inks dry faster than others, so if you run a high speed production line you may need a fast-drying ink. Particularly if the coded products come into contact with each other, production line equipment or operators soon after coding
- Adhesion requirements
- Will the ink stick to the material you are printing onto? Is there a risk of smudging or smearing? Non-porous materials such as some plastics can be harder to print onto; whereas highly porous materials could cause the printed code to ‘bleed’
- Special requirements
- Such as withstanding sterilization or pasteurization processes? Ensure that any print samples produced by your CIJ supplier are then put through your processes to test how well they stand up to them
- Post-printing exposure
- Once printed, codes may be exposed to a range of chemicals and environments during their life cycle, including UV light. Ensure that your supplier has tested their inks against these
- Is the ink designed specifically for your printer?
Beware using third party inks not produced specifically for your CIJ printer. CIJ manufacturers will test their inks in their own printers, and using alternative inks may produce inferior results e.g. poor adhesion or clarity of code. Ultimately they could cause poor printer reliability, resulting in costly downtime and complications for your production line.
Comprehensive testing of inks is carried out by CIJ manufacturers in their printers to ensure:
- The ink’s characteristics, such as viscosity, are specifically matched to the printer. Incorrect viscosity will cause print and printer problems
- The ink performs consistently in a wide range of operating environments including humidity and temperature. If it does not then the print quality will suffer, the printhead may suffer build-up of ink and require more frequent cleaning, which will result in extra cost and downtime for the user
Inks often contain mixtures of solvents which evaporate as the printer is used. It is important to add the correct type of solvent to ensure the inks ingredients remain stable and to maintain ink adhesion.
- What quality assurance does the ink have?
Quality assurance should play an integral role in your decision-making process. Given the responsibility of manufacturers to print quality, durable codes onto products, they will want reassurance that the inks they choose have been rigorously tested at the development stage and are manufactured according to strict protocols and specifications.
Check that your supplier holds the relevant certifications: quality inks will have their properties tested against certified and verifiable ISO 9001 quality control procedures.
These procedures include:
- Close control of critical ink parameters
- Micro-filtration of ink and solvent to ensure impurities are removed
- Full traceability of all new materials used in every batch of ink.
The shelf life of the ink may also be a factor in the decision. All containers of ink and solvent should display a use-by date, after which they must not be used. If an ink or solvent is stored longer than the recommended time, adverse chemical changes can take place. Quality ink manufacturers will be able to provide prospective customers with details of tests they have carried out to confirm that when the ink is used within its shelf life, users can be confident of ink performance.
- What health and safety requirements must you conform to?
Original equipment manufacturers are aware of their responsibilities to customer safety. Quality inks will have accurate product data, labels and safety datasheets that are up to date with the latest international regulations. Manufacturers will also be able to give help and advice on many issues relating to the safe use of inks and solvents.
Other issues to consider include:
- Does the chosen ink comply with your health and safety policies? Will you need to provide ventilation or protective clothing on your production line?
- Choose a printer which is designed to minimize operator contact with ink and solvent, for example by using a clean process for adding ink and solvent to the printer.
- What solvent base should you consider? If coding will take place in a ‘closed’ or ‘clean room’ environment, such as that found in the pharmaceutical or food sectors, then a low odour solvent or one designed specifically for these applications should be considered.
- Inks must be packaged and labelled according to the latest EU legislation, with appropriate safety guidelines. This also identifies those that carry hazardous pictograms such as ‘Acute toxicity’, ‘Serious health hazard’ or ‘Hazardous to the environment’. A good manufacturer will be able to supply regulatory information such as heavy metal content, and statements regarding hazardous materials such as phthalate plasticisers, ozone depletors, endocrine disruptors, etc
- Environmental responsibility is another factor. ISO 14001 (which is held by the most reputable ink jet companies) demonstrates sustainable policies for reducing the environmental impact of inks and solvents, and commits the company to continuous environmental improvement.
- Printer Type
Finally, the model of printer used will impact on the choice of ink. As we have already covered, inks are developed for, and tested in, specific printers. For example, heavily pigmented inks will require dedicated printers which are designed to keep pigmented particles dispersed. So choosing your coding solution has to be made with the printer in mind, as well as the ink.
Coding and marking is a necessity in today’s society, but there is no straightforward choice when it comes to choosing an ink; the range of inks available is extensive, and making the wrong ink choice can have serious consequences for a business.
Reputable manufacturers are there to help provide you with the right ink (and printer) for your application.
EASY-TO-USE CODERS CAN COPE WITH DEMANDING APPLICATIONS
Linx Printing Technologies is extending its recently-launched Linx 8900 CIJ (continuous ink jet) printer with the introduction of two models which further enhance the range’s capabilities.
The new Linx 8920 and Linx 8940 combine the proven benefits of the Linx 8900 with a series of additional enhancements that deliver even faster line speeds and easier set-up along with a further extension to service intervals, enabling the coders to deal with the most demanding of applications.
A unique feature of the new models is the first-in-class Advanced System Monitoring feature. The Linx 8920 and 8940 have extended the original 8900’s already impressive service interval of 13,000 hours or 18 months, to 18,000 hours or 24 months. At the same time, in recognition that all printers are used differently, Advanced System Monitoring provides a continual check of the printer’s operation in terms of ink system running parameters and environmental conditions. This enables it to identify simple actions that users can take to prevent unscheduled stoppages, helping to ensure the continuous reliable operation of the printer and avoiding unplanned downtime.
The two new models also offer a ‘50 named lines’ feature that further increases flexibility and ease of set-up, ideal for operations that have frequent changeovers. The coding requirements for each different production line can be given a specific name, which can be called up and selected from a pre-inputted list. This both saves time and minimises the danger of set-up errors.
In addition, the Linx 8920 and Linx 8940 are able to print up to five lines of code. Both offer a top speed of 6.25m/s for single line coding, with the 8940 being able to print up to 16% faster than the Linx 8920 for other print formats.
The Linx 8940 meanwhile improves on the IP55-rated construction of the 8900 and 8920 with an IP65 rating that prevents dust ingress as well as providing wash down protection, offering a higher level of protection for a coder that has to operate in more challenging environments.
Linx says the new models are part of its continuing Voice of Customer programme that ensures its ranges of coders remain in line with current and future market requirements.
“Feedback on the Linx 8900 has been hugely positive with customers particularly highlighting its ease of use, simple servicing and reliability,” explains Charles Randon, Linx’s Senior Product Manager.
“Nevertheless, many companies now have to ask even more of their coders in response to the changing requirements of their customer base. While retaining all of the proven features of our original model, the new Linx 8920 and Linx 8940 models have therefore been developed to meet ever-more demanding applications.”
Launched in 2015, the Linx 8900 has proved an instant success with strong sales both in the UK and internationally. Popular user features include its large high resolution touch screen, which is customisable for quick access to regularly used functions and features on-screen message editing prompts for accurate inputting, and the simple Self-Service Wizard, which guides operators through the process for an engineer-free service module change that minimises downtime.
One of the range’s most innovative features is the ability to provide at-a-glance real-time data on the overall production line performance. This enables operators to identify patterns or reasons for any stoppages, allowing them to quickly implement changes, solutions or countermeasures to improve efficiency and productivity.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE CODER EXTENDS CIJ CAPABILITIES
Linx Printing Technologies has launched the Linx 8900, a next generation CIJ (continuous ink jet) printer that provides the highest levels of ease of use and helps to maximise efficiencies during production, delivering valuable cost and time savings.
Capable of printing both human and machine-readable codes, the Linx 8900 incorporates a wealth of new features that speed up day-to-day operation and maintenance, combined with the renowned Linx reliability that ensures continual performance and minimal downtime. In addition, the printer offers even greater versatility thanks to the introduction of a range of special reporting functions, which enable companies to identify ways to improve productivity.
The new printer’s large high resolution touch screen ensures simple and error-free operation. It can store multiple line settings for fast and easy setup in different coding locations and the top screen is customisable to provide quick access to regularly used functions. Individual operator passwords give access to certain functions as required, and customisable on-screen message editing prompts ensure accurate inputting.
For easy production monitoring, the touch screen also includes a unique screen saver mode which provides a simple visual status check, with current output statistics shown in green or red to indicate whether throughput is on target or not. …/
This is part of a range of reporting features that provide at-a-glance real-time data, which also includes downtime information and batch counts, and this can be easily transferred to a USB for the compilation of reports.
This means operators can identify patterns or reasons for any line stoppages, allowing them to quickly implement changes, solutions or countermeasures to improve efficiency and productivity.
The Linx 8900’s handy Self-Service Wizard guides operators through the process for an engineer-free service that minimises downtime. Only filters and used fluids are changed regularly, reducing cost and waste.
The printer’s reliable operation maximises uptime. Linx’s industry-leading sealed printhead can function in even the harshest factory conditions and typically only needs to be cleaned every three months. Linx’s proven autoflush system thoroughly cleans the printhead every time the printer is shut down and this ensures a fast and clean start-up when it is next required. For extended shutdowns, an automated cleaning feature, activated by the simple press of a button, means the Linx 8900 is cleaned and ready for immediate use even after three months out of operation.
A temperature auto-adjust function maintains code quality at different temperature ranges on the production line. The IP55 rated stainless steel enclosure is suitable for washdown environments.
An eight hour fluid refill warning system allows refills to be more easily planned into production schedules, and the automatic fluid checking system ensures that the correct ink and solvent are in place. To avoid mistakes and minimise the number of refills, the size and shape of the ink and solvent cartridges are different, with the one litre solvent cartridge being twice the size of the ink cartridge to allow longer running between refills. A one-touch door operation provides fast and simple fluid replacements, with cartridges that simply click into place with no other adjustment required.
The new printer features a smaller footprint that allows it to be installed into smaller factory spaces, as well as wall mount options. It also offers the flexibility to be used for both primary and secondary coding, including a 20mm high carton printing option.
“Our Voice of Customer research confirms that CIJ users want ease of use and reliable printing that maximises output and minimises errors,” explains Charles Randon, senior product manager at Linx Printing Technologies.
“The new Linx 8900 addresses all these requirements with a number of important enhancements; and at the same time we have taken the opportunity to further extend the capabilities of the printer to include valuable reporting functions. The result is a coder that ticks all the boxes for easy operation, reliability and efficiency and takes CIJ technology to a new level.”
NEW LINX PRINTER GROWS WITH YOUR BUSINESS
Linx Printing Technologies has launched a CIJ (Continuous Ink Jet) printer with a number of first-in-class features for fast and reliable three-line coding which also has the adaptability to be further upgraded as and when required.
The new Linx 5900 has been designed to provide maximum flexibility and consistently reliable coding, and offers the lowest maintenance costs for this type of printer along with extended service intervals of up to 6,000 hours. Equally important, recognising that many companies’ coding needs can change as their businesses continue to grow, a variety of additional enhancements are available that can be incorporated at any time, avoiding the need to purchase a whole new printer and making the initial investment future-proof.
Among its many new features, the Linx 5900 offers a large 1000 message memory store and built-in USB for faster code changes. For reduced coding errors, the large and easy-to-use colour user interface provides prompted coding fields for quick and easy message creation, and the SureFill® system ensures mistake-proof fluid refills.
The Linx 5900 also provides a cost-effective and predictable maintenance programme. Service intervals are up to 6,000 hours and each service requires fewer parts to be changed than with other printers. Together with minimal printhead maintenance, this means that the Linx 5900 delivers lowest-in-class annual maintenance costs.
Additional features can be easily added to the Linx 5900 at any time to cope with new production line requirements. Faster print speeds can be incorporated to meet increased throughput. Message creation and control can be further enhanced with Linx Insight® software for remote monitoring and message input from a smart phone or PC, and Linx QuickSwitch® for code changes using a barcode scanner. Full line integration can be achieved using Ethernet connectivity to control several Linx 5900s from a PC, or by adding parallel I/O connectivity to link the printer directly with other production line equipment.
As with all Linx printers, the Linx 5900 delivers excellent reliability and ease of use. Downtime is minimised thanks to the adjustment-free sealed printhead which has no exposed wires and requires minimal maintenance. The printhead also incorporates Linx’s self-cleaning FullFlush® technology that ensures first time start ups. The dirt-trap free IP55 rated enclosure, with no doors to open for refills, prevents contaminants getting into the printer to further reduce the risk of unscheduled stoppages and helps to ensure a cleaner working environment, particularly important for food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetics applications.
“As usual, the development of our new printer started with listening to our customers,” explains Charles Randon, Senior Product Manager, Linx Printing Technologies.
“We know reliable and consistent operation is a must for any new CIJ printer, as are low running and maintenance costs. What is now becoming apparent is the need for an added layer of flexibility – many companies are reluctant to pay for features they do not immediately need, but before long they may have to consider investing in a newer, higher-specification model.
“The Linx 5900 solves this problem by delivering an immediate, first-class coding solution which is also future-proof because it can be easily further enhanced when and if needed.”
The Linx 5900 is available in four variants – the standard model, BC and DC versions for bottle and dairy applications respectively, and the Linx 5900 Solver, for reduced solvent consumption of up to 40%.
About Linx Printing Technologies Ltd
Linx Printing Technologies is a leading global supplier of continuous ink jet (CIJ) printers, case coders, laser coders, thermal transfer printers and thermal inkjet printers. Its printers and coders are used across many different industries where product identification codes, batch numbers, dates and barcodes are required.
All Linx products are designed with low cost of ownership in mind and are distinguished by reliability, robustness and ease of use. Linx products code and mark millions of items every day, ranging from bottles, packages and cans of consumer goods to pharmaceutical products, cabling, electrical components and car parts.
For more information on Linx’s products and services, contact B.H.C Coding Systems, Dublin at 01 8902070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for all your coding and marking requirements.
BHC Coding Systems Ltd featured an article in the National Food & Dairy 2013 Yearbook. The article addressed coding & marking solutions for the Food & Dairy Industry and in particular Dairy applications. We would be delighted to receive any feedback or comments on this article. To view this article, please click on the link below: