Real-time Laser Printing eliminates the struggles of Pre-Printed Identification


Due to increasing labor costs and market demands, many of Eqraft’s customers felt the need for a flexible bag-printing system that lets them print and make changes in real time, without needing to change tape, tickets or ink ribbons. Together with LC Packaging, Eqraft developed a system to do exactly that.

“At the end of the nineties, our customers started to struggle with increasing amounts of product numbers, employee injuries such as RSI, and higher labor costs,” says Sander van der Knijff, sales engineer at Eqraft. He explains the demand for an automated bag-printing system: “Filling and labeling bags was a process that required lots of manual labor – from hanging the bags on the machine to be filled to changing the tapes. Thanks to the new bag laser printer, pre-printed identification has become a thing of the past.”

Frustrations

One of the most common frustrations during bag packaging is the time consumed by the labeling system. Changing tape, tickets or ribbons means halting the process while another tape or ticket roll is being loaded. This leads to unnecessary delay, the accumulation of costs per bag, and increasing lead times. Furthermore, the tape or tickets attached to the bag can easily tear off or be removed and can fade when subjected to sunlight, causing logistical problems and loss of identification. Depending on the number of customers, as well as the number of products being packaged, storage of all of the different tapes and tickets increases costs and often leaves you with unusable surplus material.

Collaboration

As Sander explains: “We have been working with LC Packaging for a long time, so together we started to think about a way to automate the printing process. The new bag laser printer is the result of that.” Where Eqraft developed the laser printer, LC Packaging executed the design of the bags. This family business, which has been active in the packaging business for four generations, developed special bags that are compatible with the machine. Richard Macro, international purchaser at LC Packaging, elaborates: “We developed laser-printable bags onto which images and texts can be printed directly, without the use of ink ribbons, tape or paper tickets.”

With this printer, changing tapes, tickets or ribbons becomes a thing of the past


Contactless printing

“Besides the reduction in manual labor, there are other advantages,” says Sander. Since the printing is without contact, there are no moving parts to experience wear and tear. This printer has been developed for high-volume continuous operation at a high level of reliability. It allows for the individual printing of bags with filling dates, product information, track & trace numbers and any other information that makes the identification of each specific bag and its contents possible. Printing is done straight onto the bag without the use of the so-called consumables, such as PE tape, paper tickets, sprayed ink or ink ribbon.

And the software operation? “The text and images can be edited online in real time and without specialist knowledge through the user-friendly interface,” explains Sander. “With this printer and these bags, the customer’s requirements can be fulfilled on the fly.” And the next step? Sander confides: “Right now, we’re working on the automation of printing on paper bags.”

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Rutger Keurhorst

Director Commerce

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