Need a date coder? Here are the top 5 things to consider…

Need a date coder? Here are the top 5 things to consider...

As we can see in the infographic above, there are 5 main things to consider when buying a date coder… 

When it comes to choosing a date coder, there are always options available. So how do you pick the right coder for your application?  Selecting a date coder without first clearly defining your requirements can cause issues for your business. So how do you make sure your firm has the right technology for its needs now and well into the future?

Though every firm’s needs are unique, there are some things that every company should consider when investing in a date coder:

 1.      What are you printing?

The date coder you choose will depend on the code you’re printing. Are you printing a use-by date on the primary packaging? Or batch codes on secondary packaging? Take the time to clearly outline what (all) you need to print before you leap. Also, consider if there are multiple different message types, what they all are. (Here’s a quick run down on the differences between use-by dates and best-before dates.)

2.      What are you printing onto?

Paper, cardboard, wet glass, plastic, wood, cloth; every material has different properties, which ultimately affect the way a code will be printed. Lasers are a popular choice for firms in a range of industries – beverage, pharmaceutical and snack foods to name but a few – because they offer a very fast way to print high quality, permanent codes on almost any substrate, such as glass, plastics (such as PET, polystyrene and polypropylene), metal and cardboard.

3.      What is your line speed?

The speed of your production line will determine the capability you need from your date coder. For example, continuous inkjet printers (CIJs) have the advantage of being able to clearly mark on all packaging substrates at all production speeds. They are also very easily integrated on to a conveyor production line.

4.      What is your current factory environment?

Dusty? Wet? Cold? Some manufacturing environments can be challenging for technology. Choosing a date coder that’s built to withstand your unique environment will ensure you get longer use and greater reliability.

5.      What are your future plans?

There’s no sense in investing in a date coding solution that doesn’t meet your firm’s needs twelve months down the line. Think about your future plans: are you expecting to grow? Will you be printing on different substrates? Will you be introducing new SKUs or printing different messages? Each of these will impact your date coding needs.

Next steps

Armed with your answers to the above questions, give some thought to the costs of the date coder: what is the purchase cost of the date coder, and what are the running costs for your business? This will help you determine the date coder that will provide the best return-on-investment.

You should also consider the current technology in your factory, and how easy it will be to integrate the date coder with minimum disruption to your production line. Talk to your team and find out what they will be comfortable operating. They might require additional training, so find out what kind of support is offered by the equipment provider. It is critical to choose an equipment provider with local maintenance teams who have the skills and resources to install, service and fix the date coder should anything go wrong.

The same basic questions apply to labelling equipment as well.

If you’re looking to invest in a new or upgraded date coder or labeller, speak to Matthews on 1300 CODING for expert advice.

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Mark Dingley
Mark Dingley is Chairman of the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) and is the CEO at Matthews Australasia. With 25 years of experience in the product identification industry and the wealth of knowledge gained from working closely with industry associations in developing and implementing standards & best practice, Mark is able to assist manufacturers with a range of issues from getting real-time visibility of their production line, improving automation, establishing quality assurance using machine vision to selecting the best fit technology for coding and labelling applications. Mark Dingley's LinkedIn Profile
Mark Dingley

by Mark Dingley

Mark Dingley is Chairman of the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) and is the CEO at Matthews Australasia. With 25 years of experience in the product identification industry and the wealth of knowledge gained from working closely with industry associations in developing and implementing standards & best practice, Mark is able to assist manufacturers with a range of issues from getting real-time visibility of their production line, improving automation, establishing quality assurance using machine vision to selecting the best fit technology for coding and labelling applications. Mark Dingley's LinkedIn Profile

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