Ink Marking and Coding: How to Maintain Lean Manufacturing Principles without Sacrificing Quality

Lean manufacturing principles aren’t just about cutting costs. It’s a full-range plan includes adding value to the customer as well. Sometimes legislative mandates affect the time it takes to manufacture products, so you need a plan to maintain productivity.

Coding is a crucial step in the production of products. Regulations may cause lost production time, but are mandatory, therefore mass production coding equipment must be as efficient as possible.

The following elements will discuss lean manufacturing principles and how you can enact them in your own business without making sacrifices.

Ink Marking and Coding

Lean Manufacturing

Wherever you can, digital coding can replace labelling in manufacturing. You will still be in compliance, but you can substantially increase productivity. For instance, vegetable and fruit packaging goes faster if the labels are eliminated and digital coding is used on the produce. Digital ink printing, marking, and coding is faster, more precise, more efficient, and because you can place more information with this method, you are adding value to the consumer. This lets you continue to focus on the consumer without sacrificing production time and costs.

Wait Time Reduction

Modern printers including, continuous inkjet (CIJ and thermal inkjet (TIJ) technology, now offer long service intervals, which will reduce your offline maintenance time. Newer printer technology is faster, more efficient, and usually requires lower maintenance and repairs. Digital coding technology allows you to make adjustments with the click of the mouse for computer programs or the push of a button on the printers. The reduction in wait time for repairs, maintenance, and changeovers alone boost production. Simple digital coding applications also reduce issues with errors on the production line.

Avoiding Over-Production & Reducing Processes

Digital coding technology requires less time in implementing. It also saves energy because there is no need to leave the machines on all the time, when not in use. Flexible print heads, versatile coding applications, and versatility in substrates means there is a reduction in consumable inventory, and a reduction in manual handling.

Choosing the Right Coding Technology Solution

  • Available Budget – Consider not only the initial investment, but the overall expense of ownership and reliability of the coding technology you choose.
  • Line Speed – Choose a system that will keep up with your line speeds to avoid production problems.
  • Code Content – Will more complex code cause a problem with your current printer, or will you need to invest in an upgraded system?
  • Substrate – Consider what kinds of materials you code on and get a sample of each type you are considering.
  • Factory Environment – Ensure you have the proper IP rating, features, and overall factory environment for the digital coding tech you plan to use. Take temperature and dust into consideration as well.
  • Testing – Find out if the marking and coding provider offer a free trial. That gives you a change to test and try it before you buy it.

Two Types of Coding Technology

  • CIJ – Continuous inkjet printers can print on virtually any substrate and is compatible with a wide range of inks and applications. It’s a fast, efficient, and cost-effective solution.
  • TIJ – Thermal inkjet printers are flexible for both primary packaging and outer cases. This technology provides high-res coding for superior print quality, but they have a smaller print area that other types of case coders.

Choosing the right coding technology plays a major role in lean manufacturing principles. It’s important not to focus on just the printer and coding technology. Everything mentioned here must be considered when you are choosing coding technology that reduces costs, boosts production, and adds value to the consumer.

Article contributed by Needham Ink

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