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Wet Fix

Two Linx CJ400 Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printers are working round the clock for Australian spring water bottler Wet Fix, which selected two coders for printing bottles and secondary packaging.

Wet Fix, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, has its own Mountain Dew label, but the bulk of its business is contract packing, servicing 200-plus labels.

An expansion of bottle sizes allowed the company to grow under its present ownership since 2004, but unreliable CIJs were causing problems with missing and faint print, leading to manual checking of the lines every 5-10 minutes, instead of hourly as scheduled.

Packaging changes also meant they could no longer print and apply an adhesive label to secondary shrink wrapping. Wet Fix wanted to upgrade its coding equipment to obtain a professional-looking result, and remove the downtime issues that were causing the intense manual inspection regime as well as product reworking and costly waste.

The equipment needed to be flexible across primary and secondary packaging, easy to use, and able to cope with increasing production speeds as Wet Fix’s output expands. For the primary application, the equipment needed to be able to code onto a range of different-sized and shaped PET bottles, from 300ml-10L. For the secondary application, it needed to code onto shrink-wrapped packs. Both applications needed multiple lines of alphanumeric print.

The company is using one of its Linx CJ400 printers to code three lines of text, including product ID and traceability information, onto various shaped PET bottles at 175 bottles/min.

The second machine codes best-before dates and traceability data onto shrink-wrapped packs. The best-before message is large, so easily found, while the date underneath is smaller. If the client requests it, a message and logo can also be printed.

Wet Fix’s efficiency and productivity has improved with the installation of the Linx machines – manual inspections are now back to their schedule, while waste and reworking has been eliminated.

The company also says the neat, high-quality print is a big improvement. The coding equipment is capable of much faster output than the current speeds, so will not be a limiting factor as Wet Fix grows. The Linx CJ400’s ability to be used in both primary and secondary applications also gives Wet Fix flexibility in how it best uses the equipment in heavy demand and growth periods.

The CJ400 also has the ability to code onto cartons, increasing its versatility for the bottler. Wet Fix Director Kayne Gill affirms: “These coders are very flexible - we can use them anywhere we need in our business.”

The purchase and installation was carried out by Linx distributor partner Matthews Australasia Pty Ltd.

At 13.5kg, the lightest in its class, the Linx CJ400 delivers portability, fast set-up and ease of use. Its Easi-Change® Service Module can be changed in minutes using on-screen prompts. This means scheduled maintenance is easily completed without the need for a trained technician – a major advantage for smaller customers or those in remote regions. Low maintenance is further enhanced by extended printhead cleaning intervals, typically three months.

Thanks to the Linx CJ400’s unique autoflush processes, there is also no need for printer or conduit flushing for shutdowns of up to four weeks, which means no wasted fluids and enables trouble-free startups after extended shutdown periods.

One-step set-up is simple thanks to an easy to use colour touch screen, whose simple prompts enable users to start coding straight away.

Other cost savings come from the 62 micron printhead nozzle which saves up to 40 per cent ink usage compared to other CIJ printers. Solvent consumption is also reduced by up to 33 per cent.

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.

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