The installation of a Linx 10 printer at specialist food producer Nythe Farm Kitchen is producing printed codes of increased quality, consistency and permanence that meet the high standards of the retail sector and will support the company on its next stage of growth.
A family-run business based on its farm in Taunton, Somerset, Nythe Farm has diversified its operation into the production of a range of prepared meals, snacks and convenience foods, such as chicken sushi, meatballs, bhajis and porridge pots, serving both local and national retailers. Previously the company used hand applied labels onto a variety of pack formats in different materials including coated card and flexible plastic film but the label guns were unreliable, placement was inaccurate and the lack of quality detracted from the overall appearance of the packaging.
A particular challenge was the variety of pack types and sizes which needed to be coded, leading to frequent changeovers that made the use of an automated line inappropriate.
The Linx 10 is able to print a high quality, permanent two line code comprising price and use by date, operating up to five hours a day, four days a week. The non-contact printing method means it can easily print onto all the different pack types and shapes, and its compact design and light weight enable the printer to be moved and positioned wherever it is needed, making it ideal for the hand transporter used to present the packs for coding.
The robust IP55-rated stainless steel outer casing resists water ingress for reliable and consistent operation in food manufacturing environments. The Linx 10 also incorporates automatic printhead cleaning, which ensures quick, clean starts every time, even if the printer is used infrequently.
A large colour touchscreen with simple, icon-based code creation and selection allows fast and easy set-up, and reduces the risks of errors in the information being printed, which is ideal for Nythe Farm Kitchen with its many different products and frequent changeovers.
The printer has its own unique ketone-free fluid, suitable for the majority of food packaging substrates, giving it the flexibility to handle new pack formats. The fluid offers excellent adhesion and fast drying times and comes in simple mess-free refill cartridges. In addition, running costs are minimised through the ability of the printer to be serviced in-house, with a special Wizard on the touchscreen guiding operators through each stage.
Nythe Farm Kitchen’s decision to adopt digital coding technology had originally led the company to select a different ink jet printer but this proved to be too complicated for its application.
“We needed a printer that was simple to install and use and cost-effective to run, and one that could easily fit into our existing production environment while still delivering high quality printed codes,” explains the company’s Technical Director Leslie Dennis. “The Linx 10 has provided the ideal solution. As our business grows, the quality of our codes may become a factor in our ability to win new business so the capabilities of the Linx 10, including its ability to print effectively on many different pack substrates, will help to ensure we are ready to respond to new customer requirements. Switching from labels has also provided further cost savings.”