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Domino Amjet continues to develop.

Domino Amjet Continues to Develop

Domino Amjet supplies many industries with ink-jet printers and inks for coding a wide variety of products. Companies served include those in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, electronic, construction and automotive industries but the industry to which Domino has supplied by far the largest number of machines is the food and drink industry.

Because ink-jet is a non contact form of printing, virtually any surface can be coded, including glass, plastics, shrinkwrap, metal, cardboard and paper.

EC Legislation

Many manufacturers are investing in ink-jet technology in order to meet EC legislation due to come into force next summer. After that time, manufacturers must ensure their products are coded with 'use by' dates and lot numbers.

A typical example of a company planning for the new legislation is Nistria, in the Netherlands, who specialise in dietary meat products that are mainly delivered to hospitals and institutions. As a result of the new regulations, they are obliged to code expiry dates on to their products. However, the existing labelling machine that coded the dates did not comply with their wishes, so ink-jet printing was considered as an alternative.

The company purchased a Solo XT4/4 from Domino. The two printheads are mounted on a traversing system. When the foil is at a standstill, the heads traverse over the foil and print the required text on to every package. The total system has been integrated into a Multivac R5100 packaging machine and 90 packs per minute are coded.

Auto Range

Domino has launched a new Auto range of continuous ink-jet printers - Solo 5 Auto and Codebox 2 Auto, which each have one printhead. This range has several new features that provide versatile, economical and high speed coding on to a variety of surfaces.

The Auto range comes complete with a low maintenance printhead, which only needs to be cleaned once a week, ensuring simpler operation. Start-up and shutdown procedures are achieved by simply pressing control buttons. New functions include auto repeat, continuous, alpha hours and auto-invert/reverse printing.

The Solo 5 Auto is housed in a rugged industrial conditions. It has splash-proof control panels with membrane touch buttons. This printer is deal for high speed coding on canning and bottling lines.

The Codebox 2 Auto is suitable for dry, light industrial environments.

This Auto range has been developed to print up to four lines of information at the speed of up to 190 characters per second, per line.

Dale Farm Dairies have installed two of these latest ink- jet printers, Solo 5 Autos, at their dairy packaging plant in Hull, where they package milk for their own use and for Tesco and Grandways. The printers are employed on two milk lines, coding on to the tops of one pint and two pint cartons after they have been filled and sealed. A single line code gives the 'use by' date, manufacturing depot and line number. Cartons of milk for Tesco's and Grandways carry the above information and also a 'display until' date. Sixty cartons per minute are coded on each line.

Previously, Dale Farm had used hot metal coding but their particular equipment was not able to adapt to additional codes, such as a 'display until' date, which they are now required to code by Tesco and Grandways.

Auto Thermal

Domino is rapidly taking a lead over in the development of inks and ink systems. Just launched are BK3901, an alcohol-based ink with a drying time of typically 3 seconds, and a range of Auto Thermal printers that are developments of Codebox and Solo ink jet printers.

The improved drying characteristics of BK3901 are achieved by raising the temperature of the printed drop just prior to printing. This increases the solvent release properties of the binder, resulting in significant improvements in drying time.

All the constituents of the ink have been carefully selected to meet the USDA regulation for incidental contact with food; this, combined with its low odour characteristics, make this system suitable for printing on today's packaging materials.

The new Auto Thermal System is finding special favour with environmentally aware users by whom ethanol is regarded as a 'friendly' solvent. In addition, a variety of inks has been developed with special properties for specific applications. One such ink is RD6803, a new food grade ink, designed for food packaging applications, and it meets USA FDA specifications.

RD6803 has been tested for its technical performance on a number of food and packaging items but the regulatory status of the ink must be checked for the specific application and country in mind. Some of the substrates that RD6803 can be used upon are egg shells, fruit surfaces (where this is not usually eaten, eg, orange peel) and secondary food packaging, where the print is not in direct contact with the food but may be in contact with the inner surface of a package whilst in reel form.

Integrated Systems

In many installations, standard products and inks can be used, however in certain situations specialist engineering or software may be required.

Domino have an applications engineering department specifically for developing equipment for specialist applications. Additional advice and liaison with other specialist equipment manufacturers can be offered, thus providing a solution to a specific need.

One company for whom Domino have provided this specialist service is Mendip Foods Ltd in Frome, Somerset, who produce and package cheese for several major supermarkets as well as their own brand, Cathedral City. They have installed a Domino Solo 4 ink-jet printer with a 90 printhead to code best before dates on a packing line running at 60ft a minute.

At Mendip Foods the printhead codes directly on to either foil or plastics on a web accumulator prior to the forming collar and before the substrate is formed around the cheese on a flow wrap machine. Accurate targeting of the print is ensured by a shaft encoder and photocell.

The printhead, which incorporates a 90 bend, was designed by Domino's Applications Department to fit into restricted spaces. The printheads were originally designed to fit on to Kisters packaging machines but have since been used on numerous other applications.

CaseCoder

Domino's large character ink-jet printer is designed to bring reliability and flexibility to many applications currently being serviced by roller coders - specifically carton and tray coding.

CaseCoder has an integrated printhead, with either a 7 or 16 nozzle format. The 16 nozzle head prints characters up to 32mm high, or two lines of 8 or 12mm high characters, including bar codes and logos. The 7 nozzle printhead has been developed for tray coding. Set just 5mm from the base of the unit, it prints 8 or 12mm high characters on to trays as shallow as 19mm.

CaseCoder is available with a full range of inks, including a specially formulated ink for plastics shrinkwrap, that is supplied in easy-change 5 litre bag-in-box containers. Each container will produce approximately 2.5 million characters (7x5 matrix) before replacement is required.

It also offers continuous printing through ink changes, a feature unique to Domino products. This eliminates downtime when transferring to a new supply of ink, and improves overall productivity, not only by increasing up-time but through labour savings.

The unit's capabilities include automatic change of dates and time, sequential numbering and logos. Control of a CaseCoder is simple - an easy to use hand held terminal enables messages to be stored, changed or called up for printing. This simplicity and speed of message change is seen as a key advantage which ink-jet offers as against the traditional coding techniques.

Domino Amjet Ltd are located are Bar Hill, Cambridge, tel: 0954 782551.

PHOTO : Solo 5 Autos seen at Dale Farm Dairies

PHOTO : Domino's new food grade ink

PHOTO : Domino unit installed at Mendip Foods
COPYRIGHT 1991 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Domino Amjet Ltd., manufacturer of ink-jet printers and inks for product coding
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Words:1291
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