Prepared foods sometimes get a bad rap, but for the busy family or professional, ready to eat meals and prepared foods can certainly be a viable and healthy option. The market has continued to grow steadily, in part because of consumer demand.
Food packagers that produce these meals in high volume find that an automated sleeving machine helps complete the packing process in a much more efficient fashion. This is a great easy-to-use system but sometimes raises issues in the ability to apply a use-before date or a traceability code.
One solution is to code the meal sleeves prior to adding them into the production mix; this solution will save on a stock of pre-printed products and the potential for having to destroy product packaging. Using a traceable system and an automated sleeving machine means a packager could only print the sleeves as they are needed in the production line.
Offline sleeve transport systems can incorporate either a thermal transfer, thermal inkjet or continuous inkjet printer for printing information such as lot numbers, expiry date, serialization or security codes for product traceability on the individual sleeves. What are the benefits of an offline coding system?
Here are some that we have found:
- Increased flexibility in printing and in offline stack materials.
- A reduction in downtime because the system will be able to quickly switch from one product to the next.
- Increased capacity and throughput by replacing a manual system with an automated sleeving machine with online coding.
Food packagers need to look at their systems with a critical eye and see what kind of printing system would meet their unique packaging needs.