By Brooke Shaw
The latest printers are practically failsafe, 24/7.
Regardless of size, every commercial bakery needs some basic equipment to sell its products, like a scale and a printer. As with sports, printers come in both contact and non-contact versions, with benefits to each, not to mention specific to your operation’s requirements.
A non-contact option is the continuous inkjet (CIJ) printer. Chuck Raveto, director of small character marketing for Videojet, a global manufacturer for the product identification industry, likened the stream of ink from the CIJ to tiny droplets of water streaming from a hose — each drop smaller in diameter than a strand of hair. The CIJ is programmed to place each droplet as it passes through an electro-magnetic field, and is able to turn the drops on and off so that ink that isn’t used is recycled back into the system — with nothing wasted.
“The ink is thrown, it’s not contacting the product,” said Raveto. “The customer’s line doesn’t have to slow down, and there’s no risk of the bread being damaged.”
The latest CIJ 1310 is designed to stop and start without the need for cleaning, minimizing downtime by automatically cleaning itself at startup and shutdown, even after idle periods. With a built-in pump, Raveto says bakers who need to move the printer around can quickly move it from line to line.
“Traceability is the biggest driver for these printers, and the CIJ drop pattern can change on every single item — each minute, each second, if necessary — to get unique codes,” said Raveto, “so that a baker can trace back to the person, line, and hour for a recall.”
Contact comes with preprinting on flexible packaging like films, bags or labels prior to filling. Kent Morris, product manager, enthuses about Videojet’s Dataflex® Plus Thermal Transfer Overprinter (TTO). “It’s a ‘no mess’ technology — no dissolvent or chemical to ruin the taste of your product,” said Morris. “The TTO, in general, is a good, cost-efficient way to get markings onto packaging, especially compared to hot stamps. There’s very little ribbon waste, we help bakeries set up their jobs, and the TTO runs without much training.”
Morris understands the ramifications of miscodes for retailer runs, and the TTO has failsafes incorporated into its design to minimize miscodes before the fact. Password controls at three levels add extra levels of safety to prevent an operator from inadvertently changing what only maintenance should.
“The higher your volume, and the more traceability you require, the more important the TTO is to your operation,” said Morris.
If Christmas left you with cash burning a hole in your pocket, check out our New Products department or visit the Bakers Journal website at www.bakersjournal.com for more on other innovative equipment to lower your costs, improve your efficiency and reduce the need for labour or training. Even artisans need the latest technology now and again.