Few environments present challenges to coding and traceability like the beverage canning sector. Insignia discusses current impacts on the beverage industry.
With high production speeds, uneven surfaces to code and a hot, wet environment to contend with, achieving a reliable high-quality code is an ever-present challenge.
Every industry presents its own set of obstacles when it comes to coding and marking, and beverage canning is no different.
When investing into a coding solution for challenging canning environments, there are certain requirements that must be considered to ensure your technology can provide optimal uptime and reliability.
To satisfy consumer demand, companies have high production output deliverables, which means that speeds on canning lines are high and can be prone to changes (high output during summer months, lower productivity off season). Continuous advances in technology means production line speeds are rapidly increasing, resulting in a higher number of cans being processed. For example, a typical soft drink canning line can run up to 6,000 cans per minute, all of which require date and batch codes. The coding system must be able to keep pace with these high production rates without compromising on code quality.
Harsh Production Environments
The production environment of a canning facility can be wet and sugar-laden, with temperatures reaching 45⁰C on the production line, and washdown a regular part of the process. What this means for manufacturers is that they need to be investing in robust technology that’s IP rated to withstand washdown processes, and operational in higher temperature and humidity ranges.
The majority of codes are printed on the bottom of cans, where the surface is concave and therefore uneven. This challenge is aggravated by the speed of the production line. A code that appears stretched or smudged is often linked to the speed of the production line however, it can also be the result of the coding system’s unsuitability to the surface or substrate being coded.
For a coding system to be effective, it needs to easily integrate with the canning line. This requires optimal print head design and a small machine footprint enabling installation in a location that will not cause bottlenecks or downtime along the production line.
A growing number of companies are committed to their social responsibility and prefer to invest in technologies that advance their environmental credentials. Coding and marking technologies can be energy-intensive, as well as consuming volatile organic chemicals. A coding system that minimises energy consumption and waste will therefore be the preferred choice.
Late Stage Customisation
Developments in the supply and distribution of beverage cans are stimulating a growing need to quickly modify codes on the production line. Late stage customisation enhances marketing capabilities and also allows manufacturers to be more flexible with decision-making on site. With this in mind, manufacturers could potentially change the ‘best before’ dates and production data or add in promotional codes that encourage interaction with your brand.
A suitable coding technology for this harsh beverage environment must be robust and capable of marking high quality codes at high speeds.
It should also be capable of meeting both current and future requirements for high-legibility coding applications.
The F720i is Domino’s latest addition to its range of high performance, high speed fibre lasers.
Designed to deliver clear, durable codes onto aluminium cans, the new F720i fibre laser is suited to withstand the harsh production environment and high-speed coding demands of the beverage canning sector.