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Nil coder downtime

Needing a reliable, robust, flexible coder, Kerry Ingredients turned to Matthews to eliminate up to 50 hours of downtime a month.

The global manufacturer of food ingredients and flavours, supplies more than 10,000 products in over 140 countries worldwide.

The company’s manufacturing at its South Windsor plant in NSW, however, was being hampered by coding machine downtime, which was reducing running time by between eight and 15 hours per week, per line.

After trialling equipment from several companies, Kerry installed two Linx 4900s and a Linx 6900 from Matthews.

According to Kerry Ingredients’ production manager, Gary Farrell, their process needs were not straightforward.

“We have four different production lines, each running multiple products, with speeds varying from 20 bottles to up to 120 twin sachets per minute.

“We needed the coders to be able to be easily moved between the lines to suit our business dynamic. Because our throughput is quite high, we needed the coders to be efficient and not hamper production.”

Kerry prints codes for traceability and legal requirements, including best before dates, times and allergen declarations.

The 4900s are used on the bottling lines, with one also being used on the single-lane, form fill seal (FFS) machine for sachets, while the 6900 is used on a double-lane FFS sachet machine.

“With the bottle line, the coders sit at the end of the production process; but on the sachet line, the roll unforms itself through the machine, so it is pre-printed, before the sachets are filled,” said Farrell.

Kerry’s hygiene requirements meant the Linxes’ stainless steel enclosures, with no dirt traps, were ideal for wash down. The operator interface was also an important criterion, with operators finding the equipment “very easy, very user friendly, very efficient,” Farrell said.

“Being able to train up operators a lot more quickly, allows the production line to run a lot more smoothly.”

The lack of downtime has had an immediate and positive impact on productivity and profitability. “Before installing the Linxes, I had a spreadsheet of all our downtime caused by coder failure. Now we are down to zero. We are more than happy with our decision,” concluded Farrell.

— Phil Biggs is the national sales and marketing manager for Matthews.

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