The company already used the Linx 4900 Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printer to code onto cardboard outer packaging across a range of products, and decided to trial the machine to print flavour information directly onto the foil. Shire was impressed by the results, particularly by the ability to include a batch code alongside other data, thus meeting traceability requirements.
In addition, the Linx 4900 was able to meet the demanding technical specification of the application. “The printhead needed to be small enough to get between the conveyor and the product so that we could code the side wall of the foil,” comments Michael Tzirki, Managing Director of Shire Foods. “Linx worked closely with us to provide a suitable solution.”
Shire has purchased two Linx 4900s specifically for this application. Each prints an 8mm high, two line code: the first details the product description (for example “STK & KIDNEY” while the second comprises the batch code). The two production lines run at 15m per minute, accounting for around 50,000 pies per day from the one production line
The new coding method has already proved a success with Shire Foods customers who sell the heated pies in-store. “They like the advantage that anyone can read what type of pie they are baking without the need to refer to the outer packaging,” explains Michael Tzirki.
Linx’s involvement has also been a hit with Shire Foods itself, as
Michael Tzirki confirms. “We think Linx machines are very easy to use, and we have had excellent customer service and sales support throughout the process.”