According to Euromonitor, stand-up pouches are among the fastest growing packaging formats and will continue on their growth trajectory up to 2017.
But while the shapely forms of doy-style packs, block-bottom bags and quad packs add aesthetic appeal, they are causing headaches for the coding operation.
A decade ago, snacks were rarely packed in anything other than vertically formed, filled and sealed pillow packs. A thermal transfer printer could be mounted onto the bagger to code the roll stock before it was formed.
Some of the more structured pouch designs are not so easy to produce on a form, fill, seal machine, so for small to medium volumes, many snack producers are buying in pre-made pouches. However a thermal transfer printer cannot easily be employed to print on the formed pack.
Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) is therefore a more common technology for this application. But whilst CIJ is ideal for printing small amounts of information, such as use by dates, snack producers are increasingly looking to overprint large amounts of information. Overprinting information such as product names, nutritional information and ingredient lists allows them to limit their stock of pre-printed packaging film, as the same pack can be used for different SKUs and geographical markets.
By coding pouches off-line before they are filled, they can be brought to the production line ready printed and deliver efficiency improvements.
Rotech has developed the RF1-V, a standalone vacuum feed overprinting system for pouches, bags and other awkward to feed products. By using a thermal printer with a print width of up to 128mm and printing continuously, a large print area of almost any length can be accommodated.
Many pouches are equipped with closures such as zippers and resealable labels. Whilst this adds consumer appeal, it can present problems to offline coders, as it can create variations in the pouch. The RF1 uses vacuum pick and place technology to pick a pouch from a stack, place it onto a conveyor for printing, and place the printed pouch neatly onto another stack for collection, at speeds of around 40 pouches per minute.
For further information please telephone Kirsty Baker on 01707 393700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org