Packaging Corner: Maintain consistency with case marking

Universal print controller helps manufacturers and packagers obtain a level of accuracy that can be critical for meeting stringent track-and-trace or other regulations.

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Marking products and cases with identification coding and other information during their manufacture or during packaging, while they’re in transit on a production line, can be a tremendous challenge. That’s due to the variety of printing technologies and systems in the marketplace.

“Historically, communicating directly to different types of printing technologies used on the same line, throughout a facility, or even at different geographic locations, has been extremely complicated—if not impossible,” says Antonio Cortes, product manager at Matthews Marking Systems. “That’s because there has never been a universal print management system available that could interface with, and direct the operation of, multiple print heads.”

To address that challenge, Matthews Marking developed the MPERIA universal controller platform. The system communicates seamlessly—through wireless or Ethernet connections—with high-resolution piezoelectric inkjet, thermal inkjet and valve jet print heads from any manufacturer across multiple production lines in multiple locations, Cortes explains. “MPERIA also connects with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS) to populate production information into templates maintained in a centralized database.”

This capability allows operations that produce the same product in multiple locations to maintain consistency in code appearance and placement. That’s important for companies concerned with consistent product branding and messaging. That level of accuracy is also critical for meeting stringent track-and-trace regulations, such as those required of pharmaceutical and medical products, says Cortes.

“In addition, MPERIA easily manages hundreds of formats needed to comply with local country messaging requirements,” he adds. “And, it helps co-packers who must accommodate the coding placement requests of their customers, or risk chargebacks for non-compliance.”

Without a centralized controller, information output by each print head has to be manually entered or modified at its line-side controller. “If a production line has multiple print heads, that means an operator has to visit each control panel and key in the changes,” he says. “Not only does that process take a lot of time, there’s the potential for mistakes, resulting in wasted productivity and scrap.”

Cortes says the controller can also be integrated with scanners and other materials handling production line control systems.

Matthews Marking will display the MPERIA product line at Pack Expo in Booth 2151.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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