You can face a set of obstacles when it comes to coding and marking in any industries, beverage canning is no different. There are certain requirements that you will need to consider when you invest into a coding solution, they are as follows:
Customer demand will mean that you need to deliver high volumes on a daily basis, this will reflect speeds on canning lines, meaning they are high and prone to changes (high output during summer months, lower productivity off season). With the growth in the sector and the continuous advances in technology the production line speeds are rapidly increasing, resulting in higher numbers of cans being processed. For example, a typical soft drink canning line is capable of running up to 6,000 cans per minute, all of which require codes. The coding system must be able to keep pace with these high production rates.
Harsh production environments
It is important that the quality of the coding is of a high standard, despite the harsh production environments in the beverage canning industry that can be wet and sugar-laden, with temperatures capable of reaching 45⁰C on the production line. The best suited coding and marking systems should be able to withstand such a demanding environment and deliver the high-quality codes that businesses expect from their equipment supplier.
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 back to the speed of the production line however, it can also be the result of the coding system’s unsuitability to the packaging surface.
For a coding system to be effective, it needs to easily integrate on 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 now committing to their role within the environment and preferring to invest in technologies that support this, for example you can find coding systems that minimise energy consumption and waste. Some coding and marking technologies can be energy-intensive, as well as consuming volatile organic chemicals.
Late stage customisation
Developments in the supply and distribution of beverage cans are stimulating a growing need to promptly 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 you could potentially change the ‘best before’ dates and production data or add in promotional codes that encourage interactions with customers, as well as raising brand loyalty and running sales campaigns.