Food without an expiry date: it is impossible to imagine a world without it. When it comes to labeling, there are multiple options for printing expiry dates on commercial products, including food.
The expiry date of a product is determined in advance and coded on the packaging or label afterwards. In this blog post we guide you through a production process and show you the various options for printing and applying expiry dates on your products.
Example of a production process
The image above illustrates the production process of jam. After the jam is filled, it is labeled with a distinctive label that the consumer can use to identify it.
The law also states that an expiry date must be provided. This can be done throughout the production process using many different printing methods. Below are some of them:
Option 1 – On-site label printing and dispensing
The expiry date is part of the full-colour label. The labels are printed on-site and applied with a label dispenser.
This way you never have too many or too few labels in stock and can reduce your costs.
Option 2 – Marking with thermal inkjet printing
The jam jar is labeled and the expiry date is printed on the metal lid or on the glass using a durable thermal inkjet printer. Thermal inkjet printers can also be integrated on a film machine, sleeve or carton feeder.
Thermal inkjet printers are less polluting than the common continuous inkjet printers, making them a sustainable and environment-friendly solution. This also allows for your investment to be quickly recovered.
Option 3 – Marking boxes with piezo inkjet printing
When the jam jars have an expiry date, they are packed in boxes containing a specific number of jars. To make the logistical process easier, it is useful to provide the box with an expiry date.
Thanks to the piezo inkjet printers, it is incredibly easy to print sharp and super-clean expiry dates. There is no need to print a label and apply it on the box. Instead, a very sharp expiry date is directly printed on it. In addition to expiry dates, anything can be printed (e.g. a logo, a batch number, a barcode).
In practice, this printing method replaces labels with ink. This saves you money and the investment in a box printer is quickly repaid.
Option 4 – Marking with a label printer and dispenser
When the jam is ready for dispatch, a label can be printed and applied automatically via a label printer and dispenser. No manual action is required. And again, any text can be printed on the label, from production date to warning or a shipping address.
The main advantage of this printing method? It increases capacity and ensures that companies can grow.
Option 5 – Marking with a pallet labeling machine
Labeling pallets and preparing them for dispatch with an SSCC/GS1 label on 1, 2, 3 or 4 sides is possible with a pallet labeling machine. A sensor tells the pallet labeling machine where the pallet is located and software provides the machine with the correct information.
The printer prints the label and the extra long arm with a tamp-blow applicator blows the label onto several sides of the pallet. When the production environment is warm or cool, the labeling machine can be placed in a cabinet. This keeps the labeling machine in good condition.
Besides a shipping label, the system can also be used to apply an expiry date or warning to a pallet.
Option 6 – A combination of solutions
In addition to standard labeling and marking solutions, it is also possible to combine the solutions mentioned above. After all, every production process is unique.
Therefore, please always be advised about the possibilities and, together with a labeling and coding partner such as Weber Marking Systems, consider the options that can help your company achieve its objectives.
Weber Marking Systems is a partner that believes in cost-saving and automated coding and labeling solutions that add value and quality to the production and logistic processes. Their unique total-solution approach enables them to come up with creative solutions.
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