New coding/marking technology a hit at Cape wine and fruit exhibition

August 22--Wine industry representatives visiting the Wine Farmers and Fruit Growers exhibition in Cape Town in July showed considerable interest in how new industrial printing and coding technology creates flexibility and saves costs in labeling and packaging.

Square One Solutions Group's divisional manager coding, Ted Michel, says there are major cost benefits to wineries printing the variable data on a standard back label.

"The alcohol content by volume varies from season to season and by law must be displayed on any wine bottle or container offered for sale. the ability to print this information on the back label after it is applied to the bottle means standard label designs and long label print runs are possible, generating significant savings."

Michel adds that growth in the export of South African wines has also created additional demand for variable data printing capability. Competing in sophisticated foreign markets also calls for local producers to ensure their wines are presented in equally sophisticated and appealing packaging.

"The law in countries in Europe, the UK, Australia, and many others requires details of the importers or agents, lot numbers, and other information to appear on the bottle labels, so local exporters have to comply.

"To print original labels with such variable data is expensive and complicated. Domino laser printers, however, allow wineries to have their generic labels printed conventionally. When the wines are bottled they simply reset the production line laser printer to print whatever data is required for that particular batch of wine on the back label. It's simple and very cost-effective."

A similar principle applies to the printing of the cardboard cartons in which the wines are cased. Michel says the Domino C6000 inkjet printer, which has power graphics capabilities, is simply programmed to print whatever label design, variable data, and barcodes are required directly onto the outer case. This can be done at a fraction of the cost of a conventionally printed adhesive label.

"Key benefits to manufacturers are savings on the cost of labels as a result of direct printing onto cartons and the elimination of in-house stockholdings of pre-printed cases. The cartons are also easier to recycle after use," says Michel.

He adds that the variable data places wineries in a position to quickly and accurately track products back through the manufacturing process and pinpoint the whereabouts of the remainder of a particular product batch so that it can be inspected, and if necessary, recalled in the event of a product problem occurring with wholesaler, retailer, or consumer.

"We were impressed by the standard of the exhibition, the turnout, and the quality of the leads that came through. There was also a lot of interest from fruit growers in barcoding and the printing of outer cases."

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