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Dairy sees the benefits of thermal inkjet technology

08 February 2021

Find out how a dairy has made savings on space and improved efficiency with a new carton labelling system. 

Yorkshire based Payne's Dairies Ltd, is a producer of raw and processed milk and cream products, supplying wholesalers and manufacturers, as well as catering and retail outlets. It has faced numerous challenges in recent years and, with pressure across the industry on prices per litre (PPL), the company needed to look at operational ways to reduce costs, without compromising efficiency. 

Payne’s Dairies produces around 360,000 2 litre, 1 litre and 1-pint cartons of milk every day, across six lines. One particular and recurring issue however, was the frequent breakdown of their bottle label printing system which was used to date and code each milk carton.  Not only was this a costly interruption to production, it was also costing around £1,000 to repair each breakdown and another £6,000 a year to replace the printer sensors on six lines.  

The old CIJ system was large and expensive to run and maintain. Furthermore, the system was soon to become obsolete. 

As part of a wider drive to improve efficiency and reduce production costs through the adoption of technology, Payne’s Dairies installed six Rotech Integra thermal inkjet printers (TIJ) onto its milk labelling lines, a move which has provided it with resulting in significant cost savings on consumables, maintenance, repairs, spare parts and downtime.

Following a site visit by Rotech’s northern print specialist, a trial was organised on the production line – which quickly demonstrated the benefits, resulting in an order of one Integra printer for each of the six milk labelling systems.

The compact new Integra thermal inkjet printers were installed onto Payne’s’ existing labelling systems, freeing up space and allowing users to easily replace depleted cartridges as required – a far cry from the issues they were having with their previous continuous inkjet printer (CIJ).

The TIJ printers produce Best Before dates, as well as times and line numbers. Each printer is protected by a Perspex screen, engineered by Rotech to protect the printers from moisture or spray.

One of the primary benefits of thermal inkjet technology is its size. The printer is small enough to hold by hand, yet is able to print hundreds of thousands of dates and codes online. The printer itself has a simple click-in, click-out cartridge so there are no moving parts, no sensors and no mess.  Each cartridge can print up to 400,000 high quality prints, meaning low consumable costs and no maintenance.

The Integra printer comes with software that allows the company to create and edit dates, times and line numbers, as well as information on job status, quality and ink levels. The carton labeller simply signals the printer to print, ramping up and down as required.

As well as making savings on maintenance and repair costs, replacement parts and downtime, the new printers reliably produce crisp, clear markings on various size milk cartons, hour after hour, day in, day out.

Payne’s Dairies has demonstrated that by putting trust in new technology, it’s possible to make vital cost-savings and improve overall production efficiency - at a time when it has never been more critical. 

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