Making Lite work of product coding with our cost-effective, standalone systems

26th February 2024

Applying batch and/or date codes manually is a laborious and time-consuming process, yet it is still suprisingly commonplace. Even in larger organisations, where it seems as though automation is at the forefront of their production process, you will sometimes find a team dedicated to hand applying variable information onto packs.

Why date code by hand?

Coding is usually done manually for one of the following reasons:

The pack is difficult to code on the main production line

This is often the case with sleeves. When placed around the tray or tub, the sleeve can move around, making accurate code placement tricky.

Pouches can also be difficult to print when filled. The desired print area can often be uneven or problematic to reach, again making consistent coding a near impossible task.

The company is young

When a B2C business starts out, they will usually be producing in very small batches. Coding by hand is therefore an economical process, suitable for companies at this stage of their life as volumes are small.

For seasonal or special edition packaging

Limited edition packaging will often be coded off-line, as to not disrupt the main line. Unless the company has a standalone coding system, applying the codes by hand is the only option.

Challenges of manual coding

“It takes ages”, “it’s not sustainable with our growth” and “we end up with so many misprints”.

These are just a few reasons that our customers have cited when asked why they are looking for a solution to date or batch code their packaging automatically. Other factors include the cost of labour, coding errors and not being able to keep up with production.

The solution

Rotech’s RF Lite standalone coding systems are designed to make light work of date and batch coding. Users can simply stack flat-form packaging, such as sleeves and cartons into the hopper, press a button and watch as the packs are individually fed under a thermal inkjet (TIJ) printer where they are consistently printed with a high-quality code.

What’s more, the user-friendly systems can be easily adjusted to run different products, so one machine can serve multiple lines.

Want to know more?

We have been designing, building and supplying offline coding systems since 1998. We understand the challenges that manufacturers face when it comes to accurately date coding and we’ve sought to address these with easy-to-use equipment that promises reliability and cost-effectiveness.

What some of our customers have to say about the RF Lite®

 Pots and Co packaging stacked up
  • This machine has been fantastic. It has slipped into our operation and become an invaluable part of our process. It is hard to imagine how we ever managed without it. Coding used to be slow, painful and labour intensive. Now a single operator can run off 5000 sleeves in just two or three hours.


  • At peak times we are over printing between 40,000 and 50,000 tags per week. With the RF Lite we free up 2 or 3 members of staff and save labour, time and money.


  • We take tremendous pride in the appearance of our packaging, and the crisp, clear codes produced by the RF Lite support this. This compact little system has not only given us the flexibility to cope with increased production volumes, it has given us confidence in coding quality.


  • We were literally writing the sell by date on to the sachet by hand. Every month we make batches of around 4,000 bars, and it was taking up hours of our time. Now, in 20 minutes or so, the Rotech machine prints what it would have taken us three days to write by hand.


The Rotech Tick

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