Adapting to market changes through innovation
Like many producers in the farming industry, Payne’s Dairies have faced many challenges in recent years; changes in consumer habits, price wars and Brexit are just a few. But, like many British farmers, Payne’s Dairies have worked incredibly hard to adapt to market forces, to ensure that they continue to serve and meet the demands of their customers, whilst maintaining their high standards, and importantly, their bottom line.
With pressures across the industry on prices per litre (PPL), the company needed to look at operational ways to reduce costs, without compromising efficiency.
Eliminating the costly CIJ bottleneck
Payne’s Dairies produce around 360,000 2 litre, 1 litre and 1-pint cartons of milk per day, across six lines. One particular and recurring issue however, was the frequent breakdown of their continuous inkjet (CIJ) system used to code each milk carton label. Not only was this a costly interruption to production, it was also costing around £1,000 each breakdown and another £6,000 a year to replace the printer sensors on six lines.
The old CIJ system was also large, expensive to run and increasingly expensive to maintain. Furthermore, it was soon to become obsolete.
Trialling thermal inkjet printing on the production line
It was perfect timing when Rotech’s print specialist dropped by the site with a new thermal inkjet printer (TIJ) in hand. Having outlined to the Factory Manager the significant benefits that this small, low cost printer could offer, he was invited by the Managing Director and Chief Engineer to demonstrate the technology. This led to the agreement to install a new printer on all six milk carton labelling lines.
One of the primary benefits of TIJ is the size of the printer. It’s small enough to hold by hand, yet powerful enough to reliably and consistently print at high speed. TIJ is also a cartridge-based technology, meaning no mess and moving parts – it’s completely maintenance-free. Each cartridge can yield up to 400,000 high-quality prints before it needs replacing, meaning consumable costs are comparatively low.
The printer comes with iDesign format creation software which allows the company to create and edit dates, times and line numbers, as well as check information on job status, quality and ink levels.