The current market value of the dairy industry stands at an impressive INR 10,52,700 crores. It is expected to reach INR 25,49,100 crores in the next five years. This vast industry with its plethora of products has varied packaging needs.
Different types of packaging calls for different printing solutions. Manufacturers often need to code their products with information such as lot or batch numbers for inventory tracking, “use-by” or “exp date” to ensure safety, or even promotional data to engage customers with a brand. Every conscientious manufacturer is concerned with which coding technology is best for their particular product. It all depends on the materials and manufacturing processes. Factors such as line speed, substrate to mark, the type and amount of data to put on the substrate, and the environmental conditions present in the manufacturing process have to be considered.
Let’s start by looking at the types of printers used in the dairy industry. Thermal Inkjet Printers (TIJ), Thermal Transfer Over printers (TTO) and Continuous Inkjet Printer (CIJ) are widely popular for printing on Mono Cartons, Labels, Lids, Flexible Plastic Pouches, Tins and Cans which is the most popular form for packing Dairy products in India.
Thermal Inkjet Printers (TIJ) can print Variable Data such as MRP, Exp Date, Batch No. Mfg Date, QR Code on substrate such as Pouches, Paper Lids, Mono cartons, Shipper Cartons etc.
TIJ is a Cartridge based printer very convenient to use and it has an easier interface to follow. Each cartridge has its own printhead and its own ink system. Each printhead is extremely reliable and rated for a much higher life than the ink contained in the cartridge. So, when the cartridge is replaced, a fresh printhead and ink system is in use; therefore, the two parts of the system which are most prone to failure are not an issue any longer. It is a plug and play machine with a solvent resistant touchscreen and perfectly sealed aluminium casing. This ensures that TIJ withstands in difficult environments, that have high temperature, harsh, dusty, corrosive, and aggressive conditions.
Thermal Transfer Over printers (TTO) is used for printing variable data information specially on Milk Pouches and can be directly integrated to any parent machine. It is simple to operate and is suitable for long shutdowns and intermittent operations.
Continuous Inkjet printers (CIJ) are also useful for the dairy industry. They are mostly used to print variable data information on Tetra Packs, HDPE bottles, Tin, Cans, Mono Cartons and Glass Bottles.
High speed precision printing on fast assembly lines is the particular USP (unique selling proposition) of the Continuous Inkjet Printer. Plus, the specialised inks stick to laminated surfaces and resist condensed water. The advanced technology ensures that the integrity of the packaging remains intact. This is mainly due to the contactless technology involved.
Lastly, shipper cartons where most of these products are packed to be shipped are printed with essential information using either Thermal Inkjet printer, High Resolution Printer, or Large Character Printer. This also can be integrated with the weighing scale machine and is capable of printing the exact carton weight which prevents product theft and helps track losses along the way, if any.