There’s nothing like a cold craft beer! It’s estimated that craft beers sales are growing at 15-20 percent annually. In 2015 craft beer sales exceeded $22.3 billion. With all of this growth and competition how does a micro-brewer stand apart from the crowd? Sure, you can have a great brew, cool labeling, and a hot social media campaign, but being sure your brews are served fresh will keep customers and local taprooms coming back for more. Clearly displaying accurate date coding on your bottles will let everyone know you take brewing seriously.
The Brewers Association recommends that date lot code be clearly coded to aid with marketing freshness, but more importantly traceability for brewers, distributors, importers, and consumers. According to the Bioterrorism Act, brewers are required to insure traceability of their beer. Brewers must keep internal records of the specific ingredients, including manufacture lot numbers that were used in individual batches.
Having clearly labeled lot coding benefits the producers, distributors, and the consumers. The most vital role in lot coding is in the unfortunately event of a quality of safety recall. While brewers to there best to prevent recalls, it is essential to be prepared for them. Empowering retailers and distribution chains to utilize a first-in first-out strategy will ensure that stock stays fresh
Allowing consumers to understand the shelf life of beer educates the public about the industry, but more importantly about how brewers value freshness and transparency.
According the Brewers Association, there are several best practices for coding craft beer*:
• Standard or Gregorian Date package date coding
• “Best by” dating
• Julian date coding
• Unique company specific date coding
SSI packaging group are date and lot coding specialists. We have coding solutions for the smallest of brewers in the country to the largest. For bottle and can lot coding our Jet2NEO continuous inkjet printer by Leibinger, and our .UNO system by ink.jet are both compacts and economical. The Jet2NEO has a unique Sealtronic system that prevents the ink from being exposed to air, and therefore preventing clogging and additional maintenance between product runs. The .UNO high resolution system features ink cartridges from HP and is a great turnkey solution for brewers.
When it comes to case coding for craft brewers, print image and code accuracy is key for successful distribution and sales. Simple to use and maintain case coding systems from SSI Packaging Group include:
• Inc.jet .UNO
• Inc.jet . core
• Evolution 1 BY Digital Design
Of course, SSI Packaging Group is your complete warehouse solution as well with thousands of warehouse supplies in stock every day. From boxes and carton sealing tape, to high speed lot coding systems for bottles and cases, at SSI Packaging Group “we help you pack an track your image”®
It has always been difficult to run pigmented inks with light, high-contrast colors like white, light blue or yellow in small character Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers. Unlike black or darker colored dye based inks, pigmented inks require effective agitation to keep pigments from separating from the solvent carrier. Once the pigments separated, the sediment will clog the nozzle, filters, transfer valves and cause the print to lose contrast. The Leibinger Jet3pi Pigmented printer has numerous design features that enable very reliable operation, low maintenance and excellent print quality with pigmented inks. Here’s why the Jet3pi Pigmented printer is best-in-class:
The Jet3pi Pigmented printer is used extensively throughout many industries including wire, cable, pipe, extruded products, parts marking and packaging.
When a Leibinger printer is started, ink pressure is stabilized before the gutter returns to the open position. This is where conventional ink jets falter because the ink stream can “wobble” while pressure is building and clog the narrow slot within the charge electrodes causing poor print quality, fault conditions and messy clean-up. This printhead design also eliminates the “auto flush” cycle at shut-down which can dilute the ink supply and reduce print quality and contrast.
Unique Features of the Jet3pi Especially for Pigmented Inks
1. The variable speed, magnetically coupled stirring motor on the bottom of the internal ink reservoir continuously mixes the ink when the printer is running. There is a stirring bar within the reservoir that effectively keeps pigments from separating.
2. Ink is pumped through the main filter and into the bottom of the cone shaped ink chamber within the pressure tank. Pigment residue cannot collect since the incoming flow agitates the ink within the chamber.
3. Leibinger’s diaphragm type ink and suction pumps run much cooler and don’t “grind” on the pigments like gear driven pumps in competitive printers. The result is much longer pump life and less degradation of the ink over time.
4. Leibinger printers are designed to enable component level service rather than replacement of expensive modules or subassemblies that are not field serviceable.
5. Preventive maintenance is recommended twice yearly. Jet3 PM kits are inexpensive and easy to install by either the customer or Leibinger technicians.
All Leibinger printers have an “interval mode” feature which will automatically start the printer at programmable intervals up to 3 times daily when not in use. This feature is especially important for pigmented inks to keep the ink mixed. Competitive printers may claim to have a similar feature but only the Jet3pi will recirculate ink throughout the entire hydraulic system including the printhead and nozzle, not just the ink reservoir. This is key to prevent pigments from settling and accumulating within the fluid handling components. Almost no make-up solvent is consumed during interval mode.
SSI Packaging Group is proud to provide the Jet3pi CIj printer featuring pigmented inks. Download the whitepaper and specification PDF here.