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Case study: Whyte & Mackay labelling solution

Allen Coding has installed a number of labelling systems at Whyte & Mackay, including a specially-developed split-head coder, designed for high quality, accurate printing on different substrates in a confined space.

Based in Falkirk near Glasgow, Whyte & Mackay is a long-established producer of award-winning alcoholic beverages, including Dalmore and Jura Scotch whiskies, Glayvar liqueur, and Vladivar and Pinky vodkas.

James Purves, bottling engineering manager for the distillery, explains: “We were looking to improve on the quality and legibility provided by our coders and needed two machines, one to print on paper labels on a wet glue labeller at speeds of up to 100 bottles per minute and one that would code on both glass and self adhesive paper to the required standard at 340bpm.”

Steve Ryan, UK sales and OEM manager at Allen Coding, says: “Restricted space on the labelling machines and a point suitable for applying the code were the main obstacles but with some creative thinking these were resolved.

"On the high speed line an extended head allowed access to a very small area to apply the code with full X & Y movement of the coding head for a range of 12 bottle sizes.  On the wet label machines the code was applied on the label pallets ensuring 100% accurate coding on a wet glue label.”

Allen provided a mix of systems, including the 10 watt, compact iCON non-contact laser coder and the 30 watt, high speed S3030PLUS SHS laser incorporating a split-head system for use where access was difficult.

“The split head arrangement allows the bulk of the system to be fitted away from obstructions and the head itself, which is the exit point of the laser beam, to be mounted close to the physical print area.”

The S-3000 laser system combines an incredibly compact design and an adjustable marking head, which can be installed on the most complicated production lines.

Using extremely fast mirror tracking systems, the most up-to-date software, hardware and laser technology, it requires little maintenance and has minimal operating costs, while guaranteeing high quality and accuracy.

Meanwhile, the iCON uses high performance optics, powerful hardware and low overhead software to enable its core laser to meet the high speeds of Whyte & Mackay’s production lines. Its compact design is ideal for use where space is limited and it is suitable for printing on a range of substrates from labels, cartons and plastics to glass, wood and textiles.

Used on whisky, vodka and rum product lines, the Allen systems are installed on Whyte & Mackay’s labellers to print product rotation identity and date codes

Purves adds: “Installation was tricky due to space restrictions but both types of machine are coping well. The reliability of the machines has been excellent to date and the quality of the code and ease of use has been beneficial to the operator technician and our operation overall. We have already recommended Allen Coding to others.”

Allen Coding is part of the ITW Marking & Coding Division, which also comprises Foxjet, Norwood, Diagraph and Trident.

18 February 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor