Ink-Jet Printer Keeps Company in the BlackInk-Jet Printer Keeps Company in the Black
July 2, 2002
Originally Published MPMN July/August 2002
Ink-Jet Printer Keeps Company in the Black
Code-printing unit uses less ink to increase cost savings
The S.C.I.F.I. 3200 ink-jet printer from Matthews International Corp. is suited for small-character printing applications where ink efficiency is a primary concern.
Containing collection tubes, needles, alcohol pads, gauze, and other elements, medical test kits from GBF Inc. (Greensboro, NC) provide paramedics with the tools for collecting blood and urine samples. These kits are supplied in a fold-and-tuck box that securely holds the components and also functions as the mailer in which the samples are returned to the lab for clinical analysis. To enable tracking in the event of a product recall, GBF prints a date code, lot number, and expiration date on the outside of this box. When it was discovered that the large amount of ink required by its ink-jet printing system was cutting into profit margins, however, GBF turned to Matthews International Corp. (Pittsburgh) for a more-efficient printing unit.
"The old printer they were using was costing them money, so they wanted a new system that could do the same job with less ink," says Matthews marketing communications manager Michelle Spaulding. "We examined their manufacturing operations and decided that the best solution was a S.C.I.F.I. 3200 small-character ink-jet printer," she adds. Compatible with high-speed automated production, this printer uses a photo eye to trigger the pressurized ink jets when a box is properly positioned. GBF uses the printer to code roughly 185,000 kits per month, and, according to Spaulding, this translates into significant ink savings. "With the old printer, they were spending $4000 on ink every five months," says Spaulding. "The S.C.I.F.I. 3200 unit requires only $500 worth of ink annually."
Suited for automated production lines, the printer offers a maximum print speed of 400 ft/min.
But ink efficiency is not the printer's only benefit. Using a robust drop-on-demand valve technology, the printer also reduces maintenance demands as it does not require flushing for short shutdown periods. "Manufacturers can just turn the unit off on Friday night, and it will be ready for use when they return on Monday morning," explains Spaulding. Additionally, the printer offers OEMs a variety of programming options. "You can control the printer using a computer, a PLC, a Palm device running Windows CE software, a remote keyboard, a bar code reader, and a variety of other devices that attach through an RS-232 serial port," says Spaulding.
Suited for printing characters that range in size up to 4 in., the S.C.I.F.I. 3200 printer offers a maximum speed of 400 ft/min. The device is capable of printing logos, graphics, and bar code information, and comes equipped with Matthews's Mattcom software. Primarily supplied as a single-color unit, the printer can also be reconfigured to handle a variety of hues. According to Spaulding, GBF is so satisfied with the results of its new printing system that the firm is considering converting other printing operations to Matthews technology.
Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News
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