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Making a good mark in the marketplace

Filtration products company uses high-efficiency ink-jet coding/printing equipment to identify and distinguish its products.
Champion Laboratories, headquartered in Albion, IL, is a leading private-label manufacturer of filtration products for the automotive, heavy-duty, off-highway, industrial, agricultural, construction, mining, marine, and fuel-dispensing industries. Champion Labs operates nine separate manufacturing and distribution facilities and produces more than two million filters weekly—including oil, air, fuel, water, and transmission filters. The company also fabricates virtually all component parts that go into the filters. These filter products are distributed under Champ, Kleener, Luberfiner, PetroClear, Eurofilter, and a variety of other brand names.

Champion uses the A Series ink-jet printing system from Domino Amjet (www.dominoamjet.com) to identify “in process” parts and finished goods. And the company uses the Domino Amjet C Series printing system to apply custom graphics to corrugated shipping cases. Printing speeds are approximately 200 parts per minute and 33 cases per minute.

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Various Champion Labs’ products are painted white, blue, or black, and the label graphics are unlimited. Champion likes to use yellow inks to present a good contrast on the company’s black and dark-colored products. But as Champion Labs manufacturing technician Mike Keepes explains, “The inherent problem with yellow and white inks that we have used in the past is that these inks are pigmented and require special equipment and/or methods to keep the pigments in suspension. The Domino yellow ink is a ‘soft pigment ink’ that stays in suspension without any special equipment and runs very well on their standard A Series printers. This has allowed us to eliminate specialty printers that require more service and attention and to standardize on one printer model.”

On the case-printing side of things, the new C Series printers have been installed on all Champion’s packaging lines in Illinois and South Carolina. Keepes reports, “Integration was a large task, due to our approximately 18,000 end item numbers. The Domino engineers were involved from the start, working from concept through installation. Because of these efforts, the installation and start-up went very smoothly.”

Commenting on the improvement over the old printing system, Keepes says, “Our previous set-up process required the set-up personnel to manually create and select the case-printing information and formats on each packaging line. A large portion of the printing equipment was functionally obsolete, and our customers desired better print quality, more printed information, and, in some cases, custom graphics and logos. With Domino’s C6000 Case Printers and Connect software we were able to network all of our case-printing operations to our mainframe. With this system, our set-up personnel simply scan a barcode via hand-held scanner. The print information and format are then down-loaded automatically from a database to the case-printing equipment, eliminating the human error factor in creating and retrieving the print information.

“The installation of the Domino printers has allowed Champion Laboratories to reduce our downtime, error-proof our process, and better serve our customers with excellent print quality and graphics.”

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