Ink-jet code for cat snack pack

In the first quarter of 2003, contract packager Toll Packaging of Gibson City, IL, began packaging a dry cat treat in a stand-up foil pouch at its Wendell, NC, plant.

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To mark the pouches with code date information, Toll installed an ink-jet printer and had it fitted with an EZ Jet™ ink-jet nozzle from InkJet, Inc.

“The nozzle produces good print quality,” says Dave Earl, maintenance supervisor at the Wendell plant. “And if a part goes bad, there’s no need to throw the entire nozzle away. We just clean it out or replace the component and put it back in operation.”

An ethanol-based ink, also from InkJet, is used by Toll because it provides a dark print on the foil pouches while producing a fast-drying mark that doesn’t smudge or transfer from pouch to pouch. The ink formulation is free of MEK (methyl ethyl ketone), so it eliminates the handling and odor considerations often associated with ketone-based products.

Toll codes the pre-made pouches with expiration date, a Julian date, a plant identification code, and the time each pouch is packed. The pouches hold either 2.1 or 4.5 g of product and are filled, sealed, and weighed at speeds to 40/min. —PR

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