GWF asked Kwik Lok to work with Unimark, an agent of laser vendor Markem Corp., and color-changing technology expert Sherwood Technology to develop nonsmudging coding alternatives to thermal-transfer tag printing. In the first phase of the transition, Unimark supplied GWF with Markem CO2 laser coders to produce indelible codes that eliminate smudge problems. The second phase incorporated the gradual use of Sherwood’s DataLase Masterbatch color-changing/darkening additive technology to enhance date coding.
Kwik Lok applies DataLase Masterbatch directly and strategically to the bread bag polymer closures. The additive, compatible with a wide range of substrates and conversion processes, is nontoxic, environmentally friendly, and is capable of producing highlighted printing or graphics when marked via a low-power CO2 laser (approximately 10-watt power).
Once exposed to the laser on the production line, the additive is activated and the lasered images undergo a color boldening change to create a stable and high-contrast date code. By combining DataLase Masterbatch with low-power CO2 lasers, GWF is able to achieve high-quality, high-profile date codes that cannot be easily removed from the closures. This coding solution reportedly speeds packaging line times, and eliminates the expense of consumables such as inks and solvents. —Judy Rice