Crest Foods Co., Inc., Ashton, IL, is a contract private-label packager with expertise in turnkey manufacturing, blending, and packaging of a wide range of dry food products. To print its cup, bag, and carton packaging, Crest was using ink-jet equipment that was working satisfactorily. But in-house maintenance of the printers was not easy to accomplish. It often was necessary to call in printer supplier company technicians, resulting in increased line downtime.
Crest shopped around and found the MK-U6000 Series industrial ink-jet printer from Keyence Corporation of America. This high-speed, clog-resistant system features an easy-to-use, touch-screen operator interface and is engineered to offer a combination of automatic maintenance and advanced QC. Print quality is easy to inspect. The printer can be linked to an image sensor with just one cable. And replacement of consumable parts is simple to accomplish, requiring no tools or user’s manual.
Crest conducted a three-week trial and then installed their first easy-bolt-on Keyence system in March 2015. Currently, the contract packer is operating 10 Keyence MK printers, printing one to three lines of alphanumeric data, depending on the product application and package size. These printers accommodate Crest’s cups, pouches, and cartons in various sizes. Flexible and rigid plastic structures are customer-specific, as is the fill/seal equipment.
Adding up advantages
James Shuck, Maintenance Supervisor for Crest Foods, says, “Since we have been using the Keyence printers, we have saved on downtime, and these printers deliver excellent print quality. They are among the simplest-to-use printers on the market. If we encounter a glitch, the system walks us through, step-by-step, to repair or correct the problem. So our line operator usually can rectify the situation without needing to call on maintenance personnel. Keyence has provided excellent service, and our Keyence contact, Joseph Milburn, always has been right there to respond quickly to any concerns. He always has been available if we’ve needed extra training or other assistance.
“With some of our powdered products, we have a very dusty environment. The Keyence units with their auto-clean feature have stood up very well in that environment. When we have had to do filter replacements and various other maintenance on some units, the Keyence service instructions have provided us with specific and easy step-by-step guidance. And when we order inks or other supplies from Keyence, they usually arrive within a day.”