Food Engineering

Finding the purr-fect supplier

August 1, 2005
Ink jet nozzle and fast-drying ink save time and money for pet food co-packer.

IJI’s EZ JET nozzle offers field-replaceable components. Operators at Toll Packaging can flush out the nozzle or replace worn components if problems arise. Source: InkJet, Inc.
Toll Packaging, a co-packer of pet foods and other specialty products for more than 30 years, strives to satisfy customers with quality products, professional services and competitive prices.

So, when Toll installed a Videojet 37e ink jet printer on a new packaging line that was set up specifically to handle a dry cat treat packaged in pre-made, stand-up foil pouches, company officials wanted to find a supplier that could provide low-cost, high-quality inks, as well as equipment maintenance, repair services and replacement parts, for the new machine. InkJet, Inc.(IJI), a supplier of aftermarket inks, replacement parts and services to the coding and marking industry, turned out to be that supplier.



To code the foil pouches with a "best by" date and other key information, Toll needed an ink that would not smudge or transfer from pouch to pouch. Management selected IJI's new 31 ink, an ethanol-based product that produces a fast-drying, dark print on the foil pouches that is rub and scratch resistant. The MEK-free formula helps Toll maintain a safe operating environment by eliminating the handling issues often associated with ketone-based inks.

"The ink we buy from IJI is less than half the price of the OEM fluid," says Kevin Polizzi, product supervisor at Toll's Gibson City, IL, plant. "But what matters most is that IJI doesn't waste any time in getting back to me and they guarantee their products one hundred percent."

Based on its positive experience with the ink, Toll called on IJI when it needed to replace the OEM nozzle on the machine. "Time was critical and IJI had a replacement nozzle to us by 8 a.m. the next morning," says Polizzi. "They had us back up and running quickly."

IJI designed the EZ JET nozzle as a cost-effective alternative for use on all Videojet Excel series coding and marking equipment, but made a few improvements. On traditional nozzles, if a particle gets past the filter into the orifice, printing quality suffers or printing ceases. With a traditional closed-unit OEM nozzle, there is no way to clean it out, so the entire nozzle assembly needs to be replaced, which is an expensive proposition.

However, IJI's nozzle offers field-replaceable components. As parts wear or problems arise, the EZ JET nozzle can be opened by Toll's in-house operators. The nozzle can be flushed out and worn components can be replaced, eliminating the need to buy an entire nozzle assembly. This approach enhances printer performance, reduces operating costs and increases uptime, says Polizzi.

"The EZ Jet nozzle produces a good print quality and achieves good printer performance, while it reduces our costs at the same time," says Polizzi. "We stock the replaceable components so if the filter or the orifice goes bad, there's no need to throw the entire nozzle away. We just clean it out or replace the component and put the nozzle back in operation."

On the dry cat treat line, Toll fills, seals, weighs and codes the stand-up foil pouches at speeds of 40 cpm. After being coded, the pouches, which come in both 2.1 g and 4.5 g, are hand-packed into cartons for palletizing.

For more information:

Bob Tarrangano, InkJet, Inc.;
936-856-6600;
sales@inkjetinc.com