A real-life coding case

Niko - Illuminating ideas, had an issue for which a solution could not immediately be found. It was an issue outside of their own field of expertise: a coding issue. That was the issue with which Niko came to Guy Verduyckt, Sales Engineer at Automator.

The background
Niko (www.niko.be) delivers more than 5000 products and solutions in switching equipment, door telephony, lighting control and home automation. Niko is the market leader in Belgium, and has branches in several other European countries. For several years now, Niko has been pursuing sophisticated design and an eco-friendly approach. Naturally, the customer’s wishes are the guiding principle: quality products at a good price.

Niko is continuously searching for ways to work more efficiently, while maintaining a high level of quality and working in an environmentally-friendly manner. They have therefore been trying for quite some time to optimize packagings. One of their desires was to replace the labels on the boxes with something else. It had to be possible to do things more efficiently, with fewer malfunctions, fewer operator errors and in a more ecological way.

The first idea was to use a laser to apply the desired data onto the packaging. Tests were carried out with a laser. On account of the boxes having a light-brown core, the contrast between the dark outer layer and the burnt-away text, logos and barcodes was too low. Making the boxes from a different material would have been too expensive. The ‘laser’ option was discarded. What now?

Coding without a label
Enter Guy Verduyckt: “I went to have a look at Niko’s location in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. Once they’d explained what they wanted to me, I suggested the high-resolution thermal inkjet printer by Matthews. This printer prints directly onto the box. No more labels are required. A test installation was set up and tests were conducted until an optimal result was achieved. Automator’s competitors were also given the opportunity to demonstrate their solutions. Guy’s solution proved itself to be the best. Afterwards, it was agreed that the test installation would go into production for a month. Following this trial period, the people at Niko became very enthusiastic.

There were many reasons for Niko’s enthusiasm:

  • The print quality was at least as good as Niko was used to, if not better.
  • During this month, there were no malfunctions or downtime. (Labelling machines require a new roll of labels to be inserted on a regular basis, and the machine is more often subject to malfunctions)
  • The ink is supplied from a bulk ink bottle. This keeps the ink price low, and downtime (whether unexpected or because ink cartridges need to be replaced) no longer occurs.
  • A product change goes much faster because the roll of labels doesn’t need to be adjusted.
  • Moreover, packaging becomes more cost-effective and environmentally friendly as labels are no longer used.

Advantage of additional software
Niko uses Bartender software for creating the label layouts. Using a plugin, this layout can be used more easily by the Matthews printer. New software is therefore not necessary. Niko also uses a few Zodiac TTO printers from Automator on the flowpackers for printing on film. These printers are also able to print a Bartender layout using a Windows driver. Niko can therefore control all printers using just one software package.

Central control
The printer is controlled by means of one central PC. This is the same PC on which, among other printers, the Zodiac TTO printers are also controlled. The operator does not have to make any choices about the data to be printed, and can therefore make no mistakes.

Dedication is rewarded
Guy concludes: “Niko were so enthusiastic after the trial period that they ordered two systems. The trial period installation has now been operational for several months, to the full satisfaction of Niko, and the second installation will be started up shortly.”

No ready-made system: a customized coding solution
Automator doesn’t deliver a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system. We support and advise while devising, creating and installing the best solution.
In-house engineering in the fields of software, electronics and mechanics allows us to deliver tailor-made solutions. In our workshop, the coding systems are adjusted to fit your packaging line. Then, we take care of installation, training and servicing on-location. We have plenty of parts and supplies for the coding solutions we deliver in stock.
Are you curious about the solutions we could offer you? Call us on +31 (0)10 415 64 00 or email us at info@automator.nl. We and all our workmanship are at your service!