On a visit to one of our customer’s facilities in 2021, one of our Account Executives noticed that there was a section of the warehouse specifically dedicated for several operators to do some labeling of pouches. Each operator had a large stack of pre-made pouches and a stack of labels that had pre-printed barcodes and other information about the product. For an entire shift, these operators would take 1 label from the stack, hand-apply the label to a pouch, set the finished pouch aside, and repeat this process thousands of times over the course of a day. These labeled pouches were then re-stacked into boxes, and taken over to a different part of the factory so they could be run through filling and bagging equipment.
When the Account Executive asked the customer why they were doing this, they said that throwing labor at this was the only solution they could find. Summit realized that there was clearly a bottleneck in these otherwise highly-automated production facilities and went to work.
Our team of engineers, sales leadership, and service technicians developed a system called, StreamPrint, with the sole intent to:
- Reduce the amount labor and handling associated with this task.
- Eliminate the need for labels altogether.
- Increase the customers throughput to keep up with the rest of their production levels.
By combining a friction feeder with vacuum gripper belt, best in class continuous ink-jet printer, and custom built components to ensure smooth infeed and outfeed of the machine, the StreamPrint dramatically reduces operator involvement. Simply set up the machine and let it run. The bottleneck is no longer in the operators to label the pouches, but rather the machine wanting to be fed more product to run. In one instance, it took the number of operators from 10 down to 2 during a single shift.
Benefits of the StreamPrint
- Simple loading of pouches onto a flat surface at the front of the machine. No longer does an operator need to balance the stack of pouches on an angled surface for de-nesting
- Real-time date/time stamps (down to the minute)
- Job changeover in under 1 minute. Simple and fast adjustments for print location on the packaging
- Vacuum gripper belts ensure package is held stable across the print path and travels uninterrupted by wind or other external forces
- Finished product falls into a custom accumulation bin or an optional shingling conveyor
- Print on a variety of surface material types
- Minimal maintenance requirements keeps system producing for longer
- Eliminate the cost of labels
- Reduction in ink-consumables cost
- Eliminate wait time for the label printer to create stacks of ready-to-use labels