Individuality and flexibility are important distinguishing features for food production plants and food packing plants. No matter whether in the meat, poultry, dairy, fish or vegetable sector. Standing out through innovative, sustainable packaging is the top priority. This also includes the appearance label. Because labels on packages are necessary! Legal information such as nutritional values, allergens, individual weight-price information or shelf life data must be declared for the end consumer, visible and individual, for each product. This is done especially in the fresh food sector via the label. Thus, the label becomes more and more the focus of the product appearance and must match with the packaging.
For premium products not only the quality but also the visual appearance is decisive factor
Luiten Food (a company of Thomas Foods Stompwijk/Netherlands) is one of the largest retailers of meat, poultry, fish and seafood in Europe and distributes its premium fresh products from the Netherlands to retailers and wholesalers throughout Europe. Luiten Food relies on the one hand on the highest product quality through a global selection of suppliers for its products, but also on extensive internal quality control. With the aim of always offering its customers consistently high quality. Luiten Food also attaches great importance to the optimal appearance of its products. Equally important in the meantime is a sustainable plastic-reduced packaging option, which Luiten Food also offers to its customers. Depending on the product or the wishes of the retail industry, the fresh products are packaged in different package shapes and geometries. This flexibility is an important unique selling point as a premium supplier in the industry. For the packaging of meat products, for example, both classic MAP trays and skin packaging are used. In addition to the appearance of the packaging, the label requirements of the retail industry are also completely different. The label varies in size, shape, design, texture and content from customer to customer. Luiten Food must therefore be able to react flexibly to the requirements of the retail industry.
There are customers who require product labelling on the bottom of packages. This is particularly preferred for skin packs. Other customers want several labels on the bottom and top of the package as standard labelling. This is the case with classic MAP trays, for example. And yet other customers expect an all-round banderole (C or D labelling) for their products. In order to meet all these requirements, Luiten Food has designed its labelling lines to provide maximum flexibility in terms of shelf life, quality, sustainability and product appearance. An ESPERA machine combination consisting of a labelling system with integrated scales and labeller as well as an associated machine for C / D labelling is used for this purpose. Both systems communicate with each other and are combined to save space. The data flow of all label information to be printed comes in real time via a full online connection of the machines.
Weighing and labelling of different types of packages without changing the line and without extensive machine changeovers
The labelling system of the ESPERA series ES 7000 enables the individual weighing and labelling of products. For example, weight-price-dependent information, which varies from product to product, or nutritional value and allergen information can be printed.
In addition, a labeling system for pre-printed labels is integrated into this system. This allows, for example, pre-printed advertising labels or promotional labels to be applied directly to the package in the automated line. This is because retailers often have a need for special labels or decorative labels. For example, during seasonal business or for special price promotions.
For customers who prefer a label as a banderole around their packages, the NOBAC C- and D-labelling system, also fully integrated by ESPERA, allows full flexibility. Pre-printed cardboards or banderole labels are automatically wrapped or glued around the package and offer space for a large advertising and a high-quality visual appearance of product packages.
If, for example, the retail markets want both, an all-round banderole label and an additional label on the top / bottom of the pack, this is easily possible with this combined line. Fast changing product batches or small batch sizes can be labelled just as easily and individually using this compact line solution.
Luiten Food currently has a total of 4 such combined labelling lines in successful operation.
Fully automated transmission of labeling data to the production line, so that the latest information on the product is always available
In addition to the machines, the associated software for operating the machines and the transfer of product data to the labeling systems is also an important decision-making factor.
The more extensive the product range, the more product data needs to be maintained. Due to the diversity of the product range and the large number of retail customers, Luiten Food has to maintain a large amount of different product and customer data. ESPERA enables the simple maintenance of product data and customer-related data via the software solution ESPROM NG and at the same time enables to link Luiten Food´s own product and customer database with the ESPERA labelling machines.
Simply said: as soon as new products are added to the Luiten Food database or changes on a product are made, the data for the ESPERA labelling systems are also updated in real time. This makes it possible to always have up-to-date data on the machines and at the same time avoid redundant data.