3 Common Coding Setups for Craft Brewers

Posted by Ken Mogensen on May 20, 2019 8:17:00 AM
Ken Mogensen
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Meenjet MX1 - can, bottle, & Label coding

Here are three coding setups we encounter often

We are starting to work with more and more craft brewers as it continues to be a booming industry - 1,049 new breweries and brewpubs opened across the United States last year alone! Craft brewers are some of our favorite customers to work with as they remind us very much of our own company. Each craft brewer usually has a great story that lead them to opening their own business much like our owner, Bryan

The three most common date coding applications we work with are coding directly on the can, coding directly on the bottle or coding on a label prior to being applied to a can or bottle. Here's a brief overview of the setups and things to consider when deciding which route is best for you. 

Date Coding on Cans

Most brewers that are coding on cans prefer to print on the bottom of the can which can be a challenge for some printing technologies. Depending on which technology you use, the concavity of the can has the potential to degrade the print quality. 

Our go to technology, thermal inkjet printers powered by Hewlett-Packard®, must have the print head installed within 6mm of the printed surface in order to produce a legible print. This can be challenging on the bottom of cans; however, we have had several brewers make this work for them which can be seen in the video. This particular brewer decided to print on the bottom edge of the can as they can achieve a superior print quality in that position. 

Date Coding on Bottles

Although more and more brewers are starting to can their beer, there is still a lot of beer being filled in bottles - clear and amber glass. Until recently, glass was a very difficult material for coding printers - you were ultimately left with only continuous inkjet printing technology as a viable option. This all changed with the development of solvent based inks that were compatible with the Hewlett-Packard® ink cartridges.

We now have a fast drying ink that can print on glass - with black, white and yellow colors available. An added bonus is that the same printer can use different colors - switching from one color to the next takes less than 30 seconds!

The printers are simple and easy to use as they can be self installed within 30 minutes of opening the box. One recent customer that had been using continuous inkjet printers for the past ten years was elated when he finally switched over to our Meenjet MX1 system. You can see his production line coding on clear bottles in the video clip. 

Date Coding on Labels

Labels have obviously been used on bottles for many years and they are starting to become more prevalent for cans, as well. Our thermal inkjet printers can also be incorporated to print on labels as they are being applied to bottles or cans. 

We have a unique product detector that is incorporated with the thermal inkjet printer which threads the label roll and detects the spacing between the labels to trigger the print. The printer then prints date codes directly on the label prior to application. It is simple, straightforward and easy to use. This can also be seen in our video clip above. 

No matter your preference, we have you covered!

Regardless of which route is best for your operation, we have an option available for you. We are familiar with the ins and outs of the craft brewing production environment and we can help you navigate the world of inkjet coding and marking. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to discuss your application in greater detail. 

Topics: Coding & Marking, Inkjet Coding, Meenjet, Meenjet MX1 Printer, Meenjet MX1 Coder, Craft Brewer, Craft brewing, Micro brewing, Micro brewers, Date coding, Label coding, Can Coding, Bottle Coding

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