Category Archives: Uncategorized

Avoid Recalls with the VXR® – the ‘end of line solution provider’

We live in a world where packaging regulations are constantly evolving. Supermarkets are demanding improved quality, 100% error-free labelling and a marked reduction in recalls – placing increased pressure on suppliers. But the good news is, our new game-changer, the VXR® will not only meet these demands but will outperform manual operations for a fully streamlined process. The VXR is the ‘end of line solution provider’.

When combining its three technologies, the key functionality of the VXR system, is to identify and reject food trays that are seen to contain errors. Vision inspection and ‘Sapphire’ carbon nanotube field emission technology will resolve these issues. ‘Sapphire’ is a leading technology in the field of x-ray, boasting low energy, high speeds and resolution for unparalleled performance.

VXR USPs

  • Total inspection incorporated into just 1.9 m
  • Avoid damaging press coverage and extortionate costs resulting from recalls
  • Eliminate human error
  • Reduce labour
  • Increase production times
  • High speed user-friendly interface for rugged factory environments
  • Benefit from multiple changes between products
  • Machines are built bespoke to feature just one of these technologies or all three for total control (x-ray must be incorporated if including seal check)
  • Faultless linerless labels and unrivalled quality control when linking to our Nobac 500 sleever

Vision

  • Identifies and rejects errors enabling operator-free end-of-line automation
  • Automatically detects faulty labels, printing errors and poor quality print
  • Analyses label position, quantity and orientation
  • Checks for barcodes, use-by dates and traceability codes

X-Ray

  • Heightened sensitivity for detecting a broad range of dense mass and contaminates
  • Identifies ‘common’ foreign bodies such as glass, metal, ceramics including all types of bone
  • Products are cast aside and placed into the removable reject bin

Seal Check

  • Checks for a secure seal on all food trays
  • Detects for contaminants in the seal including foods that have ‘slipped’
  • Locates for the correct position of the product in the tray
  • ‘Counts’ number of products in a tray; i.e. meatballs, burgers and sausages
  • X-ray functionality must be incorporated for seal check

2016 Food Recalls due to Foreign Matter & Contaminants

According to Food Safety Magazine, in 2016 they counted 764 food recalls, a 22 percent surge compared to 2015. Of that total were 44 foreign matter recalls. Pieces of glass, metal, plastic, rubber and wood were amongst some of the culprits found. Foods affected by these recalls included meat, fruit and even ice cream.

Video Footage and PR

See the VXR in action below on our YouTube channel>

 

VXR
VXR – Vision, Xray and Seal Check Technology

 

VXR
VXR – rear of the machine displayed with the back panel opened (closed when in operation)

 

VXR
VXR – Faultless linerless labels and unrivalled quality control when linked to our Nobac 500 sleever

For further information, contact Marketing on +44 (0) 1284 749144 or email marketing@ravenwood.co.uk. Read all about the launch of VXR at Pro2pack!

Ravenwood Grow Linerless Market

At its annual congress, Ravenwood introduced new technologies and marketing initiatives designed to grow its share of the global linerless label market. Andy Thomas reports.

Outside of logistics applications, the global market share of linerless labels has not moved much in the last decade – despite the clear sustainability advantages of the technology.

Perhaps the main reason has been the requirement for end users to adopt specialist application machinery which is able to apply a label without peeling it from a backing liner.

UK-based Ravenwood, however, has achieved enormous success in the linerless label market by ‘closing the loop’ between linerless label production and application. The company operates a licensing system which includes the whole linerless supply chain from specialist materials to coating equipment and application equipment for the end user. The whole system is supported by Ravenwood certified engineers and by intensive training of licensees to ensure a standard, consistent and predictable product is delivered at the end of the packaging line. Currently over 1,000 applicator machines are installed worldwide.

Ravenwood has grown around 20 percent year-on-year since the 2009 crash and today 35 million linerless prime labels a week are produced on its machines by global brands and retailers.

Ravenwood was founded in 2004 by Paul Beamish, who had previously worked at SE Labels and then Skanem, both linerless pioneers. The company has recently expanded its headquaters in Bury St Edmunds. The building contains showroom, of ces, training facilities and R&D, and was the location for this year’s congress, bringing together suppliers, printers and distributors.

Ravenwood linerless ‘labels’ do not have to be adhesive backed – some of the company’s most successful products are ‘slideable’ sleeves supplied on the roll. Printed onto thicker materials, up to 300gsm and at sizes up to 500mm x 225mm, they are designed to replace cardboard sleeves on trays sealed with clear film, as typically seen in the ready meals market. The sleeves are applied on Ravenwood’s Nobac 500 series applicators.

Paul Beamish says these linerless label/sleeves are up to 30 percent more sustainable than cardboard sleeves. ‘And our products are flexo printed, which is as good quality as litho-printed cartons, and they retain their image right the way through the supply chain.’

Other Nobac machines can apply ‘Skin pack’ labels and can be attached to weigh scales to deliver complete fixed or variable weight packaging solutions. The latest addition to the Nobac line is the 500R, which applies a full ready meal wrap in format sizes up to 225mm.

A constant problem facing Ravenwood and its licensees is ‘non-approved’ labels, either pirated labels which ‘look’ like the real thing, or cheaper substitutes bought outside the authorized supplier network.

‘Pirated or non-approved labels do not work well on our applicators and at the end of the day these copies are of poor paper and adhesive quality,’ said Paul Beamish.

‘The production manager often won’t know that the buyer has cut corners and purchased these sub-standard labels and when things go wrong, many are quick to blame the applicator. Our engineers provide ongoing support and can spot these poor quality labels instantly, proving that any downtime or product recalls are as a direct result of these inferior copies. So going forward, we are now placing more emphasis on marketing and promoting our approved network of machine suppliers, printers and partners to emphasize the importance of using Ravenwood linerless labels.’

New developments

Ongoing material and machinery developments are key USPs for Ravenwood and the company works closely with its supply chain to identify areas for improvement.

Innovia, Ashland, Evonik and Henkel were present to talk about new developments in materials, silicone and hotmelt adhesives.

Explained Beamish, ‘We are being forced to go faster and faster, which is why we spend so much time working on materials, and why we need to make sure printers are using the latest materials.’

A high quality print surface is particularly important, said Beamish. ‘Dive characteristics and adhesive/silicone relationship are crucial. You could buy any paper but find the adhesive will be sucked in and the silicone relationship is wrong so the labels don’t release properly, and that in turn affects the machines. It is vital to guarantee 120 packs a minute, and this needs the whole chain to be working together.’

A wide range of application machinery was on show at the event, including the new VXR end-of-line quality control system. It detects contaminants and checks both label accuracy and tray seals, all within a 1.9m footprint. The x-ray inspection system uses leading edge Sapphire carbon nanotube field emission technology. The whole unit is food safe. Also introduced at the congress was a new flexible packaging variation of the linerless sleeve system.

What of the future? Paul Beamish sees major opportunities in direct thermal linerless labels supplied on the reel for logistics applications using handheld printers. And there are many more products which could be handled on the Nobac applicators, including fresh foods like cress, and fresh meat and fish, which require special coatings to enhance shelf life.

Primary linerless labeling, in 8-9 colors and using value-added materials is another area for development.

Linerless coater

For the label converter, the core production technology is the Ravenwood Comac coater, designed to coat silicone and adhesive in a form compatible with the Nobac range of applicators.

The Comac applies multiple lines of release and adhesive between 3-25mm wide, coating labels with silicone on the front and adhesive on the back at speeds up to 450fpm (137m/min).

The labels can be printed on both sides before silicone and adhesive coating. The silicone sits on top of a special lacquer developed for linerless, and the laquer and silicone together act as a protective layer against UV, moisture and chemicals.

New Comac developments announced at the congress include the ability to run digital media. Ravenwood is also looking to add flexo units for varnish and reverse print, as well as potentially a slot coater and chill rolls so thermal materials can be run.

‘We are looking at new coat heads for more accurate coat levels,’ said Paul Beamish. ‘We now have on board an industry professional who says he can measure glue weight on clear film more accurately.’

Marcus Greenbrook, international sales manager at GEW, explained to delegates the N2 nitrogen inerting system used on the Comac silicone coating station. A nitrogen blanket reduces oxygen in the chamber to 50PPM, preventing it inhibiting the silicone curing process. ‘We control web movement into the chamber so we can get the gap much closer and stop oxygen being dragged in,’ said Greenbrook. The result is decrease of odor and migration – key for food grade applications – and the ability to cure at a lot lower power levels.’

Continued Greenbrook, ’Our Rhino power supply gives us better control of the UV system and reduces nitrogen consumed compared to older systems.’ UV output monitoring is integrated into the E2C lamphead, with up to seven sensors mounted across length of the lamp. GEW is now looking at closed loop control of lamp output based on sensor readings, said Greenbrook.

Ravenwood will be exhibiting at Labelexpo Europe. Visit the Label Expo website.

The above article was written by Andy Thomas, Strategic Director at Labels & Labeling and is featured in the June/July issue of Labels & Labeling. Flip to page 49 and read the online article.

Ravenwood Packaging
Ravenwood Packaging

Ravenwood Launches End of Line Quality Control System

Linerless gurus, Ravenwood Packaging has unveiled its latest game-changing technology, the VXR, combining vision, x-ray and seal check technology. The new innovation will launch at Pro2Pac.

The new compact and high-tech arrangement provides an all-inclusive process for the seamless production of sleeving, contaminate detection and sealing of trays. Customers will benefit from fully automating their production lines, alleviating the need for manual checks which are costly in terms of manpower and time consuming when production deadlines are tight. These three technologies fall under the operation of just one machine, incorporated into just 1.9m. The ‘end of line’ solution provider to meet the food industry’s stringent requirements.

“Supermarkets are demanding improved quality, 100% error free labelling and reduced costs – placing increased pressure on suppliers,” says Paul Beamish, Founder and Managing Director of Ravenwood Packaging. “The new VXR machine will not only meet these demands but will outperform manual operations for a fully streamlined process.”

The key functionality of the VXR system, when combining the three technologies, is to identify and reject food trays that are seen to contain errors. Ravenwood’s VXR will solve these issues with ‘Sapphire’ carbon nanotube field emission technology. Sapphire is a leading technology in the field of x-ray, boasting low energy, high speeds and resolution for unparalleled performance.

Vision

With ‘Vision’, the machine automatically detects faulty labels, printing errors and poor quality print. Expect analysis of label position, quantity and orientation. All printed information is checked including barcodes, use-by dates and traceability codes. The system also boasts a user-friendly interface for rugged factory environments. Ravenwood stipulated this at the design phase. “The machine must be simple and easy to use,” said Beamish.

X-Ray

The VXR is programmed with heightened sensitivity for detecting dense mass and contaminates, and identifies foreign bodies such as glass, metal, ceramics including all types of bones. Products are cast aside and placed in the removable reject bin.

Seal Check

Contaminates in the seal are also screened, ensuring trays and food packages are properly sealed. Foods that have ‘slipped’ could potentially obstruct the seal. The system also examines for the correct position of the food and number of products within the tray – for example, number of meatballs.

“Contamination of food may pose serious consequences for a company. Under the Product Liability Law, every food producer is liable for contagions in the event that a consumer should be harmed,” adds Beamish.

Ravenwood is now taking orders. Machines are built bespoke to feature just one or all three of the technologies.

For further information, contact Natalie Bonner on +44 (0) 1284 749144 or email marketing@ravenwood.co.uk.

Ravenwood's VXR machine
Ravenwood’s VXR machine ready for its grand unveiling at Pro2pac!
VXR logo
VXR logo