Reducing marking machine consumables is a major issue for food manufacturers

I think one of the underlying factors of why we were impressed with the Hitachi marking machine, was the reduced cost of consumables that these newer-designed markers would give us,” said Geoff Humbert, Managing Director of Mansfield Food Contracting, when asked about the purchase and installation of the Hitachi marking machines.

We had the older VideoJet 37E marking machines and had noticed that our consumables costs were climbing. Frankly, we were quite concerned about our expenses such as maintenance as well as on going consumable costs such as ink. After contacting VisyTech and orgnaising a demonstration on the Hitachi RX Series, it was obvious that this was the answer to all issues we were facing. awould be one of key features and that we were going to be spending way less.

Mick Meeksi, our Site Engineer, and the maintenance team did some testing in-house on a comparison of consumables between the 37E verses the Hitachi. We then extrapolated that out over our different production rooms and worked out a per annum return on the reduction in consumables. It was significant enough to say, that we could invest in quite a number of the newer Hitachi machines.”

Mansfield is a privately-owned company of 38 years standing, which provides dry food manufacturing services for both local and internationally-known companies. The companys core business is manufacturing food products and they have a state-of-the art production facility in Melbourne’s south eastern suburb of Keysborough.

Mick Meeksi takes up the story. “The VideoJet 37E marking machines we had were old and breaking down too often. They were not reliable. We had 26, but at any given time, we probably only had 20 of them working, with six in the workshop being repaired or worked on.

They had just about reached the end of their shelf life as far as getting spare parts,” added Geoff.

We have 27 different manufacturing rooms and some of them would have two printers working,” said Mick, “so we need quite a number to service all of those rooms and a real problem if all rooms are running at the same time. From that point of view, we needed a unit that was going to stand up to the kind of production we have here.

We had trialled another unit earlier in the piece, and then spoke to Visy as well. They brought in the Hitachi to show us and we got a couple of demo units to try out. After a short training course on how to run them, the boys found them pretty-easy to use. And now, the operators are able to put new messages in without any drama, so they reprogram them. They are fairly-easy to use and have been very good.”

In total, Mansfield purchased 16 printers, after an initial group of three or four which proved them to be up to the job.

The interesting thing was,” Mick added,“was that we bought a couple of second-hand Hitachi units that had been used for 18 months and already had a few hours on the clock. And they have been just as reliable up to date as our new units. Small things happen in a manufacturing environment, like a printhead are dropped and you have to realign it – which is understandable – but basically, that is the only issue we have had.”

Mick also said there was a lot less maintenance on the Hitachi units. “Our previous units were pretty old, but some of them were fully rebuilt but still gave us trouble. Some are sensitive to electrical noise, so if you had a static hit from a vacuum cleaner, for instance, it would knock them out. The Hitachi seems pretty immune to that issue, so we are quite happy with them.”

We had a play around with one or two to start with,” Geoff said, “so we had a good understanding of how they operated. But then, when it became a commercial decision where we had more of our old units in the workshop being repaired, than were functioning, we had to act quickly. And Visy certainly supported us in our last purchase, which I think was in excess of 10 units.”