For manufacturers such as Linx, customer demands are increasing and becoming more complex. In many instances coders are no longer standalone systems. A coder may need to be quickly portable, but equally may be part of a fully integrated production line, and the data links between the coders and external devices are an increasingly important part of any sales process.
At Linx, we undertook ‘Voice Of Customer’ research around the world in 2011, to determine exactly what customers wanted from coding and marking machines.
Simplicity of use was a key factor. As technological developments open up new possibilities, feedback from across a range of FMCG and industrial markets suggested that users prefer a simple, cost-effective solution rather than complex, feature-heavy machines.
Code content is becoming more complex, but user skills are not. This means there is a need for simpler on-board user interfaces, and the ability to control code content remotely
Reliability is a must: as other parts of the production line become faster and more flexible, coding equipment has to be able to match this flexibility, being ready to work where and when it is needed. So, for example, printers are becoming more portable within the factory, to reduce the need for multiple printers and to be able to get up and running at a new location in minutes.
Modern printers also deliver reduced environmental impact. While coding and marking equipment produces relatively low amounts of waste in itself, there is an ongoing focus on reducing the need to replace parts and reducing consumables usage. Innovative machine design can help to minimise efficiency loss in manufacturing processes.
Today’s lean manufacturing principles require production to be more flexible, to react to smaller batch sizes and faster delivery. Therefore printers must be more flexible – capable of dealing with faster product changeovers and easily moveable between production lines.
Maximising productivity means reducing unscheduled and scheduled maintenance time and costs. Printers have to be equipped with quicker trouble-shooting and servicing capabilities, and ‘self-service’
With many coding and marking customers under increasing margin pressure, it’s clear that printer manufacturers can play a key role in helping reduce costs.
Linx Printing Technologies is a UK company with a global presence providing coding and marking printers which are renowned for their ease of use and low cost of ownership.