Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), Australia’s largest brewer, operates five breweries in Australia as well as breweries in Fiji and Samoa. Its Yatala Brewery in Queensland is one of the most state- of-the-art breweries in the world, producing 450 million litres of beer each year – satisfying approximately one quarter of the nation’s thirst for beer.
With Yatala’s advanced brewing and packaging technology there is no room for inaccurate, incomplete or illegible pallet labels that slow output and raise production costs. Australia’s major retailers require logistics labels with unique Serial Shipping Container Codes (SSCCs) to be applied to pallets delivered to their distribution centres so they can be scanned on receipt. To ensure the production line continued to meet industry standards for pallet-labelling CUB needed a time-saving and robust solution that withstand a 24/7 production schedule. The solution also needed to apply labels at multiple heights while complying with trading partner requirements, including the GS1 bar coding standards for pallet labelling.
Working closely with CUB personal, insignia, a strategic alliance partner of GS1 Australia, developed a unique solution - the Domino print-and-apply label applicator system. CUB’s new pallet labelling system has been running like clock- work since installation. The Domino applicator has reduced system downtime, lowered maintenance costs and increased production throughput for CUB, and met all of its customers’ changing technology requirements.
The Domino M-Series Solution
The applicator sits within a sealed cabinet with a pneumatic door that opens only when a label is to be applied. The cabinet is designed to keep dust out providing the Domino M-Series printer with an optimum operating environment. This ensures the printer and the printhead are not degraded by dust and other materials commonly found in warehouse and production environments. A fully functional printhead is vital for printing bar codes to GS1 standards.
The Domino M-Series pallet applicator at CUB comes with a standard check-scanner feature mounted to the tamp pad. This unit is protected via a sensor system to ensure it is not damaged during operation. The check scanner scans the bar codes on the label to ensure that it is applied correctly and the bar codes are readable. It then verifies that the correct label and related GTIN and SSCC are applied to the correct pallet and in the correct position.
The Domino M-Series print engine operates with a 300dpi printhead. This high-resolution printhead provides more options for the maximum magnification of the bar codes within the standards for the specific label size used. The scanner monitors the performance of the printhead. The quality of the printhead and the media management of the print engine ensures a quality bar code is produced even when printing a bar code in ladder format. This has allowed insignia to deploy a 4-inch 300dpi printhead at CUB and print the label in ladder format.
Unique tamp-pad and tamp-arm cylinder technology within the system allows the label to be rotated 90 degrees once on the tamp pad and applied in the correct orientation to the pallet. This means that if a pixel in the printhead does blow and a line is created in the print, it will not lead to an unreadable bar code as it will cut across the bar code bars leaving a legible bar code.
A key feature of the CUB Domino M-Series SSCC pallet-labelling system is its automatic height adjustment capability. CUB has a core need to meet an industry requirement of applying GS1 logistics label to unwrapped pallets. In this case they need to apply the label to the side of one carton only on the pallet i.e. not overlapping another carton. The Domino M-Series SSCC pallet-labelling system's automatic height-adjustment technology means that once a label is printed onto the tamp pad, the tamp arm will then drop to the requisite height for the specific pallet configuration for the product on the pallet and apply the label to a single carton. As only the lightweight tamp arm is moving to meet these differing height requirement, there is less wear and tear on the system and the arm can move quickly to apply the label in the shortest time possible. This feature can also be used to apply labels to part pallets within an operation. With this system in place the label is applied in the correct position according to GS1 standards so the pallet can be scanned on receipt at the retailers' distribution centres.
The Swedish-made Domino M-Series has the highest quality boards and components. The simplicity of the applicators' design makes it easy to use and to maintain. This has resulted in very high levels of up-time performance or OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of the system.
As a proactive business CUB saw the potential supply chain benefits of implementing this system and the flow on effects through this quality practice throughout their supply chain. Once a quality, readable GS1 logistics label is applied in the right location to the right pallet, products can be traced through the supply chain.
To ensure consistent bar code quality CUB Yatala has a comprehensive service contract with insignia that covers preventative maintenance and breakdowns. This means that their pallets continue to go out the door meeting GS1 standards.