Damastown Industrial Park in Dublin is home to Barclay Chemicals, a leading manufacturer of crop protection products in Europe. As liquid fungicides and herbicides are classified hazardous, the information displayed on containers need to strictly comply with legal regulations. cab Hermes+ systems print encoded labels and apply them automatically on canister caps and cardboard boxes allowing Barclay Chemicals full traceability of its products.

Full traceability

A total of three to four marking systems – inkjet printers, labelling machines and applicators with a thermal printer integrated – on each conveyor line ensures full traceability of each product back to the original raw material. Hermes+ systems print encoded labels and apply them automatically on the canister caps and cardboard boxes. The Hermes+ have been integrated into the plant by AIS, an Irish distribution and service partner of cab.

Hermes+ systems consist of a print unit and a module to transfer labels onto products. If requirements change, such as the product to be marked or the size of a label, Hermes+ can be adapted. In Barclay‘s case, cab and AIS opted for the 4014 applicator to expand the print unit for automatic labelling. Printed labels are transferred on top of a canister cap or next to a cardboard box by a stroke cylinder and are tamped or blown onto the product by a pad.

Do or die

Barclay’s IT manager Martine Denihan explains: ‘A group of suppliers and customers in the agri industry formed an association group called Agri EDI. Their purpose is to manage the systems and define the specifications around a new standard called SC trace. This standard was to provide full traceability across the supply chain.

It required a 2D DataMatrix code on all products for France initially and thereafter other European countries. The encoded information includes the GTIN, batch number and date of manufacture. For Barclay, this was a ‘do-or-die’ situation. If we did not adapt to this, we would lose our French customers.’

AIS managing director Noel McKearney says, ‘As regards the hardware to apply the labels, the challenge was to find one system that would fit across the five litre lines as well as the five litre PET lines and the 20 litre lines. There were a number of reasons we chose a cab system. Firstly, we have a very good working relationship. cab sees a benefit in having partners and closely works with them. They are not just supplying pieces of equipment, but are jointly working with us on the solution and provide all the input that is required. In technical terms, the small footprint of Hermes+ was a powerful argument. It is no bigger than most of the label printers, and comparatively smaller than the print and apply units provided by other manufacturers. A further reason was the flexibility. Applicators are detachable from the actual Hermes+ print engine so you can easily switch to another application. This is very unique in that aspect.’

Denihan adds, ‘While we did this for the French market, we are getting requests from other countries to provide a 2D matrix code. More than likely, it will be a EU regulatory requirement sometime in the future.’

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