White Papers & Press
Iconotech Sales and Applications MGR
680 Chaddick Drive
Wheeling, IL. 60090
Phone - 224. 313. 5038
Mobil - 847-840-5840
Fax - 847-541-2539
Bill has an extensive background in purchasing, finance and plant management, and actually owned four of our systems while running a large injection molding plant before coming to Iconotech in 2001. He initiated a generic case program that justified the purchase of a system in each of four plant locations.
P O Box 918, 2 Heritage Park Road
Clinton, CT 06413
Phone - 860. 664. 5504
Fax - 860-669-5109
Linda was one of the founding partners of Iconotech 20 years ago after returning to the U.S. from the European marketing headquarters of a multinational American packaging corporation where she managed all international equipment projects from pricing to commercial negotiations. While in Europe, she was part of the team involved with the early introduction of large character ink jet to European end-users and thus gained an appreciation for the importance of quality print in product identification and bar coding.
10 Areas of Cost Savings
Choosing the Right Machine
Introduction to Iconotech's Ten Areas of Cost Savings
1. Consolidate Your Inventory
2. Get Competitive Bids
3. Eliminate Rubber Print Plates
4. Eliminate Obsolete Inventory
5. Reduce Warehouse Space
6. Reduce Scrap Corrugated
7. Reduce Headcount Requirements
8. Improve Warehouse Safety
9. End Production Line Downtime
10. Eliminate Inventory Carrying Costs
The Ten Areas of Cost Savings Summary
Choosing the Right Machine - Complete Video
Choosing the Right Machine Summary
Bardahl A Case Study in Packaging Flexibility and Cost Savings
Compare OptiFlextm to Flexographic Printing
What is Generic Case Printing?
Defensive Corrugated Purchasing Always Fails
Offensive Corrugated Purchasing Always Wins
Presented at PMMI Chicago 2007 by Bill Petersen
Presented at PMMI Las Vegas 2008 by Bill Petersen
Q: What is the Iconotech message?
A: Iconotech sells an in house case printing system that allows our customers to produce pre-print quality cases on demand. Our goal is to introduce the benefits of a Generic Case Program to our prospects. Our objective is to replace bloated preprinted case inventory.
Q: What is a Generic Case?
A: A generic case is not always a plain brown box. It is a common case that is used for multiple SKUs and one that allows for specialization based on the need of the manufacturer. A generic case can be supplied partially printed with fixed information, which is common to many products. Based on the production requirements the variable information, or SKU specific information is added by the manufacturer. An example of fixed information could be a multi-color logo, or common warnings, like KEEP FROZEN, or THIS SIDE UP. Variable information is anything that ties the case to a specific product, such as a bar code, product descriptions or item numbers.
Q: What is a SKU specific preprinted shipping case?
A: This is a case that is printed by the box vendor and includes all the graphics, product specific information and bar codes required by the customer. Each individual SKU has its own print layout and needs to be on hand to meet any requirement from the field. Production scheduling and inventories need to be monitored to prevent shortages and limit exposure to obsolescence. The main advantages of using preprint come from the perceived quality of the case being printed professionally, which implies a marketing advantage in terms of graphics quality, and consistency. Quality is important in terms of marketing message and, just as importantly, in terms of bar code quality. Many customers will not consider alternatives to preprint due to the perceived difficulty of printing a quality bar code. From the production department’s perspective ease of use is important. The cases come from the vendor go to production then off to the customer. Easy, no muss no fuss.
Q: What is a generic case program?
A: The concept of a generic case program is not new or unique. It rapidly became a growth opportunity when requirements for open code dating were mandated in the ‘70’s. The marking and coding industry identified this opportunity early on and has been promoting ink jet and labeling systems to address it since they were introduced in the market place.
Q: Who can benefit from a Generic Case Printing Program?
A: Any manufacturer using pre-printed corrugated shipping cases or kraft multi-wall bags.
Iconotech offers a solution that achieves these goals, and realizes these benefits without giving up quality in terms of graphics, bar code quality, flexibility, and overall marketing impact. Iconotech offers a plateless printing technology that produces pre- print quality at a fraction of the overall cost.
Q: How do I justify the project?
A: There are several areas of cost savings that can make a project produce substantial payback. However, the most common area of savings is in more efficient corrugated case purchasing practices.
The most common mistake when evaluating the potential cost savings of a project is asking the corrugate supplier to give a comparative price based on a plain versus printed case. The savings is not enough to justify the project. The prospect needs to understand where the savings is to be found. It is not the difference between plain and printed cases.
The savings will be found:
Q: Will an in house case printing system require more labor and additional handling?
A: Consider what the real objection is. We represent a change in process that can require a great deal of effort. You need to build a compelling economic case for the project to be successful. There is the need for an operator but that person should be found in existing labor.
The Iconotech system can print one side of a case, (two panels) for $.013 including labor or less than $.02 per case for two sides, (four panels).
Compare this to current costs of:
Stress the flexibility of the system as an additional cost avoidance:
Q: When was the last time the line was down because the right case was unavailable?
A: If you cannot find the right preprinted cases or if your on-line ink jet or label systems are down, so are your production lines and that can cost you thousands of dollars and hour. Iconotech prevents all of this because with generic case printing, you print what you want when you want it and just in time.
Q: Can the Iconotech System print all sides of the case?
A: The system will print two panels of the flat case in one pass through the printer. The Return conveyor makes reloading the cases practical when both sides are to be printed. Running the case through a second time assumes the information on both sides is the same. Since the overall throughput is reduced the volume requirements per shift need to be evaluated closely. It may still be cost effective to print both sides with one machine.
We do offer material handling solutions that can assist the operator’s task or link two printers in tandem. The cost justification needs to support a significant increase in capital cost.
Q: Can the system print quality bar codes?
A: The bar code quality is exceptional. There are several reasons for this. We generate the image at 200 dpi and the imaging film is replaced with every print job. The software allows us to adjust the bar code image to compensate for the natural spread when ink comes in contact with a corrugate surface.
Q: We can’t afford to shut the plant down if we can’t print boxes. How reliable is it?
A: Obviously, reliability is a major concern in any production environment. The Iconotech system has proven over and over to be the most reliable piece of production equipment in the plant. One plant manager told us that each day he entered the plant knowing something was not going to run as it should. He went on to say that for over seven years it was never the case printer. Iconotech printers all have a robust design constructed with Reliability, Ease of Use and Low Maintenance in mind.
The Iconotech case printers are designed to reduce service. We use many commercially available components such as Baldor Motors, Allen-Bradley PLCs, Bimba air cylinder and Gates drive belts. There are few wearable parts and maintenance requirements are minimal.
We are so confident about the system we offer a five Year Extended Warranty that covers all mechanical components on the machine during the contract. A central part of the program is a periodic visit form one of our technicians to assess the condition of the machine, make adjustments and replace failed components under normal conditions. During this visit we replace the ink line and inkpad as part of the normal service. We will also address any operator training issues at that same time.
Q: How does the Iconotech system compare to ink jet systems?
A: This is one of the most heavily promoted means of addressing a generic case program. The emphasis on printing the complete case has waned recently, but ink jet has been promoted to be able to “paint” the side of a case and provide quality graphics and bar codes as well as other functions such as time and date. To a large degree, ink jet has not lived up to its potential or promise. It is often the “Black hole of maintenance” and the quality has been inconsistent. The instinctive advantage of an ink jet system to print product codes and information automatically on line is very attractive. However, the reality has proven to be low quality, high maintenance and overall, very expensive. It also requires specialized material handling, a significant level of spare parts and expensive technical support.
Q: How does the system compare to labeling solutions?
A: Labels, specifically thermal transfer in-house printed labels, as an approach to a generic case program have also been heavily promoted. In some applications, such as the medical field, where the requirement is for real time data and extensive text in small areas, labels are the best solution. Certain bar code types can also dictate a label as a solution. For case coding, a label is attractive in terms of the perceived quality. This is especially true when bar codes are the driving force in the application. A reaction to a failed ink jet installation is often to install an automatic print and apply system on line.
These too require specialized material handling and are expensive when considering multiple production lines. A dual panel printer applicator will cost $18-20,000.00.
The limitations to an automatic print and apply system are:
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Iconotech - 2 Heritage Park Road - Clinton, CT. 06413 - 800.521.0194