A Linx 8900 Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printer is being used for coding onto beer cans at a successful craft brewery in London. Since purchasing the Linx 8900 for its range of premium beers, Beavertown Brewery has praised the machine’s ease of use, compatibility with high-speed canning lines, and reliable operation in a damp environment.
The Linx 8900 is printing a single line code, using Linx Black fast-drying 1240 ink, onto the bottom rim of the can, ensuring accurate placement and excellent legibility in this small area. The 2-3mm high code comprises best before date and batch code for traceability purposes.
The company had originally used a Linx CJ400 CIJ printer for all its coding requirements, but upgraded to the Linx 8900 after undergoing a dramatic expansion that saw its production batches increase from 700 litres to 10,000 litres, the equivalent of 77,000 litres of beer per week, leading to much higher speeds on its canning line.
The Linx 8900 is able to handle the line’s current maximum speed of 200 cans per minute as well as higher speeds should throughput have to increase further as demand for Beavertown Brewery’s products continues to grow. Equally important, the printer can also cope with the line’s variable speed, ensuring code quality and clarity remains consistent even as the line speeds up or slows down.
Another benefit of the Linx 8900 is its IP55 rating. This ensures the printer can perform reliably during the filling operation, which takes place in temperatures of between -1°C and 0°C leading to some condensation forming on the cans. The IP55 rating also allows the machine to remain in place during washdown of the line after every shift.
With the installation of the Linx 8900, Beaverton Brewery has been able to redeploy its original Linx CJ400 printer, using its carton coding feature to print lot numbers and best before dates onto boxes of cans, as well as product names onto boxes of smaller runs of beer.
The Linx 8900 features a high-resolution touch screen for simple and error-free operation. In addition, Linx’s proven autoflush system, which thoroughly cleans the printhead every time the printer is shut down, ensures a fast, reliable start-up the next time it is required. This is a significant benefit for Beavertown Brewery, where the canning line is not in operation every day.
Other ease-of-use features of the Linx 8900 include Linx’s pioneering Self-Service Wizard, which guides operators through the process for an engineer-free service module change that minimises downtime.
“The Linx 8900 has provided the ideal solution to help us cope with growing demand for our cans of beer,” comments Tom Jones, Beavertown Brewery’s Assistant Head Brewer and Production Manager. “It can easily keep up with our canning line speed and I really like the IP55 rating, which is an important benefit as we wash the line down after every shift. Equally important the touchscreen interface is simply laid out and allows us to change over codes very quickly after each run.
“In summary, the Linx 8900 is really easy to use, keeps up with the line and meets all our needs.”
Founded in 2012 and now based in Tottenham Hale, London, Beavertown Brewery produces a variety of high-quality beers – including Gamma Ray, Smog Rocket, and Black Betty – as well as a number of special and seasonal products. Its products are mainly sold in independent craft beer shops, primarily in the UK with some also being exported.