Linx Printing Technologies has provided Darlington and Daughters with a robust coding and marking solution that combines its reliable Linx 7300 Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printer with the versatile Linx Opaque blue ink 1043.

Family owned Darlington and Daughters is renowned for its wide range of preserves under the Mrs Darlington’s brand name. The company’s extensive portfolio includes jams, curds, marmalades, mustards and chutneys.

With such variety, Darlington and Daughters requires reliable printing of batch codes onto the underside of glass jars. At the same time, the right ink needed to be found to provide the necessary opacity whatever the colour of the jar contents.

“Our existing coders were expensive to run, unreliable and produced excessive mess when dealing with our preferred choice of pigmented ink,” explains Sarah Darlington. “We looked at the options available on the market, trialled the Linx 7300 and have been extremely happy with the results.”

The fact that Darlington’s product portfolio encompasses a wide colour range meant that the shade of ink used was critical. “A black ink is not visible against blackcurrant jam; similarly, a lighter colour is not easily seen against lemon curd.” Linx proposed the use of its Linx Opaque blue ink 1043, whose distinctive sky blue colour provides a strong contrast whatever the product. Darlington also benefits from the ink’s robust formulation, which offers a high degree of light-fastness and temperature resistance.

The Linx 7300 is designed to avoid the hidden costs of coding through the lowest possible running costs, minimised production downtime, error-free coding and future-proofing. For Darlington and Daughters, it is used to print discreet traceability codes onto the base of the jar.

To achieve the latter, the printer has to be mounted below the production line so it can print upwards. As a result, reliability is essential, as Darlington and Daughters cannot afford the coder to become clogged up. “We have to maintain speeds of up to 80 jars per minute, and we can’t be stopping every five minutes to check things,” explains Sarah Darlington.

With its FullFlush™ automatic printhead cleaning system, the Linx 7300 ensures minimal maintenance and no mess. At the same time, the coder’s intuitive user interface maintains simplicity for operators. Darlington and Daughters also benefits from a reduction in energy costs, as its previous coder required the use of expensive compressed air.

“Linx has proven to be tremendously helpful in providing us with a combined printer and ink solution that meets our particular needs, in a way that produces outstanding results for minimal downtime and a low cost of ownership,” concludes Sarah Darlington.

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