A new ink jet system made it a good year for a leading French wine producer by enhancing brand appeal, improving inventory tracking capabilities and saving time and money

As one of leading wine producers in the Languedoc region of southern France, Les Vins Skalli – which built its fame by introducing the concept of varietal wines to the region in the 80s – relies on premium packaging that reflects the high quality of the wines it produces.

To enhance its secondary packaging capabilities, Skalli needed to be able to easily switch the types of coding information printed on each carton in order to accommodate the diverse coding requirements of customers from around the world. The company also needed to be able to print crisp, sharp alphanumeric text and elegant graphics on the boxes.

To meet these needs, the vineyard purchased an HRP 1000 ink jet system from Tiflex featuring Trident 768Jet printheads capable of printing alphanumeric text, bar codes and graphics up to 10cm in height – said to be the tallest in the direct-to-carton market.

“It is imperative that our packaging reflects our commitment to quality,” explains Rene Garcia, production manager at Skalli. “The ability to print tall, elegant graphics on our secondary packaging helps enhance brand appeal.”

One of Skalli’s regular customers, a major Asian airline, is said to have been particularly pleased with its suppliers new ability to offer crisp graphics in addition to accurate barcodes on their packages. “The airline used to prefer the use of labels to print their logo,” says Garcia. “The labels were more expensive than ink jet printing but the airline was very sensitive to having top quality printing for their logo. When they saw the sharp, high quality we could print for them with the Trident 768Jet printhead, they were thrilled.”

The printhead also features an automatic maintenance module” that routinely cleans the printhead at programmable intervals. This self-priming capability was an important selling point for Skalli.

“We print over 300 000 boxes per month,” explained Garcia. “In order to have top quality printing, we need to keep the printheads from being clogged by corrugated fibres and factory dust. The automatic cleaning system on the 768Jet printheads ensures consistent high-quality printing and saves our operators time since they don’t have to manually clean the printheads.”

As Skalli was working on strengthening its market in Europe and building a presence in Asia and North America, it needed a printing system capable of responding to the varying needs of customers around the globe.

“Countries have different laws and regulations about the type of information that must be printed on each wine box,” said Garcia. “Each of our customers has very specific information that they need printed. The Tiflex HRP 1000 is able to store all of this variable information for us so that with a simple click of a button we can accommodate different customer’s printing needs.”

The HRP 1000 was also able to assist Skalli with other challenges arising from the need to code products for a world market.

“Nobody on our packaging floor speaks Japanese,” explains Garcia. “So coding boxes for our Japanese customers used to be a real challenge. The Tiflex HRP 1000 allows us to simply load a disk containing the customer’s product information and logo onto the Windows operating system. With a few simple size adjustments, we are ready to print.”

Moreover, a wider global presence meant Skalli needed enhanced inventory tracking to monitor its production. With the new printer, it is now able to include information like the hour, date and year of production, lot number, product type and ID number on its boxes.

“We have been very pleased with the savings the Tiflex HRP 1000 has generated for us,” comments Garcia. “In addition to the label savings, the user-friendliness and automatic maintenance features on the Trident-powered system have saved about 30 minutes per day in production time.”