Coding and marking specialist Interactive Coding Equipment (ICE) has launched a next generation thermal transfer overprinter (TTO) which is able to monitor and report on the quality of each code it produces. This largely removes the need to include a costly vision system on the line in order to meet increasing demand from retailers for code quality checks.

ICE says its new Zodiac Hawk TTO will help businesses in their drive to achieve improved Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by being the first coder that can report on all three elements of OEE, with quality now included alongside performance and availability. Equally important, the coder’s ability to provide early warning of any potential loss of code quality will help minimise production disruption and downtime, as well as reduce the risk of customer complaints or the possibility of product recall, with its cost implications and potential damage to brand reputation.

The Zodiac Hawk features iAssure™, an internal checking system that assesses the spent ribbon after each code has been produced to determine whether the print quality has been good enough. If the code is deemed unacceptable, the Zodiac Hawk can signal for the pack to be rejected and if the fault persists, can declare a trend of deterioration and stop the line entirely.

All information on poor quality codes, along with guidance for rectifying the problem, is reported on the control screen or may be accessed and printed remotely to enable manufacturers to take immediate action. This helps minimise line downtime and limits the amount of codes with poor quality which otherwise may have exited the process. In addition to its ability to self-monitor code quality, the Zodiac Hawk also offers a number of features unique to thermal overprinting.

The Zodiac Hawk operates without compressed air to generate the necessary force for the printhead. The removal of this, which is costly to provide and maintain, means the entire printing operation is now controlled by the Zodiac Hawk’s software, helping to ensure consistent and reliable coding.

The Zodiac Hawk is able to operate in continuous or intermittent print modes, and has significantly increased print speeds and throughput capability, with line speeds as high as 700 packs per minute. 1200 metre ribbon capacity and a suite of ribbon save features ensure downtime due to ribbon replacement is minimised.

The Zodiac Hawk features a full colour touchscreen, with the proven CLARiTY operating system. The system is fully modular allowing up to four printers to be operated from a single screen.

To find out more or to book a demo, please visit ICE will be exhibiting the Zodiac Hawk at the PPMA Show 2017, between 26 – 28th September at the NEC, Birmingham on stand C65.


Tel: 01159 640144