ice-ip-rated-zodiacICE – Interactive Coding Equipment – is exhibiting its latest innovations in thermal transfer coding solutions at Total 2010, following a year that has seen the company enjoy significant growth. 

In addition to an IP65 rated version of its best-selling Zodiac™ thermal transfer overprinter, ICE is showcasing exciting new emulation software that enables customers to upgrade their coder without needing to change their entire production infrastructure.

ICE delivered a record sales year and an 8th year of consecutive growth during 2009, bucking the trend despite continued talk of difficult trading conditions.  Founding director Chris Gent attributes this success to the company’s ethos that the right approach to meeting customer needs is to be a specialist. “It isn’t enough to offer ‘best-of-breed’ in printer technology,” he explains, “service, support and application expertise is an important part of the deliverables.”

This was an opinion clearly endorsed by Videojet® Technologies – the world’s largest coding and marking equipment provider – when it recently awarded thermal transfer specialists ICE exclusive UK distribution rights for their world renowned brand of TTO coding equipment.

“The team at ICE have unrivalled expertise in the field of thermal transfer overprinting” explained Chris Williams, Managing Director, Northern Europe for Videojet Technologies. “With the continued growth of thermal transfer overprinting, our partnership with ICE ensures best-in-class equipment across all technologies and support for both manufacturers and Global OEM partners”.

Chris Gent adds, “The background of our management team is in engineering, giving us unrivalled knowhow in understanding packaging machinery and being able to integrate coding equipment into the production line to maximise output and convenience.”

These qualities are evidenced by ICE’s latest solutions on display at Total. The new IP-rated Zodiac™ provides industry leading wash-down protection against dust and water ingress, making it ideally suited to hygienic packaging applications such as those found in many food factories.

The machine has retained the popular and intuitive touch-screen graphical user interface with easy-to-learn, icon-based controls, as well as standard RS232, Ethernet, digital I/O and USB connections – but now all of this are available as IP65-rated. This removes the need to place the printer within an additional expensive or bulky enclosure and ensures ingress protection in normal operation, ideal even in damp or dusty environments such as salad packing or frozen food factories.

The IP-rated Zodiac is provided with a special IP65-rated cassette cover. Prior to wash-down at the end of a production run or end of the day, the line operator simply replaces the standard ribbon cassette with the wash-down cassette to make the unit IP65-compliant. By performing this simple task, the printer does not have to be removed from the production line or protected with a sheet during cleaning and wash-down routines, saving time on pre-cleaning preparation and post-cleaning reinstallation and setup.

Another innovation is ground-breaking emulation software, developed to provide customers with a cost-effective means of upgrading their coding needs without disrupting existing operations.

“Many factories are using obsolete coders but are afraid to invest in a replacement, in case the new machine cannot ‘talk’ effectively to other production line equipment,” Chris Gent explains.

The new software solves this problem by emulating the old machine’s communications protocols, meaning that installation is quick and easy. As a result, the customer can benefit from the latest features and functionality without having to invest in expensive upgrades to other equipment to make it compatible.

Chris Gent believes that emulation is an important step in improving the flexibility of coding and marking in industries such as food and pharmaceuticals, where manufacturers may need to respond quickly to frequent changes to legislation. “A factory’s existing printer may not be able to deliver the codes required by new standards, but with emulation much of the hassle is taken out of purchasing new equipment.”

Interactive Coding Equipment (ICE)

Chris Gent

Tel: 01159 640144

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