Kuemmerling is Germany’s number one in the small bottle segment. The semi-bitter herb liqueur enjoys a brand awareness of 85 percent and a success story lasting ninety years. While the beverage recipe has remained unchanged, the production is constantly modernized. Just quite recently, the upgrading of the marking technology was on the agenda: REA JET laser and inkjet systems were integrated into the production lines. The coding and marking systems of the company belong to the most technologically innovative ones worldwide.
In Kuemmerling’s main factory in Bodenheim bei Mainz, various spirits brands of the Henkell & Co. group such as, for example, Fürst Bismarck and Jacobi 1880 are also made. The fully-automated production operation complies with all ISO standards and is IFS-certified. The bottles and the packaging boxes are marked for quality control purposes with REA JET systems. In this way, the entire production is traceable at any time, which is a basic requirement for adhering to the high standards.
For marking the typical Kuemmerling miniature bottles, the newest CO2-laser REA JET CL system with the protection class IP65 was integrated in a Krones bottle-filling line. The slim design was decisive for that. However, only the open interface technology of REA JET with the consistent use of XML for the data structure has fully convinced the export-oriented company. The most modern digital interfaces make communication with the central manufacturing computer system possible.
A carousel leads the glass bottles to the laser. The labeling system, which was specially developed for operation in a humid environment, marks an impressive rate of 36,000 bottles per hour with the batch identification. The duration of the marking process is continuously displayed. The laser technology permits the sharp engraving marking of the surfaces with the highest reproducibility of the marking quality. It generates individual, abrasion-proof and forgery-proof markings on the glass and thus ensures the safety by the clear identification.
The laser is supplied with cool air from an external blower that is included in the delivery; in this way, it is completely possible to do without a costly cooling with compressed air or maintenance-intensive water cooling. This energy-saving aspect and other advantages have convinced Kuemmerling. As the technical director puts it emphatically, one should choose the REA JET system on the basis of technical and economical points of view. Along with the simple integration and the low operating costs, the possibility for making two-line inscriptions was also of crucial importance.
In search of an alternative
Other maintenance-free REA JET systems were installed at Kuemmerling for marking packaging boxes. The devices that were used until now were based on pieso technology and required high maintenance costs. The print heads had to be continuously flushed. Every flushing process caused a significant design-based soiling of the environment. The cleaning and the regular replacement of the wear parts caused additional costs. Also the quality of the imprints was not satisfactory and no variation of the print height was possible.
Now the cardboard boxes are marked with high resolution and without a contact by using the REA JET HR brand’s newest generation inject-printers. These systems guarantee an optimal marking of the surfaces; they can be used flexibly and are maintenance-free and cost-efficient. Print height of up to 50.8 mm is possible at a speed of up to 300 meters per minute. The REA JET HR does not need any solvent-based inks and diluting agents and is thus suitable also for use in sensitive branches such as the beverage industry. The ink consumption can be optimized with the help of many setup parameters. Thanks to the HP print technology, a uniform and precise marking result without wear parts such as filters is guaranteed. The REA JET HR printer is economical in use and is immediately ready for operation even after a long standstill period. That is why it is not only a cleaner, maintenance-free and inexpensive alternative to the service-intensive pieso printers, but also to the widely used continuous inkjet systems (CIJ).
Kuemmerling is increasingly marking goods with 2D codes, along with the EAN codes, and that is why it has decided for the REA JET HR. The future-proof system convinced with its modern software and free updates. The DataMatrix codes are spreading now in all branches because they need considerably less space for presenting the information than the barcodes and, in addition, they can encrypt more relevant data. For example, along with the article and serial numbers, also date, production plant or customer number.
From the production to the delivery – the coding is an important basis for the automation of all processes at Kuemmerling. The containers can be identified at any time by their code; this permits the retracing and accelerates the processes. Thereby the machine readability of the marking is in the focus because the bad marking is difficult or impossible to organize. Therefore, the coding must be made in accordance with the industry standards. The adherence to such standards serves for achieving higher first-pass read rates and thus saves time and costs both for the manufacturer and also in the trade. The print quality of the codes is analyzed with the REA VERIFIER code verifying devices. Then the marking is optimized together with the client until it corresponds to the requirements. In this way, the first-pass read rate is increased, the automation is enhanced and the competitiveness is maintained.
For its laser and inkjet encoder, REA JET has developed a new common operating concept. At Kuemmerling we are happy with the clearly structured menu navigation and the simple use. All functions can be controlled per web browser. The graphical device setting, the parameterization of the marking, and the management of the print job are performed by integrated remote control through a central computer. The operator is informed about the device and job status and as a result intervenes very rarely directly in the production line. Since every Internet user is familiar with the functioning of a web browser, the operation is easy to understand. The integrated web server belongs already to the basic equipment at REA JET.
Client-specific solution instead of mass-produced products
The company-internal development and production of REA JET implements individual applications such as the combination of different marking products. As a full-service supplier, the company can deliver hardware, software as well as consumables and thus can, along with the standard solutions, also implement client-specific requirements. The modular nature of the technologies favors the flexible adaptation to very different requirements. Kuemmerling benefits from the perfectly harmonized products from one source.
Innovation secures the competitiveness
Innovation has tradition at Kuemmerling. The fresh appearance of the successful brand is accompanied with a continuous modernization of the production. With the upgrading of the marking technology by the specialists of REA JET, a further step in a successful future has now been made.