Paper Facility Saves Big with Move to Matthews TIJ

Paper Company’s Marking Makeover Delivers Quality, Efficiency, and Savings

Industry: Paper Products 

Application: Automated Marking System, Product Marking

Products: VIApack L-Series thermal inkjet printers


A major producer of cut and wrapped fine paper products based in the Midwest, faced significant challenges with its outdated marking systems. The legacy equipment was bulky, messy, disliked by the operators and error prone, not to mention expensive to maintain. Seeking a modern and cost-effective solution, the paper company turned to Crown Packaging Corp., which recommended Matthews Marking Systems VIApack, an affordable thermal inkjet printer and controller bundle. Despite initial skepticism, a successful trial proved the L-Series printers’ superior quality, ease of use, and cost efficiency when compared to CIJ alternatives. The mill transitioned seamlessly to the new technology, installing eighteen VIApacks with remarkable speed and minimal disruption. The results were impressive: improved print quality, reduced errors and downtime, and substantial up-front cost savings of well over $100,000. 

The Challenge

Located in the Midwest, this integrated pulp and paper facility produces thousands of tons of paper per day. The large-scale plant includes multiple finished goods production lines and produces millions of reams of high-quality fine paper including copy paper. Most of this output is private labeled and packaged 10 reams to a carton. Both the individual reams and the cartons are marked with variable information such as lot and date codes.  

The two legacy marking systems the paper company was using were effectively obsolete. For ream marking, they were using small-character, hot-melt inkjet technology, and for the carton marking they were using a rubber stamp coder. 

The technology on both systems was badly outdated, and the machines themselves were old and worn. This led to messy operations, inaccurate imprints that lacked durability, and potential safety hazards. In addition, the systems required frequent maintenance, which was an issue both in terms of reduced productivity and cost. Ultimately, it was a lack of parts availability that prompted the company to investigate a new solution. 

Initially, the operations team planned to upgrade each print system with new CIJ coders. They made this decision based on the preconceived notion that CIJ was the only technology option capable of meeting their needs. However, the projected price of $11,000 per CIJ unit (for a facility that required a total of 18 units) gave the company a bit of sticker shock and they decided to look for alternatives. 

Affordable TIJ solution improves efficiency at paper mill

This paper mill saved over $100,000 in up-front costs by deploying a Matthews TIJ solution.

The Solution 

The team then turned to Crown Packaging Corp. — one of the largest privately held packaging companies in North America and a trusted partner — to help them find a more efficient and cost-effective solution. After reviewing the marking requirements and facility, Crown recommended Matthews Marking Systems L-Series VIApack thermal inkjet (TIJ) bundle that comes with an MPERIA controller, printhead, mounting stand, and a photocell — all ready to go out of the box.  

To overcome the lingering skepticism about whether a TIJ solution could meet the mill’s marking needs, the Crown team provided a demo that impressed the customer in terms of image quality, ease of use, and a cost-per-print that came in at a fraction of what was possible with the outdated equipment.  

The VIApack TIJ printers produce precise marks of up to 600 dpi resolution at extraordinary speeds. The cartridge-based printheads virtually eliminate the need for maintenance and can be swapped out in seconds to keep downtime to an absolute minimum. And because the marks required are small, each cartridge lasts for 80,000 prints.  

The production facility required 18 units, half of which jet down to mark the faces of the reams, the other half of which mark the sides of the cartons once they’ve been packed. 

The initial trial included one printer, which the Matthews team installed. Three months later, following a successful trial, the plant ordered eight additional units, which they installed themselves. And three months after that, they ordered the final nine units, which were also self-installed. The simplicity of the installation and operation made implementation very fast and easy. There was no negative impact to the production line or product output.  

Matthews ViaPack is an industrial thermal inkjet printer. Industrial thermal inkjet printer.

The MPERIA VIApack TIJ bundle proved to be a cost-effective, low-maintenance upgrade over a proposed CIJ alternative.

The Results 

The benefits of this upgrade were immediate. There was a significant overall improvement in the production line. The print quality was sharper and more accurate. The reliability of the Matthews L-Series printer all but eliminated errors, downtime, and the need for maintenance. The ease-of-use and intuitive touch screen interface of the MPERIA print controller has nearly eliminated the need for specialized operator training, an ongoing cost savings. And by choosing the Matthews VIApack TIJ solution over the proposed CIJ option, the paper manufacturing company saved approximately $100,000 in capital expense while significantly improving quality, speed and efficiency.  

About Crown Packaging 

Founded in 1969, Crown Packaging Corp. is one of the leading single-source providers of industrial packaging products and equipment, and one of the largest privately held packaging companies in North America. They supply thousands of customers in more than fifty locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Crown Packaging Corp. is committed to delivering comprehensive and customized packaging solutions with superior customer service and the highest levels of innovation and quality. 

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