"We initially bought the MCS Array for an application from a power tool manufacturer. They needed 2D serialization codes on all of their drill handles, for warranty support and to track sales at the retail level," says Mike Glidewell, director of technical services for Topflight.
At the time, Topflight had variable imaging equipment that was ten years old, and the ink wasn't durable enough to withstand the use that a power tool would go through. "That led us to MCS," says Glidewell. "They could handle the 2D bar codes, and had the software to support it. There were a lot of inkjet systems to choose from at the time. We looked at two to three competitors, and all had come up a little bit short of MCS' capabilities. They either came up short with the inks, the portability of the platform, or the software to drive the numbering schemes. MCS had the right product at the right time. And it hit right on the money for what we needed."
The MCS Array supports a print area that expands from 2" to 16". It prints at speeds of up to 250 or 375 feet per minute and can be integrated to most flexographic label presses or rewinders and on surfaces ranging from labels, primary and secondary packaging as well as corrugated boxes. Each 2" print head on the Array System has 4 individual industrial cartridges of ½ inch width. By utilizing two print heads across the web, Topflight is running four lanes of labels through it at a time.
Glidewell describes the MCS equipment flexibility: "The equipment is so portable and compact, we put it on a portable frame in order to move it from press to press and various rewinders. On the rewinder, we use it to serialize the back of liners for a medical device component. For medical and pharma applications, our clients have very strict label reconciliation procedures, which we integrate into a rewinder. So if we say we're shipping 250 labels, they better get exactly 250."
From an operator's perspective, the MCS Array didn't require a lot of training. "It's nothing compared to the operation of some of our other equipment! We've had no problems whatsoever. Nothing has been a show-stopper with the MCS and our extensive numbering applications," asserts Glidewell.
Rod Stone, president of Topflight, is pleased with the MCS Array's ability to improve sales. "Now we can take on more customer jobs than before. The Array's flexibility goes across many markets, from cosmetic, to consumer goods, to pharma and medical device manufacturers. It allows us to offer more options to more customers," says Stone.
Patty Britton, VP of business development, adds, "Now when we put together sample kits, we often include 2D barcodes and QR codes to show them what we can do. And we recently developed an anti-counterfeiting application with serialized 2D codes, which has increased our capacity to offer overt and covert brand security."