In Line coders (direct print modules or thermal transfer over printers as they are sometimes called) are used to print best before dates, batch numbers, production codes, barcodes and other variable information directly onto packaging films, foils and flat packed cartons. These coders are normally found integrated directly into packaging machines or can be found built into print and apply systems to add variable data to labels.
Vertical form fill and seal machines
Form fill and seal machines are used to create and fill bags with many different products such as snack foods, frozen foods, rice, salads, vegetables etc. These machines are loaded with a roll of pre-printed or plain packaging film and the coder will print the variable information onto this material whilst it is still in a flat position. The machine then starts to form a funnel in which the product is filled. The machine then seals the bag in a staged cycle creating the filled bags.
Flow Wrapper Machine
Flow wrapper machines tend to be on horizontal packaging lines that have products wrapped into packages / packs. The product would normally be transferred on a conveyor belt where it passes through the flowrapper which automatically wraps the packaging material around the product. The end of the packets is then sealed as part of the machine process. Again the coder is located in an area where the packaging film is still flat.