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In this edition of The Spotlight, Markem-Imaje celebrates 30 years of innovation in thermal transfer overprinting (TTO) and examines how the evolution of its pioneering SmartDate® series has played a pivotal role in addressing key challenges for businesses in productivity, efficiency, and speed.

30 years of innovation – from analogue to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As the old saying goes, the only constant in life and business is change. From a time when fax machines were still in common use, to the early adoption of AI by Markem-Image to develop its Connected Services, the last 30 years have arguably seen greater change than any other comparable period in industry. And as our customers’ requirement to print increasingly complex codes at greater speeds, the pace of innovation has increased. From the SmartDate® 2 which featured a longer ribbon, enabling companies to print on continuous packaging lines, to the SmartDate® X65 with its intuitive user interface as well as the SmartDate® X45, Markem-Imaje TTO technology is now helping customers to meet increasingly complex legislative demands as well as driving greater efficiencies, delivering fast, high-resolution coding on flexible film packaging.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the unique capabilities of Markem-Imaje SmartDate® solutions have become pivotal for businesses across the world and will continue to help drive industry forward in the years to come.

Pioneering innovation – an industry first

For manufacturers, fast, high-resolution coding on flexible film has become the norm. But continuous product research and development has continued apace. Thirty years on from the first SmartDate®, the SmartDate® Xtreme and SmartDate® Xtreme Plus thermal printheads were launched. This industry first has set new standards in terms of the application space for TTO technology and enabled our customers to print high quality, durable codes at up to 600 mm/s. That’s twice the speed of any comparable coding solution using high resin ribbons available today.

Meeting the needs of Industry 4.0

Valued by manufacturers who need the fastest, high-resolution coding solutions available for flexible film, the SmartDate® X series of printers are primed to meet the demands of Industry 4.0.

Compact and versatile, the high performance SmartDate® X65 enables manufacturers to print variable date, time or batch code information, logos, and barcodes at speeds up to 455 printed packs per minute, at 300 dpi.

In addition, the unique Markem-Imaje ‘relative motion’ feature, means that every manufacturer can meet the highest standards of compliance and product traceability, by ensuring every code is complete following an unplanned line stoppage.


Sustainable innovation

For three decades, Markem-Imaje has played a critical role in turning innovation in thermal transfer coding technology into an established and valued solution for business. But the only constant is change and as environmental concern grows, sustainable production is now a critical consideration for manufacturers.

Today, the most accurate coding is helping our customers to reduce the volume of packaging waste while Markem-Imaje SmartDate® Xtra 3520 ribbons are up to 83% longer than the industry standard, which means they need to be changed less frequently. In addition, only 100% recyclable ribbon cores are used by Markem-Imaje while the SmartDate® Xtra 3520 uses a thin 4.0 micron ribbon, which generates 10% less plastic waste than the industry standard.

Sustainability is integral to innovation and we’re looking forward to supporting manufacturers to drive greater efficiencies, reduce waste, and further improve their environmental performance for the next 30 years and beyond.

This content was sponsored by Markem-Imaje.