Willards Snacks


“We will never compromise”
Markem 18i Thermal Transfer Coders

Willards fitted Markem-Imaje 8018i thermal transfer overprinters to their bagging machines.

The decision to replace old printers with the latest in thermal transfer technology followed an initial assessment by Pyrotec of all Willards’ plant lines in which the viability of fitting around 40 bagging machines with thermal transfer coders was assessed.

Results of this assessment showed clear cost savings and return on investment with the use of 8018 thermal transfer overprinters designed to deliver affordable, high quality printing on flexible packaging. The coders, capable of a speed of 55 to 60 bags per minute, will be used on packets of Cheese Naks and Crinkle Cut chips.

Willards began trading in grocery products in 1965 and have continued to operate with innovation as their strategic theme. The hugely popular salt and vinegar potato chip, which revolutionised the snacks market with the launch of the Crinkle Cut chip, was first introduced by Willards, and they were also the first manufacturer in South Africa to launch metalised foil packaging.

In keeping with their corporate image, and in the interests of greater profitability, Willards’ decision to replace existing manual hot foil technology with real-time digital coding, now means that change of information has real-time control and accuracy of production, and the printing of best before, shift and line numbers is fully automated.

In addition, consistent, high quality digital technology will ensure clean crisp codes and, since there is no need for manual adjustment from the first print to the last, the instance of human error is reduced and expensive product recalls, waste and incorrect codes, eliminated.

Better all-round efficiency on bagging lines is also enhanced through reduced ribbon waste, thanks to the Markem 18i coder’s digital ribbon control that translates into more prints per roll.

The bottom line for Willards in the introduction of digital technology to their bagging lines is enhanced productivity and quality control and, therefore, greater profitability and market security.

Willards’ Manufacturing Manager, Shrine Nolan, explained the thinking behind the decision to acquire the Markem 18i coders in these tough economic times. “Even though companies are cutting back on their operating costs, and we are under pressure to do the same, we can and never will compromise the quality and traceability of our product. The acquisition of the new thermal transfer coders are our commitment to putting food quality and product safety first.”