Lancer manufactures "pythons" — bundled and insulated beverage tubing that transports chilled beer and post mix from storage to the point of dispensing at various commercial venues.
With the chiller typically located remotely from the point of dispensing, the python is important because it couples the correct product from the chilling machine with the point of service.
Lancer numbers its beer tubing, so the installing technician can connect the tube from the chiller to the respective dispense point.
The size of python depends on how many beer taps or drink flavours there are. It's not uncommon to have 20 lines in a python of varying tube diameters.
Lancer was buying in pre-printed numbered beer tubes, which created major inventory management issues: their investment in stock was considerable; and stock shortages for just one type of numbered tube resulted in production downtime and substitution.
Buying pre-printed tubing meant Lancer had to hold a lot of stock to cater for any configuration. This was further compounded by not knowing what customers intended to order, which made stocking the right amount of the right tube very hard.
To guard against running out, Lancer overstocked – creating space problems in the warehouse and high inventory costs.
Lancer wanted to: reduce investment in stock; gain control of inventory; reduce downtime; and improve time to market.
On-demand printing of the respective numbers onto generic blank tubing would positively impact on stock control and downtime, while improving overall efficiencies.
Lancer also had these needs: high flexibility, to be able to print a number of different identification codes; high visibility, so codes can be easily read; and a simple-to-use solution.
Matthews used its previous work with traversing systems to develop an on-line marking concept in conjunction with Lancer. The resulting machine can print onto an array of beverage-grade translucent tubes before they're harnessed into the python.
As part of the online-marking machine, Matthews recommended a Linx 7300.
Lancer has gained these benefits by Introducing the Matthews' online tube coding system: rationalised inventory through buying generic tubing; numbered-tube shortages eliminated; floor space within the factory and warehouse is better utilised; increased production efficiencies by reducing downtime; product quality has increased by eliminating tube substitution due to shortages; and the risk of using the same number tube twice in a python has been removed.
The company is very happy with the Linx 7300 coder, as well as the existing 6900 Linx printers.
Originally published on the Matthews blog