Timber mill upgrades branding with Matthews ink jet printers

Supplier: Matthews Australasia By: Matthews Intelligent Identification
26 May, 2010

Installing a Matthews SX32 drop-on-demand (DOD) ink jet printer at the end of its production line has vastly improved the speed, quality and consistency of branding at Fenning's busy Timber Conversion Centre in Gippsland.

Key facts:

  • Hand-stamping of branding codes onto boards eliminated.
  • Speed, quality and consistency of branding vastly improved.
  • Boards automatically printed at end of production line.
  • Quick and easy on-line changes to branding codes.
  • Drop-on-demand print-head work well in dusty environment.

Fenning's Timber Conversion Centre in Bairnsdale, eastern Victoria, produces kiln-dried hardwood from timbers it sustainably sources from Tambo Valley forests.

Fenning general manager Rodney Natty, says the centre continuously upgrades its modern plant and equipment. Recently installing an automatic stacking machine meant Fenning also needed to upgrade the way it was stamping boards as they were produced. 

After comparing products and prices from local and overseas sources, Rodney decided to install a Matthews Swedot SX32 ink jet printer, with an 8000 series16-valve print-head.

The new printer has vastly improved their branding.

"We had been hand stamping every piece of wood as it was processed," Rodney says. "This isn't as bad as it sounds when we were packing by hand, because once the operator had a full layer of boards on the top, they just pulled the roller across and stamped them all at the same time."

"The difference came with the automatic stacking machine. It separates the operators from the pack, so they were roller-stamping one board at a time - we obviously had to do it differently."

With the Matthews SX32 installed above the automatic stacker and behind the winding holding line, each board is now branded automatically as it passes under the print-head before being stacked into the finished packs.

Consistent branding
Another reason for choosing the SX32 was the consistency and quality of the branding.

"Hand stamping with a roller meant that the branding appeared wherever the operator wanted to put it," Rodney says. "The name was not always clear, and sometimes it was only half printed."

"It's important that Fenning is presented as a professional brand, and that people can quickly identify whose timber it is and whether it's the right grade."

"The SX32 certainly solved that problem. The branding is absolutely clear, and it never varies."

Easy to use
Rodney says Fenning's operators learned to operate the system very quickly because it's so easy to use.

"Basically, they turn it on and it works," he says. "The controller is really simple, and codes can be changed very easily. We alter the size of our brand according to the size of the timber, so we've got it set up on 4 different programs for printing boards from 90mm–290mm wide. The operators only have to press a couple of buttons and away it goes."

The controller's standard QWERTY keyboard, and simple, icon-based menu structure, gives operators a clear overview of the different options. It also has 4 handy "hot keys" for quick access to frequently used functions.

Another real plus is that the drop-on-demand (DOD) print-head copes with vibration and dust without any trouble at all.

SX32 popular for timber
Rodney says, "We knew that the SX32 was being used extensively throughout the timber industry, and had been proven reliable."

"So our decision to go with the Matthews brand was certainly influenced by the fact that others in the industry are already using it."

"We figured if they're happy, then we should be, too … and we are!"

Originally published on the Matthews blog