Four Recovery Indicators Pull Back

The recovery indicators took a wallop this past month, with four of them pulling back, especially new orders for manufacturing. The NASDAQ had an erratic month but only had a -1.5% pullback despite much grinding of teeth. But… the ISM decrease in new orders for manufacturing and non-manufacturing needs to be put in perspective: these…

A New Philosophy of Blogging

The amount of articles offering advice about blogging is overwhelming because blogging or content marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) status. The theories of what is important in blogging swing back and forth like a pendulum. Lately the trends are focusing on the creation of a…

Ten Reasons to choose Image based ID readers

Image-based code readers stand poised to replace laser scanners in a wide range of industries including food, beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical and automotive, but when considering a transition from laser scanners to image-based barcode readers, many think that the is cost too high. Today’s most advanced image-based readers have overcome the technical and economic hurdles and now offer a more attractive alternative to industrial laser scanners on the factory floor.

Thanks to advances in microprocessors, imaging sensors and decoding algorithms, image-based ID readers have become not only more affordable, but also more powerful. The logistics barcode-scanning market breaks down into three segments. At the entry level, a mix of conventional area-array imagers and laser scanners read codes on slow moving or stationary objects. At the high end of the scale, fixed line scan image, based systems handle high-speed, multi-sided barcode tunnel applications. Situated between these two extremes, is an entire range of applications that currently rely on an increasingly challenged generation of laser-based scanners.

Today’s most advanced image-based ID readers have overcome the technical and economic hurdles and now offer a more attractive alternative to industrial laser scanners on the factory floor. A laser scanner reads a barcode by measuring the size of the printed modules using light reflected from the code. One of the method’s advantage is its simplicity as it is easy to set up, connect, aim and can read codes fast enough to accommodate high speeds.

An unread code requires diverting the package to a manual station where an operator directs the package to its destination or replaces the defective barcode and resends package back through the sorting system. This failed condition increases the labor material costs and reduces the efficiency of sorting equipment because packages are handled more than once.

To cope with these limitations, the logistics industry has designed special labels that maximize read rates and equipment specifically optimized to handle high numbers of reads.
Image-based readers have several significant advantages to traditional laser scanner technology, such as:
  • An image-based reader can find and locate a barcode regardless of its orientation. This can also provide a major advantage for set up, record keeping, and diagnostic purposes.
  • Imagers can use advanced software, to read 1D barcodes with significantly less contrast, which is critical for poorly printed codes or for 1D barcodes not printed on a standard white label, for instance on a corrugated box for an example.
  • Imagers provide the ability to overcome the issues presented by damage or reflections in the code since the imager software can use just portions of the code to ‘reconstruct’ the data.
  • The ability to use the entire 1D barcode for reading instead of just a single laser line enables image-based readers to read a code despite low resolution, voids in portions of the code, distortion, and other defects.
  • Another advantage from a reliability perspective is that image-based readers have no moving parts.
  • An image-based system can display the scanner image on a monitor or industrial display in real time.
  • As the user sets the system up, the display shows exactly what the scanner sees, ensuring that the images will be in-focus and that the image will include all codes on any package that comes down the conveyor.
  • Area array image-based readers also offer better uptime because laser scanners use motors and other mechanical mechanisms to `move’ the laser spot across the code.

The logistics industry is also into the introduction of two-dimensional (2D) codes like Data Matrix. The amount of information that 2D codes can store makes them very attractive for a wide range of applications and image-based scanners are required to read these symbologies. As large retailers and internet fulfillment centers, consider capital equipment purchases to add capacity or increase throughput, raising barcode read rates by just one per cent could significantly shorten payback schedules and increase ROI.

Beverage industry is wising up to an aging population

Although historically the marketing of soft drinks was focused on the youth market with the key age bracket of 10-24 year olds, Canadean detects great opportunities in targeting the growing aging population.
According to the UN population division, the world’s older generation, those aged 60 and over, is expected to more than double, from 841 (11.7%) million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion (21.1%) in 2050. These numbers open doors to a potential market growth as older consumers want to stay healthy and have disposable income available for longer, especially in developed countries where independent living is far more common.

“It is all about the different approaches being taken by manufacturers”, explains Erica Shaw, beverage analyst at Canadean. “On the one hand, across Western markets in particular, manufacturers are launching more products with active ingredients to address health and vitality issues, but similarly, companies are looking into the more practical aspects of growing older, such as being able to lift and carry the products without a difficulty and designing more convenient packaging.”

Seniors are influencing innovation in functional drinks

Companies are using a mixture of scientific research, together with superfruits, botanical ingredients, vitamins and minerals, to develop anti-aging drinks which appeal to the older consumer. An example of this new wave of longevity drinks is Swiss drink, CellaNova. This product is a slightly carbonated mineral water, with pomegranate and cranberry juice and OM24, which is an all-natural product made from whole green tea leaves with antioxidant properties and claims to neutralise free radicals causing the aging process of cells. Moreover, the range of drinks from Vitamin Well also offers many options to address specific health issues, and includes vitamin B12, which is  particularly recommended for elderly consumers to complement their diet.

Home delivery is on demand

The ease of carrying and pouring drinks is also being considered with older consumers in mind. In Spain, for example, bulk/HOD water companies are focusing more on household consumption rather than corporate clients. They have found that seniors appreciate the convenience of home delivery as it is easier to pour a glass from a water cooler, thus avoiding having to handle a big bottle. Furthermore in Portugal, Nestlé’ Waters Direct is promoting its compact MySpring water cooler especially to older consumers, who may not want to carry heavy packaged water all the way home.

Manufacturers are reshaping packaging formats

To assist senior consumers in their everyday lives, companies are developing convenient packaging solutions. Tetra Pak has received an “ease of use” certification for many of its products from the Swedish Rheumatism Association (SRA). An example is the “HeliCap”, a one-step screw cap designed to provide a good grip, which requires only low force to open and with a clearly visible tamper evident ring.

This information is based on findings from the Canadean Reports: ‘Soft Drinks Market Insight 2014 Spain’, published in May 2014; ‘Quarterly Beverage Tracker Quarters 1 and 2’ published in May and August 2014; and Canadean Ingredients Anti-Ageing Webinar – August 2014.
Population statistics are from UN Report: World Population Ageing 2013:

Avery Dennison announces new section of its website dedicated to Consumer Electronics labelling

Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials – North America today introduced a new section of its website dedicated to consumer electronics labelling. The new website, www.label.averydennison.com/ce, offers support for brand managers, product engineers and label converters involved in selecting proper label solutions. Users can view product suggestions by label material, type of application or material innovation.
As a global leader in labelling and packaging materials, the business has developed new web content to reflect its commitment to deliver solutions that meet the performance, design and compliance demands of consumer electronics’ labelling and packaging applications.

According to Rick Neiman, global director, digital marketing, Materials Group, the new site will prove particularly beneficial for brand owners. “We’ve formulated a portfolio of label and packaging solutions, including tapes, adhesives and facestocks, designed for the demanding identification, information, tracking, branding and functional labeling needs of consumer electronics,” he said. “Many of these materials are UL®-recognized to streamline and speed the qualification process. What’s more, brand owners can search the site by electronic device to access a complete listing of applicable labels and packaging materials, making their job easier.”

The site organizes the portfolio by label material for battery, branding, security, compliance, high temperature, promotional, tracking and warning labels, as well as protective films and customized electrical and thermal conductivity solutions. Relevant product data sheets can be instantly downloaded for each category, and a section on recent label material innovations keeps converters on the cutting edge of new, more efficient converting processes and label material developments.
Should visitors have questions, Avery Dennison materials experts can easily be contacted through the site.