There is now a real alternative to the Markem Smartdate branded 1100m long coding ribbon.
A medical supplies company in the UK was chosen for field tests under the supervision of our technical sales adviser and Urgo’s supply chain manager (Neil) who had been reluctant to switch from the branded thermal ribbons previously used. Tempted in via thoughts of cost savings but only if the quality matched the branded ribbon. Clearly, some testing was needed to convince Neil and his team to make the switch.
New ribbon testing
The new ribbon formulation ribbon is made on a 4-micron carrier rather than the standard 4.5 microns allowing longer length ribbons without increasing the outer diameter. This means that longer length ribbons will fit into the carriage of the Markem Smartdate printers.
Having run our own tests Readability needed a company willing to partner for field tests, Urgo’s team had made a ribbon enquiry and were willing participants.
Readability sent account manager Sam to learn about the application and confirm the ribbons suitability. Seeing how the application worked Sam loaded the ribbon into the Smartdate having carefully noted the original settings. For this application he found the optimal setting for the new 1100m four micron ribbon required less heat than the OEM Markem branded original to produce a robust, defined image. This lower head temperature (energy) setting should help extend the life of the print head offering a significant cost saving.
Extensive testing took place throughout April and the new ribbons were faultless, the barcodes, date and batch codes produced must be 100% readable every time. Products going into the NHS MUST be clearly labelled Poor quality codes are not an option for medical supplies and it an essential part of the supply chain. In the first three months, zero faults 120 ribbons 132,000m, 132km or 82.5 miles of trouble free printing with a Readability’s longer length Smartdate compatible ribbon.
Neil, Supply Chain Manager, said having made the switch to compatible ribbons:
“The “bulk” delivery arrived on time as promised, and the initial samples performed as well as, possibly better than, the original Markem rolls. We noted that we got a really good print definition with less application-pressure than the original Markem roll, which should bode well for the life of the print-head.
So far, I have not heard anything adverse about them from our operatives, and in manufacturing “no news is good news”, so I will assume they are performing as well as the initial samples did.
It was certainly helpful having the preliminary site visit to our factory by Sam to view our production process first-hand, so we knew that Readability would understand precisely our application and equipment; it was also better to discuss our supply-chain requirements and allay our concerns about using a “compatible” ribbon face-to-face. It gave us confidence that Readability is not just another stockist/wholesaler, but are in effect the manufacturer, with a high degree of control over the specification of what they are selling to us, and a high level of technical knowledge about the product and end application.
We are sure that Readability will be capable partners for us as we begin to add more coding information onto our products in line with the forthcoming regulations, with whatever challenges that will bring.”
About Readability’s ribbons
Readability has 25 years experience supplying compatible thermal ribbons into the UK and Europe. Ribbon manufacturers do not sell directly to the end user because they are unable to support the sales and after-sales process. Readability is a preferred supplier partner for the majority of ribbon manufacturers and this independence allows us to guarantee to supply the ribbon to suit your application rather than sell you what suits our stock list.
Trial your new ribbons!
Readability has always encouraged customers present and future to match the ribbon, printer and application for reliable results. Ribbon samples are available for free. Technical visits are free too.
You can request a sample ribbon to see if you too could save with a compatible ribbon, with a supplier that is not just another stockist.
Fill out a form or call 01440 712 273 and we’ll have a sample sent to you next working day.