The Simplicity Date Stamping Machine

The story.

The evolution of this machine has been brought about by necessity. As we also own and run Fancyleaf (see the links bar) which is a South East Queensland Benchmark hydro producer, we had a pressing need to find an answer to the problem of applying a date stamp to the sleeves we pack our Woolworths product into.

It is totally impractical to place this date stamp on the sleeve after the product (fancy lettuce in this case) has been picked, as we have developed picking trolleys for the deployment of the returnable plastic crates we use so as to have them at waist height in front of each picker.

This has meant using what are commonly called checkout guns, or price guns to place a small sticker on each sleeve with a “best before” date on it. The area where this is done (on any farm) invariably becomes covered in orphaned stickers as each gun only holds a roll of 1,000. To reload the gun it is necessary to remove a few stickers from the backing paper first and they get everywhere.

Oh, did I mention how mind numbingly boring this task is? Humans doing this task soon get sick of being careful to stamp each bag, so misses, quite often in large amounts, are inevitable.  And don’t forget to factor the labour cost of this job into your production costs.

We asked professional machinery builders to look at doing something for us, and the answer came back that it was simply too difficult, or could not be done at all. So, we had to do it ourselves. The result is 2 machines, the label applicating machine and the print directly on the sleeve machine.

The 2 machines are very similar up to a point and it is only a close inspection that reveals the difference. The first machine uses a pneumatic labelling gun and simply mechanises the process. Advantages over a normal gun are label rolls of 5,000 instead of 1,000 and a slightly quicker speed than the higher end model. We have also found no “adhesive bleed” into the gun which seems normal when using by hand. The disadvantages ? Well they are still labels, they still get “lost” sometimes which means all over themachine, plus we have found they don’t want to stick in the middle of winter. Plus the consumable cost is high and ongoing.

The slightly more expensive machine prints the date directly onto the sleeve, doing away with the label altogether, at the cost of being ever so slightly slower than the cheaper model. Consumables for this machine are negligible and easily changed in about 5 seconds, with no messy solvents and inks to worry about.

A medium sized air compressor is required for operation, as well as connection to mains electricity.


The above video is of the direct print machine, the one below is of the machine that prints labels onto the sleeve. After using hand labelling guns and knowing all the dramas that go along with them, why would you bother with labels, it is far better to print the best before date directly onto the sleeve, especially when you don’t need to use expensive and high maintenance inkjet printers.


The production model is shown below. It is built using a profile system, has been independently risk assesed and certificated and will give you many years of valuable service.


A sample contract if you wish to view our terms can be found here

© 2009, Simplicity Controls. All rights reserved.

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