Payne’s Dairies cream the benefits of thermal inkjet technology

As part of a drive to improve efficiency and reduce production costs through technology, Payne’s Dairies has installed six Rotech Integra thermal inkjet printers (TIJ) onto their milk labelling lines, resulting in significant cost savings on consumables, maintenance, repairs, spare parts and downtime.

With a heritage of almost 50 years, Yorkshire based Payne’s Dairies Ltd, is one of the UK’s leading producers of raw and processed milk and cream products, supplying wholesalers and manufacturers, as well as catering and retail outlets.

Adapting to market changes through innovation

Like many producers in the farming industry, Payne’s Dairies have faced numerous challenges in recent years; changes in consumer habits, price wars and Brexit are just a few.  But, like many British farmers, Payne’s Dairies have worked incredibly hard to adapt to market forces, to ensure that they continue to serve and meet the demands of their customers, whilst maintaining their high standards, and importantly, their bottom line.

With pressures across the industry on prices per litre (PPL), the company needed to look at operational ways to reduce costs, without compromising efficiency.

Eliminating the costly CIJ bottleneck

Payne’s Dairies produce around 360,000 2 litre, 1 litre and 1-pint cartons of milk per day, across six lines. One particular and recurring issue however, was the frequent breakdown of their bottle label printing system which was used to date and code each milk carton.  Not only was this a costly interruption to production, it was also costing around £1,000 to repair each breakdown and another £6,000 a year to replace the printer sensors on six lines.

The old CIJ system was not only large, it was expensive to run and increasingly expensive to maintain. Furthermore, the system was soon to become obsolete.

Trialling thermal inkjet printing on the production line

Following a site visit by Rotech’s northern print specialist, a trial was organised on the production line – they quickly saw the benefits, resulting in an order of one Integra printer for each of their six milk labelling systems.

Supplied and installed by Rotech Machines, the compact new Integra thermal inkjet printers were installed onto Payne’s’ existing labelling systems, freeing up space and allowing users to easily replace depleted cartridges as required – a far cry from the issues they were having with their previous continuous inkjet printer (CIJ).

The TIJ printers produce Best Before dates, as well as times and line numbers.  Each printer is protected by a Perspex screen, which were engineered by Rotech to protect the printers from any moisture or spray.

Small, powerful, low-cost coding

One of the primary benefits of thermal inkjet technology is its size.  The printer is small enough to hold by hand, yet powerful enough to print hundreds of thousands of dates and codes online.  The printer itself has a simple click-in, click-out cartridge so there are no moving parts, no sensors and no mess.  Each cartridge can print up to 400,000 high quality prints, meaning low consumable costs and no maintenance.

The Integra printer comes with iDesign format creation software which allows the company to create and edit dates, times and line numbers, as well as information on job status, quality and ink levels. The carton labeller simply signals the printer to print, ramping up and down as required.

Creaming the benefits of new printing technology

As well as making significant savings on maintenance and repair costs, replacement parts and downtime, the new printers reliably produce crisp, clear markings on various size milk cartons, hour after hour, day in, day out.

Payne’s Dairies have demonstrated that by putting trust in new technology, it’s possible to make vital cost-savings and improve overall production efficiency – at a time when it has never been more critical.

To read the full installation story, or to find out more about the full range of Rotech coding and marking solutions, please visit

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