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EU-plant passport - marking right onto the plant pot

Continuous Inkjet alphaJET turns duty into pleasure

As of December 14, 2019, the plant industry is obliged to implement the legal requirements of the EU Plant Health Regulation 2016/2031/EU (PHR), or „plant passport“ for short, for the traceability of all potted plants and plant products intended for planting. There are still many producers who are unsure how to meet such a requirement.

Relevant nurseries must therefore provide precisely defined information in a specified sequence directly on the trading unit for the B2B sector – clearly visible and unchangeable. Regional associations and producer cooperatives offer assistance for the in-company implementation. The choice of the appropriate technology remains at the end a matter for the european planting company.

Engaged and future-oriented

Topfpflanzen Velmans produces more than 3 Millionen potted plants a year in Kevelaer, NRW, Germany. Around 20 different plant varietis are processed for the retail trade using modern technology. The family business with Stephan Velmans is very proud of the grown know-how in more than 50 years of successful company history.In a spirit of responsible corporate development, they have shifted the focus from previously cut flowers to potted plants and steadily expanded the areas available for cultivation. With 22 committed employees, Velmans is a reliable partner who supplies the trade partners with decorative, herb and vegetable pot plants according to strict criteria and customised wishes.

"The ecological aspect was decisive for our decision to choose the alphaJET inkjet printer. We now use recyclable culture pots and plastic-free plant pots - so it's only consistent to do without plastic labels."

Andrea Velmans

01 - Consistently sustainable
Velmans uses the mandatory implementation of the plant passport to its ongoing execution of its future-oriented sustainability strategy. The avoidance of plastic labels with the introduction of ecologically degradable plant pots is therefore a consistent step towards more sustainable action.
With the implementation of the alphaJET inkjet printer, the plant pots are now marked directly, i.e. without a label.
In spite of the investment costs for the alphaJETs, the elimination of the otherwise required variety of labels and their storage results in rapid amortisation and permanent cost savings.

02 - Added value for trading partnerBy installing two alphaJET inkjet printers on each side of the conveyor belt, in one step

  • a) the EU plant passport and
  • b) an individual, machine-readable EAN 13 barcode

are now marked on the container within the process of the cultivation of plants that are subject to mandatory identification.
In comparison to the previous label solution, the code is now printed horizontally. This looks better, is more professional and simplifies the scan at the cashier in the retail trade.
The container filling determines the cycle and the belt speed. With 8,000 pots/hour, alphaJET inkjet printers still have plenty of free capacity.
The fact that alphaJETs work almost noiseless also pleases the employees at the conveyor belt.

03 - Efficient assortment changes
TThe printers were supplemented by the compatible software code-M. This software can be used, for example, to create print images on a PC in the office. The employee at the conveyor belt selects the suitable print image with a hand scanner and the printer immediately transfers all parameters into the new print job.
The changeover from one plant culture to the next takes place without interruption. The first print is already correct.
The replacement of label rolls and manual, error-prone setup of print image changes are no longer necessary with this solution.
Assuming a daily setup time of 15 minutes for a labeller, this would amount to almost 60 hours of missing production time over a year.

"We are very satisfied with our solution. The daily maintenance effort for the printers is around 1 minute. We now not only produce in a more environmentally friendly way, but also in a more cost-saving way.“

Stephan Velmans, owner

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