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Cal-Pak offers insights to address packaging decisions facing customers.

Cost per Code
Print & Apply Labels vs. Non-Contact Code

Cost per code comparison

Print & Apply Labeling certainly has a place in marking a case with specific information about the product inside. 

This usually includes the product name, case counts, product and shipping barcodes and sometimes nutritional and ingredients information. In some cases the Print & Apply label is the only viable option. 

Send us a Question.

Where in the World is this picture from?

Which North American wonder, featured below,  is known for its high tides?   



(view answer)

Cal-Pak Where in the World trivia

However, in many other situations, a non-contact high-resolution coder option might make sense. It is worth a review to determine if that option is right for your application. 


If it is, there are some advantages worth noting:


  • Cost per code is far less than a Label & Ribbon. The cost advantage grows with less printed information. Label & Ribbon cost remains constant.

  • Dual-side coding requires only an additional printhead instead on another entire labeler.

  • It eliminates downtime for changing label and ribbon rolls.

  • Additional printheads allow for multiple print locations on the case.

  • Ability to print logos and other case differentiators.

  • There are now a number of levels of coders to accomplish this that meet any budget and application parameters.

Send us your coding requirements and we'll send you back a cost analysis.

Packaging Decisions

Metal Detector or X-Ray?

With the steady downward trend of X-Ray System pricing, the decision line between Metal Detectors and X-Ray is becoming increasingly narrower. 


In the past, the cost of X-Ray systems made them prohibitive for all but the most demanding applications. That is no longer the case, although X-Ray is not always the best choice.

Detection comparison between metal detectors and x-rays

Cost vs. Performance


Unlike Metal Detectors, X-Ray Systems come in a wide range of types and power levels and thus a wide range in price. The greater power requirements the greater the price. Unlike Metal Detectors, X-Ray Systems come in a wide range of types and power levels and thus a wide range in price. The greater power requirements the greater the price. Because they detect based on density rather than conductivity, as metal detectors do, they require different power levels depending on what they need to see through. As with metal detectors, the product characteristics will impact performance. Simply put, X-Ray will not detect everything. 


Products with a large amount of variable density ingredients can limit what an X-Ray can detect but will not effect a metal detector. Conversely, a product with a high moisture or salt content will adversely effect a metal detector but have no impact on an X-Ray. Each system will offer a better cost/performance return depending on the type of product you are detecting. Remember, the X-Ray looks for density anomalies and metal detectors look for conductivity in a product. Our 5 frequency Sentinel 5000 Metal Detector is blurring the decision line even further.

This Week in History

1893 - The first Ferris wheel made its debut, at the World's Exposition in Chicago.


1969 - In Cleveland the severely polluted Cuyahoga River caught on fire.

1975 - Steven

Spielberg's thriller

Jaws was released

in theaters, creating

the genre of
summer blockbusters.


Send us your Question.

Cal-Pak this week in history trivia featuring Jaws
X-Rays for Product Identification
Metal Detectors for Product Inspection

What can each system detect? Here is a general guide.

X-ray versus Metal Detector detection comparison

Testing Available: Find out which technology is best for your product.


Send us samples of what you want to test and we will test them using both an X-Ray and Metal Detector. We will send you the results in a full report for each product using each detection technology.


Complete this form,  call us at 781-944-8000 or use the button below to alert us that you have product coming to us and if it needs to be frozen or refrigerated.

Industry News & Trends: Post COVID Labor Shortages


As COVID continues to recede, packaging operations continues to struggle with the COVID hangover in the form of labor shortages. Both attracting and retaining labor skills of many levels has become an increasing challenge to producers large and small. This is requiring companies to rethink how they are doing things. The reduced labor pool has increased the competition for skilled and unskilled workers, driving up wage costs and making it harder to find and retain them. While the higher wages are now a fact of life, there are some things you can do to help your cause.


Labor Shortages - Help wanted sign

Make improvements to the work environment. 


Make the working environment as comfortable as possible. If this work force has choices, they will likely choose a better environment. 

  • Make a nice break room for breaks and lunch. 

  • Rotate monotonous jobs throughout the day.

  • Provide as clean a working environment is possible.

  • Provide workers with quality tools and materials to work with.

  • Offer overtime if available but don’t force it.



The labor shortage has created a significant increase in plant automation. Return on investment calculations have changed since 2019. If you are not able to fully staff your operation, you cannot run at full capacity. That adds a large incentive to justifying automation. Reduction of labor used to be a luxury. It is now a necessity in order to run at full capacity. What might not have been cost justified in 2019 is in 2022.


It appears the labor shortage will be with us for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that you plan for that going forward.

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