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FUJIFILM Dimatix Unit Announces Breakthrough in Decorating Chocolate Digitally

Press release from the issuing company

Lebanon, N.H., July 18, 2007 - Building on its growing success in commercial food decoration, the Dimatix Technology Integration unit (DTI) of FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc. today announced it has developed a breakthrough technique that employs the latest digital jetting technology in decorating dark or light nonporous foods with white text, graphics and geometric patterns. The new process can decorate even oily food at various temperatures and consistencies and do so at the speed of industrial manufacturing, making it particularly suited to decorating freshly-made chocolates and other confections with digital possibility and precision as they speed along the production line.
At the 2007 International Food Technology (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo July 29-31 at McCormick Place, Chicago (Booth 1110), DTI will demonstrate how the new process can be used to decorate dark-colored chocolates and other nonporous foods with custom messages and graphics that can be changed virtually instantaneous.
DTI's new process uses FDA and kosher certified, jettable compound coatings to enhance the visual appeal of food without affecting its shape, flavor or shelf life. Because the new process relies on high-performance digital imaging technology, it provides chocolatiers, confectioners and other food processing professionals with significant benefits over current methods of food decoration. These benefits range from lowered risk of contamination and shorter set-up times to personalized messaging of any items in the production stream from one to thousands.
The noncontact process is also production friendly. It can be used to decorate food that's hot, cool, soft, hard, wet, dry - even oily - thereby enabling food processors to insert it into their manufacturing line at the point that's most advantageous, without sacrificing production speed or efficiency.
DTI will market the new process under its MerlinT and TapestryT products that the company originally pioneered in helping Procter & Gamble bring Pringle Prints® to market. The new technique will complement DTI's current line of dye-based Tapestry colorants, which are used by food processors internationally in decorating porous foods from cookies and snacks to pet products.
"The ability to use digital technology in decorating dark-colored, nonporous and even oily foods is an important breakthrough that opens the door to thousands of possibilities," said Dr. Richard Baker, Director of Business Development. "For example, applications abound for corporate branding and product customization, and it's easy to imagine using promotional tie-ins on chocolate and confections for sporting events, movies, and holidays, to name a few. The new digital process also lends itself to promoting contests, engaging in cause-related marketing, and in conducting test marketing," added Dr. Baker.
Decorating chocolate and nonporous confections comprises a huge international market, and one for which large-scale food companies have relied on relatively slow and inflexible mechanical methods to add visual appeal. These decorating methods have several drawbacks, ranging from imprecise application and time consuming line changes to higher risk of contamination and product damage.
In comparison, digital food decoration is a noncontact technology that allows variable imaging of products at full production speeds with no intermediate steps. Pre-stored images, text and logos can be repeated time and again or varied from one item to the next. One or more colorants or coatings can be jetted onto food products at whatever capacity and rate is needed to match that of the production line.
Merlin Food Decoration System
The Merlin FG is the world's first commercial, nonimpact, digital-imaging system for decorating a variety of foods, from cookies and snacks to confections, dairy products and beyond. The entire Merlin system is FDA compliant and features a modular architecture that can be configured for single or multi-lane decorating and narrow or wide imaging widths. All Merlin FG configurations can operate at linear speeds in excess of 500 feet per minute and can be easily mounted on existing manufacturing lines.
The Merlin system can be configured with one to 32 jetting modules to handle applications from test marketing to mass production. Fully configured, a DTI Merlin FG system can easily decorate up to 65,000 food items per minute. Image data can be provided to the system through a network interface or via CD, allowing each item to be decorated differently if desired.
Tapestry Colorants and Coatings
DTI's proprietary Tapestry colorants and coatings are FDA compliant and kosher certified and specifically formulated for use with the Merlin FG system. These materials are jetted with precision onto the product surface as edible, high-quality text and graphics. Tapestry formulations currently available are suitable for decorating virtually any light-colored porous food. The new white jettable coating formulation extends the Tapestry product line to decorating nonporous, light and dark-colored foods including chocolates and a wide range of confections.
"The benefits of digital decoration are becoming well recognized by many of the leading food manufacturers as they search for new innovations to increase product differentiation and expand their business. Our commitment and dedication to developing digital food decoration colorants and coatings, and in designing, integrating and supporting complete systems has resulted in Merlin FG installations at some of the world's leading food processors," explained Dr. Baker.
Established in 2002, the FUJIFILM Dimatix Technology Integration group designs, builds, installs and supports custom systems and focused solutions for a broad range of companies that need fully integrated and industrially-reliable ink-jet systems designed and built to their specific production requirements.