TT-Hourglass: the future of labeling is already here

The hourglass printer for compostable shopping bags and paper envelopes that eliminates the label, saves the environment and offers considerable savings to large-scale distribution

We close our eyes. Let’s imagine a future where trees still populate the forests, because all information on the products we buy is printed without paper. Let’s reopen our eyes: the future is already here and it’s called TT-Hourglass.

TT-Hourglass is a printer designed and developed (worldwide patent) by T-Trade Group, an Italian company that owns the entire labeling chain. TT-Hourglass is destined to revolutionize the world of labeling in the “fresh” sector of large-scale distribution: connected to any price scale, it prints variable data directly on a flap of the compostable bag, avoiding the use of paper and thus leaving the compostability of the bag intact. It also prints directly on the paper bag, for example, on the deli counter. An eco-sustainable revolution: 0 use of paper; – 80% cost of consumables for large-scale distribution; + 300% scale autonomy.

TT-Hourglass: Back to the Future!

When in 2018 came into force the law that required the use of compostable bags for fruits and vegetables, the legislator did not consider a small detail: the label with data on weight-price applied on it after weighing, produced in thermal paper, is not compostable, unless it is made with materials that have much higher costs, and in any case there is always silicone paper (the label liner) to be disposed of as special waste.

The result is that in all these years the campaign designed to reduce the use of plastic has brought about some unwanted effects: at best, hundreds of millions of wasted biodegradable bags (since it is practically impossible to remove the label while leaving the bag intact); in the worst case – and highly probable – hundreds of millions of labels mistakenly ended up in organic waste together with the bag, rather than in the dry bin.

For some time now, even the protagonists of the GDO, and not only them, are wondering how to solve a problem of such magnitude that concerns two important aspects: the environmental impact and the cost impact to be borne by large retailers for this labeling operation.

The solution is called TT-Hourglass, the hourglass printer.

TT-Hourglass prints directly on the shopper (compostable or not) and on paper bags.

The most obvious benefits are three.

Ecological benefit

Zero deforestation to produce paper: on average, at least 15 trees are needed to produce a ton of paper (the one normally used to make labels), so the numbers linked to large-scale distribution are impressive. Considering the needs of an average supermarket chain, it is estimated up to 3,000 trees a year. More than plausible to count several tens of thousands of trees just for Italian needs.

Ethical/social benefit

The consumer no longer has to remove the label from the shopper or from the paper bag to correctly differentiate waste, since TT-Hourglass thermal transfer printing allows the bag to be compostable and can therefore also be safely reused for collection of organic waste, as well as allowing the paper bag to be reused or thrown away directly in the recycling bin.

Economic benefit

With the use of TT-Hourglass, the saving on the cost of consumables for large-scale distribution ranges from 70 to 80%. For the most important chains it translates into a few hundred thousand euros a year. And that’s not all: the productivity of the scale can reach approximately 300% more autonomy, with far fewer machine stops and slowdowns in the purchasing process (thanks to the absence of a roll of labels to change when finished and the fact that a roll of thermal transfer ribbon lasts much longer).

TT-Hourglass is the result of more than ten years of research and development that began many years ago with the first linerless printers: an invention that benefits the environment, the consumer and the large-scale distribution.

Worldwide patent on both technology and design.

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