With over 40 years specialising in the design and manufacture of Hot Foil and Thermal Transfer overprinting systems, Open Date remains focused on what it does best. We don't offer overprinting systems as part of a larger range of products - they are our ONLY range of products.

1974 to 1989

In 1974 Open Date Equipment Limited was formed to meet the demand for quality coding and marking equipment with its first product, the Mag-Load Hot Foil printer, which was launched in May. After a successful start the next product, the Model 5000 Hot Foil printer, with a 100 x 50mm (4" x 2") print area was introduced in 1978 offering customers the ability to print simple logos and ingredients as well as date and batch codes.

In 1982 the assets of a light engineering company were purchased, and Open Date moved into their premises in South West London. From this time, Open Date have manufactured the majority of the components required to build printers and ancillary items. The Printmaster 400 High Speed Hot Foil coder was launched in 1985 featuring many technical advances including all stainless-steel air motor and unique foil magazine locking mechanism.

Now heavily developing our products sparked by customer demand the following years produced new equipment in quick succession. The Printmaster 1000, a higher specification version of the Printmaster 400, with 305m (1000 ft) foil capacity and standard end of foil alarm was introduced in 1986. To meet one customer's specific requirement for multi-lane coding, the Model 5000S Hot Foil printer, an extended version of the Model 5000 was produced in 1987 and swiftly added to Open Date's product range as well as a Discreet Marker, an on-line deboss coder utilising the Printmaster's air motor. This year also saw Open Date France open in order to support an already healthy export market.

Finishing off the decade was two new in product launches in 1989, the Printmaster S, an ultra-high-speed version of the Printmaster 1000 and the Sprint Hot Foil printer, a non-cassette evolution of the again popular Printmaster 1000.

1990 to 1999

If the initial years were anything to go by evolving and developing new equipment was key to Open Date's growth. The start of the decade saw three Hot Foil printers added to the range, the Model 5000SP, a large area Hot Foil printer in 1990, the Sprint Major, a compact 100 x 50mm superseding the Model 5000 in 1991 and the Eurocode 150 in 1992. The Eurocode 150 was a totally new Hot Foil coder when it was released to the market and has gone on to be our most successful product. In adding to our expanding range of on-line printers and coders 1992 also beckoned in our first standalone Fully Automatic Carton Overprinter.

Open Date Germany was opened in 1993 to meet the demands of an already established market and to target new opportunities in the Eastern Bloc and the following year Open Date Systems Inc. was formed in the USA working from premises in New Hampshire. That same year in 1994, the Eurocode 300, a large foil capacity version of the 150 was introduced.

Open Date's first on-line Thermal Transfer printer, the Thermocode 5775, was unveiled at the PPMA show during 1995 followed by an upgraded version due to customer demands, the Thermocode S, in 1996. That same year also saw Open Date's Technical Department move into offices in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. 

A new version of the Sprint Major, the Sprint 100 Hot Foil printer, which was an enlarged version was launched in 1998.

Finally, to wrap up the 20th Century, Open Date celebrated 25 years of producing high quality packaging overprinters in 1999. The dawn of a new chapter was just about to begin.

2000 to 2011

Whilst the world stood rigid in 2000 with the hype of the Millennium Bug and its effect we were all being told was about to happen Open Date was forging ahead with its advances on the market. In order to maintain our continued expansion Open Date moved to new premises in Mitcham, Surrey, more than trebling the space available for manufacturing and administration.

Its first introductions in the 21st Century came in 2001 with the Thermocode 2, a range of six Thermal Transfer printers. A further two Continuous Thermal Transfer Printers were launched swiftly after in 2002, the 53c and the 107c - allowing a much faster flow of product to print, through the use of continuous motion, rather than a stop and print process. This year Open Date also brought the Thermocode E to the market meeting the needs of SMEs, an area where more and more thriving businesses were emerging. During this busy year in 2002 Open Date's Technical and Training Department moved into new larger offices in Letchworth, Hertfordshire and new agents were announced in China, Italy, Korea and the Netherlands. More agents were announced at the beginning of 2003 in Spain and Egypt.

Sadly in 2004, the founder of Open Date, Ian Clatworthy passed away on 3rd July, leaving the business the business to its management team.


The expansion of Open Date continued. New agents announced in South Africa, Israel, Iran, New Zealand, Serbia and Thailand for the later end of 2004 and Algeria, Costa Rica, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Guatalama, Honduras, Indonesia, Morroco, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Salvador and Saudi Arabia came in 2005. A truly global representation for Open Date was now catered for.

The Digi 3 Coder a new Hot Foil printer was launched in 2005.

2006 to PRESENT

The most common application for an on-line thermal transfer printer is to print or code on to a web, label or other item that is stationary. This is referred to as intermittent. They are suited to packaging, labelling and other machinery where the web material or item to be printed stops once per machine cycle. Intermittent printers print during this stop time.

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