Most of the items we use have various codes and markings. For example their best-before dates, barcodes or serial batch numbers and unique identification markings.
These are to allow traceability and ensure product safety. This will protect the customer’s health and safety but also protect the product form counterfeiting.
As manufacturers aim to meet the increased demand for product identification and brand production they have to adhere to the various regulations and laws to produce coding and marking of a certain standard. This is done by utilizing coding and marking equipment throughout the production process.
There is a variety of marking and coding printing options that a manufacturer can choose. Techniques include:
- Continuous inkjet
- Thermal transfer
- Laser coding
All of these techniques can be used effectively to mark products. However, each is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages which can have a direct impact on the print and code quality.
It is necessary that marking and coding is done at a high quality
If a barcode or marking is unreadable it can have a negative outcome that directly impacts your business. Unreadable markings can result in product recalls, unhappy customers and fines if not adhering to regulations.
How continuous inkjet technology works
It contains a high-pressure pump that directs liquid ink from a reservoir through a gun body and a nozzle. This creates a continuous stream of charged ink droplets.
These charged droplets are deflected to print at high velocity on the selected substrate or allowed to continue to be collected for re-use. With this process, only a small about of the droplets are used to print with the rest being recycled for re-use.
CIJ is a non-contact process. This is because the high velocity of the ink droplets allows for a long distance between the printhead and the substrate.
The benefits of CIJ technology
CIJ main advantages are that it is high speed, flexible and easy to operate. It can be used on various substrates such as boxes, cans, glass plastic, wood and metal among others. This makes it suitable for use in a wide range of industries.
Common challenges that arise
There are some challenges that arise when using CIJ technology. Common challenges in high-speed CIJ printing can result in illegibility or misinterpretation of data by machine vision OCR. The wrong distance between the print head and the substrate will result in poor print quality.
If the print head is dirty it will mean dots will be missing. If the printer is set up at the wring line speed it could result in skewed codes. As you can see minor fluctuations in product movement or equipment position may result in printing errors.
The quality of ink used for marking and coding is crucial. It is important to select and ink that is manufactured to meet ISO 9001 quality standards. When choosing a CIJ ink it must be specific to your industry and its needs. These inks can be purchased from https://www.needham-ink.com/inkjet-inks/continuous-ink-jet-inks/