The Differences in Coding and Marking Ink Technologies

The marking and coding industry provides a variety of methods and applications for imprinting batch codes, UPC codes, QR codes, “sell by” dates, “best if used by”” dates, expiration dates, and other crucial markings on a wide range of products.

Due to the improvements and diverse methods of printing delivery involved in coding and marking, it’s essential to know about the differences in technologies. The following will briefly discuss these technologies.

Continuous Ink-Jet – CIJ

Continuous Ink-Jet printers, also referred to as CIJ for short, provide a non-contact, high-speed method of printing. CIJ printing is used for printing tracking codes, logos, product names, and other such applications on manufacturer production lines. This technology is popular because it’s fast, efficient, and offers versatility in printing on most materials. Small character printing is one of the applications used in CIJ printing. The high-speed at which CIJ is capable of is useful for keeping up with fast production lines.

CIJ technology works by ejecting a high-velocity, continuous surge of ink through a nozzle. The ink stream is broken down into identical beads of ink at about 80,000 drops per second. Each droplet is charged then deflected to print dot matrix characters. The droplets that aren’t deflected are recirculated, recycled, and returned to the ink storage tank. While all CIJ printing uses the same general technology, not all printers are the same in design.

High-Resolution Ink-Jet

Thermal ink-jet or piezo-electric printing processes are categorized under the high-resolution in-jet method of printer technology. These printing systems are for high-quality, large logo and text printing as well as for small character traceability data printing.

This printing technology yields the highest quality print resolutions achievable. Character sizes are highly flexible from small to large depending on the system you choose. Industrial inks used in high-res printing are formulated to be environmentally-friendly, but come in limited colors.

Piezo-electric printer technology operates through sounds waves that move the ink from the nozzle and onto the material. Thermal ink-jet technology is an injection process where vapor bubbles are drive the ink from an orifice where droplets are forced out of the print head and onto the material.

Drop-on-Demand – DOD

Drop-on-demand technology, or DOD, is an intensely reliable printing method used for printing very large, high-quality logos that can be several feet in size. While that is its primary specialty, this technology can also be used for association marks, grade marks, pattern marks, and smaller marks like batch or date codes.

DOD printing technology is considered the most economical methods as it conserves ink by printing only the amount of ink drops required with little waste. This technology is flexible and can adapt to nearly any application.

That covers the basics of various types of industrial printer technologies available for reliable and compliant coding and marking. It’s wise to know as much as possible about these technologies and the inks compatible with them before you choose one for your business. Remember that being compliant with governmental regulations and industrial standards is vital to your business.

Article by Needham Ink