What are the key requirements for specialised industrial coding?
Businesses across various sectors depend upon high-end industrial marking and coding solutions to help them meet their product identification and traceability requirements. Whether this means printing barcodes, product labels, serial codes or batch numbers on to packaging, specialised industrial coding solutions are necessary to deliver the efficiency and quality that businesses need.
Even though these printing systems provide significant benefits for organisations across various industries, they are not necessarily a common purchase, as a high-quality printing solution should ideally deliver many years of reliable service. As such, if your company is investing in new industrial coding technology, you may require advice on which product attributes should guide your purchasing decision.
Here, we will look at some of the key requirements that specialised industrial coding systems should fulfil, in order to help you find the marking equipment platform that is best suited for the needs of your application.
Essential features for specialised industrial coding equipment
There is a diverse range of industrial coding systems available, including continuous inkjet, thermal inkjet and laser marking printers. Each type of marking equipment will have different pros, cons and ideal applications, but it is vital for each of them to provide the following essential capabilities:
Flexible, contact-free printing
Industrial marking and coding involves printing on a wide variety of different surfaces, substrates and product types. Businesses may need to print essential product information on labels and boxes, including ones made of paper, plastics, metal, rubber or wood-based materials, or even on to organic substrates such as eggshells; they may also need to print on to curved surfaces or containers with irregular shapes.
This is why most modern continuous and thermal inkjet printing systems utilise contact-free printing technology, which allows ink to be encoded upon surfaces of any shape or texture without difficulty, even when they are not laid flat, while also making it possible to print on materials that would be too fragile or unsteady for any other kind of printing. This marking technology is highly flexible, and suitable for almost any application.
Legible coding at any size
Industrial printing requires batch numbers, expiry dates or tracking IDs to be encoded on to products of various sizes, from large packages down to micro-scaled printed circuit boards and electronic connectors. As such, specialised industrial coding equipment needs to be able to deliver clear, legible and sharp printing results, regardless of the size of the typeface.
Today’s marking systems are able to do this, with specialist solutions such as the Hitachi UX-D140W Small Character Printer featuring a 40µm ink nozzle size optimised for printing small characters of between 1mm and 5mm in height. This means that clarity and readability are never compromised, even when printing at the very smallest scale.
Economical and efficient design and performance
Every commercial enterprise is looking for new ways to deliver better efficiency and a greater return on its investments. The latest industrial coding tools are designed to provide this, with highly automated operations that allow hundreds or thousands of characters to be printed at high speed, with little need for downtime or manual input.
What’s more, these marking systems are also designed to keep fluid consumption down to a minimum and to use up ink down to the last drop, delivering the most economical ink performance and ensuring maximum cost efficiency.
Reliable performance in challenging environments
Industrial production environments are often challenging, with high and low temperatures, ambient dust and water, or risk of shocks and impacts all potentially interfering with the smooth operation of machinery. This can be a significant problem if your production technology is not robust enough to cope, and can lead to unnecessary maintenance and downtime.
Specialist industrial coding and marking systems are specifically designed to offer strong protection against all of these elements, ensuring that they can deliver reliable performance even in the most difficult environments, and can be incorporated into your existing workflow without the need to adjust.
User-friendly interface and intuitive functionality
Modern industrial coding systems are optimised for ease of use, with touchscreen displays and intuitively designed operating principles. Once they have been set up, these advanced thermal inkjet and continuous inkjet solutions require very little manual intervention, and provide all the information that users need to understand how they work.
This means that these marking systems can be up and running as soon as possible, without requiring any specialist expertise or intensive training for your team in order to get the most out of their functionality.
How to pick the right industrial coding solution for your application
Although these attributes are broadly shared by most modern product coding solutions, certain products will be specifically optimised for certain applications more than others. As such, when looking for the best coding system for your needs, it is important to ask yourself the following questions before investing in a thermal inkjet or continuous inkjet system:
- What kind of surface do we need to print on?
- How large is the text that we will need to print?
- What specific marking challenges are posed by our production environment? Will the printer be exposed to extreme temperature ranges, or elements such as dust or water?
- What is the speed of our production line? How many characters would need to be printed per second, and how quickly would the ink need to dry?
- How much space do we have to accommodate the unit?
Once you have considered all of these factors, take a look at Newcode Partnership’s full range of products from Hitachi and Anser to find a high-performance thermal inkjet or continuous inkjet solution that will meet your specific requirements.
If you want to know more about any of our product coding systems, or you need advice on which solution would best suit your needs, contact Newcode Partnership today.