An industrial inkjet printer is a sophisticated printing technology commonly used in various industries for tasks such as product labelling, coding, and marking. Here’s a general overview of how industrial inkjet printers work:
- Ink Delivery System:
- Industrial inkjet printers use specialized ink formulations designed for the specific surface and printing requirements.
- The ink is stored in reservoirs or cartridges within the printer.
- The printhead is a crucial component that contains a series of nozzles. Each nozzle is responsible for dispensing tiny droplets of ink onto the printing surface.
- Printheads can be either continuous inkjet (CIJ) or drop-on-demand (DOD) types.
- Control System or A Human-Machine Interface:
- HMI facilitates easy adjustment of coding and marking equipment parameters, enabling operators to set code types, printing speeds, and locations, and input specific information for accurate customization.
- Substrate Movement:
- The material to be printed on, whether it’s paper, plastic, metal, or another substrate, is usually moved beneath the printhead.
This movement, synchronized with the inkjet process, ensures that the ink is deposited in the correct locations to create the desired image or text.
What are the different types of coding and marking printers?
Thermal Inkjet Printer:
The thermal inkjet printer became a valuable asset in the coding and marking industry in the late 1980s, transforming the landscape with its high-resolution capabilities and versatile applications.
- Thermal inkjet printers have a printhead with tiny chambers that can heat up rapidly.
- The ink in these chambers expands, creating pressure that forces droplets onto the printing surface.
- Similar to drop-on-demand technology, thermal inkjet printers only release ink droplets when needed.
- The precision of these droplets creates high-quality prints.
- Commonly used in food, beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries where a simple and small footprint coding printer is required.
- Thermal inkjet technology is versatile and can be used for various printing applications, including plastic, metals, papers, glass, etc.
Thermal Transfer Overprint (TTO):
Thermal Transfer Overprint (TTO) technology became useful in the coding and marking industry in the late 1980s, addressing the demand for precise variable data printing on flexible packaging materials.
Ribbon and Printhead:
- TTO involves using a thermal transfer ribbon with a printhead containing heating elements.
- The ribbon is positioned between the printhead and the substrate (commonly flexible packaging material).
- The printhead selectively heats areas of the ribbon, causing the ink on the ribbon to melt.
- The melted ink transfers onto the substrate, creating the desired print.
- TTO is often used for printing variable data such as barcodes, date codes, and batch numbers on packaging materials.
- Suitable for flexible packaging in industries like food and pharmaceuticals.
Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printer:
Continuous inkjet printing technology found its utility in the coding and marking industry during the 1970s, offering a reliable and high-speed solution for printing variable data on various substrates.
- CIJ printers use a continuous stream of ink droplets that are generated and expelled from a printhead.
- The ink is pushed through a small nozzle, and a piezoelectric crystal or electromagnetic fields break the stream into droplets.
- CIJ technology is versatile and suitable for printing on a range of substrates, including paper, plastic, metal, and more.
- Commonly used for product coding, marking, and labeling in industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and packaging.
- CIJ printers are known for their high-speed printing capabilities, making them ideal for applications that require rapid and continuous printing.
Ink Solvent Evaporation:
- CIJ inks often contain solvents that evaporate quickly after printing, leaving behind the desired mark on the substrate.
- CIJ printers require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. This includes cleaning the printhead and replenishing ink.
The laser printer became a game-changer in the coding and marking industry when it was introduced in 1981, providing a fast and precise solution for document production and graphic applications in office environments.
- Laser printers use a laser beam to create an electrostatic image on a photosensitive drum or belt.
- This electrostatic image attracts toner (powdered ink), which is then transferred onto the printing surface (usually paper).
- The toner is positively charged and adheres to areas exposed by the laser.
- A fuser unit then applies heat to melt and permanently bond the toner to the paper.
Precision: Laser printers offer high precision and are suitable for producing detailed text and graphics.
Some of the common brand in coding and marking?