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Improving Production Line Efficiency with Coding and Marking Automation

Machines that print different kinds of information, like codes, text, graphics, and barcodes, on goods and packaging are called coding and marking equipment. This kind of equipment is often used to identify, track, and give information about goods in the electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, manufacturing, and other fields.

The following are some important types of coding and writing tools:

Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printers: These printers use an electrode to push electrically charged ink drops away from the paper. The stream of ink droplets never stops; they only hit the object when printing is needed. This lets you quickly print up to five lines of text, images, date codes, barcodes, and other things. CIJ is one of the most useful and popular ways to mark things.

Laser Marking Systems: A high-energy laser beam is used in laser markers to cut or mark things. The beam changes the surface of the thing in some way that leaves a mark that won’t go away. Lasers can leave marks very quickly and on flimsy things like glass, paper, and plastic that can’t handle contact printing. Lasers are used to print logos, serial numbers, date codes, and 2D barcodes.

Label Printer Applicators: These machines print labels digitally and put them on goods automatically as they move along the production line. People often put barcodes, ingredient lists, “use-by” dates, shipping labels, and other things on them. Label printer applicators let you change the label’s text for each item.

Large Character Marking Systems: These put big letters, numbers, and symbols on pallets, boxes, and crates to help keep track of goods while they’re being shipped and stored. A lot of people use ink-based and labelling marking devices. To be seen in warehouses and during shipping, characters can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet tall.

Impact Dot Matrix Pin Markers: To make text, logos, and barcodes, these pin markers press a number of dots into the product’s surface. Pin marking leaves a permanent depression line in the material because the pins bend it. For example, marking car and aerospace parts, fresh food, and dental implants are all common uses.

Thermal Transfer Printers: A thermal printhead that is managed digitally heats a ribbon that is inked and moves the ink onto the label or product surface. Thermal transfer printers are easy to use, don’t cost much, and can print logos, text, batch codes, and barcodes. One problem is that the ink ribbons need to be changed often.

Hot Stamp Coders: A metal die is heated and then pressed onto a foil ribbon. This melts the foil coating onto the product and leaves a mark that is shiny and mirrored. When you hot stamp, you leave a strong, lasting mark, but for each layout, you have to make a die for the machine.

Inkjet Coders: To print codes and text, piezoelectric inkjet printheads shoot ink droplets straight onto the surface. Inkjet printers are small, easy to use, and cheap, but the printheads need to be replaced often. With solvent and UV-curable inks, you can print with a printer on almost any surface.

Stencils and templates: Stencils are thin metal plates with letters or shapes cut out of them. You can use ink to make marks on them by brushing, painting, or rolling ink over them. As long as you have stencils, you can easily code without having to use digital printers or switch out supplies like ink and labels. But the marks might not be as steady or last as long. The templates are the same, but they are made of plastic, which is cheaper but not as lasting.

What kind of coding and marking equipment to use relies on things like the substrate, how long the mark needs to last, the speed of the production line, how often the labels need to be changed, the print quality needed, and the conditions of use. Manufacturers can print important variable data on products more quickly during production and packaging if they choose the right coding equipment, use it correctly, and keep it in good shape. Coding technology keeps getting better, which means that marking options keep growing while operation, switching, and integration into production lines get easier.