Industrial packaging is an umbrella term that references the materials used to protect products as they move from point A to point B. Although these packaging materials can be made from polyurethane, wood, and steel, corrugated cardboard boxes are the most commonly used shipping material, with over 100 billion cardboard boxes being produced annually in the U.S. alone.
Despite being great at protecting products, these materials aren’t always made with printability in mind. The porous nature of materials like corrugated cardboard absorbs ink, leading to reduced print quality. Some other materials’ darker colors can lower the ink and substrate's contrast levels, lessening barcodes' scannability. Organizations need to find the right reliable case coding solutions to make sure all outgoing products are properly labeled and all shipments reach their destinations without fail. Let this article serve as your case coding hardware guide.
Case Coding Printer Solutions
Depending on the specific requirements of your operation, one of the following options will be right for you:
- Thermal inkjet (TIJ) printer
- High-resolution case coding printer
Let’s dive deeper into the strengths of each of these solutions to help determine which is right for your operation.
Thermal Inkjet Printers: Anser U2, X1, and A1 Models
Thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are compact, cost-efficient machines with excellent coding specs. For example, InkJet’, Inc.’s Anser U2 Smart can create 400 x 300 DPI codes up to 0.5” tall (1” tall with the Anser U2 SmartOne). Higher-end TIJs like the Anser X1 and A1 can create 600 x 600 DPI codes up to 2” tall with stitched printheads. These qualities enable TIJs to perform product marking and case coding functions.
TIJ printers also offer:
- Simple Installation: TIJ printers are compact and lightweight, enabling easy and quick line integration.
Zero-Maintenance Operation: Unlike continuous inkjet printers, thermal inkjet printers do not require printhead cleanings, ink system maintenance, or professional servicing. Users can maintain proper TIJ operation for years by performing simple cleaning tasks and following basic usage guidelines.
TIJ printers are often designed for slower speed lines and intermittent coding tasks, but some TIJ models also offer high-speed capabilities. InkJet, Inc. carries numerous TIJ printers of varying specialties and price points. Our current options include:
See the chart below for a closer look into how our TIJ options compare to one another:
High-Resolution Case Coders: Precision Series 18mm & 72mm
High-resolution case coders (hi-res) excel at printing on corrugated cardboard, and a variety of other industrial packaging materials, especially for secondary and tertiary
High-resolution case coders like InkJet, Inc.’s Precision Series 18mm and Precision Series 72mm use powerful piezoelectric printheads to create large messages, intricate graphics, and stark images. Hi-res ink is oil-based and thicker than CIJ or TIJ ink, so hi-res codes are more durable and attractive, and for some corrugated materials they are better suited to achieve barcode scanability and contrast at the most economic ink price possible. As case coding solutions, Precision Series systems also enable users to replace physical shipping labels with printed ones by directly printing on the box.
Direct printing holds numerous benefits over manual labeling, including:
- Faster coding times
- Fewer material costs
- Lower risk of coding errors
- Better code durability
Improved print quality
In addition to these factors, Precision Series case coders further benefit users with these unique features:
- Internal Barcode Generation: Precision Series case coders can operate as completely standalone machines. Equipped with label design software and internal memory, Precision Series case coders allow users to create and store designs without an external computer.
- Seamless System Integration: Precision Series case coders are compatible with NiceLabel and Windows systems, enabling easy integration with external networks.
Dual-Head Functionality: Precision Series printers can be equipped with two printheads, allowing operators to print on two box sides simultaneously, whether for repeat images or independent codes. Users can stack heads to increase image size as well.
See the chart below for a closer look into the Precision Series’ most important specifications:
Still Unsure Which Case Coding Solution You Need?
Weighing all the variables and choosing the right option is not an easy task. Between all the unique qualities of industrial packaging substrates and the possible steep consequences of misprinting codes on them, the search for a case coding printer can be a challenge. If you find yourself still questioning which machine will best perform these tasks for you, InkJet, Inc. has you covered. Just give us a call, fill us in on what materials you’re working with, and we will help you find the best machine to fit your operation.
To learn more about case coding solutions, what jobs they each excel at, and which is ultimately right for you, contact InkJet, Inc. today by dialing (800) 280-3245.