Selecting the Best Industrial Inkjet Barcode Printer for Your Needs

In today’s marketplace, barcodes are ubiquitous. Whether you are shopping at the supermarket, stopping at the gas station, or walking through the mall, it’s hard to find any product these days that doesn’t have a barcode. 

From a retail standpoint, barcodes perform a number of essential functions. With a simple scan, barcodes help retailers process transactions, perform inventory management, and track sales. Barcodes are essential to product distribution networks as well, as distributors rely on barcodes to:

  • Identify products 
  • Track goods throughout the supply chain
  • Trace products back to their origin
  • Manage inventory

For these reasons and others, manufacturers and packaging companies must outfit their products and shipping cartons with legible barcodes. To meet the needs of different companies and industries, barcode printing is most often performed with various types of inkjet printers. The most popular options include:

In this industrial inkjet barcode printer overview, we examine each of these machines, explore their strengths, and describe situations in which they work best. 

Continuous Inkjet Printers

Continuous inkjet printers have been used for industrial product coding for decades. Built for conveyor-powered production line printing, CIJ systems like the DuraCode Touchscreen and DuraCode Pigment are valued for their fast coding speeds, nonstop operation, and diverse substrate compatibility.

CIJ printers create markings by internally pressurizing and circulating a continuous stream of ink. The process begins at a reservoir, where ink and solvent mix together to form a single mixture. There, a pump pressurizes the liquid, feeding it toward the printhead where droplets are propelled toward the substrate to create the barcode. The remaining ink is then circulated back to the reservoir as the machine continues the circulation process. 

This operating principle enables CIJ printers to:

  • Operate continuously 24/7
  • Code products at speeds of over 300 m/min
  • Print on both curved and flat surfaces
  • Deliver reliable results

In addition to these qualities, CIJ printers are well-suited for industrial applications due to their substantial environmental fortifications and compatibility with diverse inks and specialty formulas. These qualities enable CIJ printers to complete demanding applications in high-volume facilities, including plants involved in:

Without ink and makeup installed, today’s CIJ systems often weigh a little under 60 pounds. The average unit is around 18-24 inches in height, 15-20 inches in width, and 10-15 inches in depth. These dimensions allow users to easily install CIJ printers on most production lines.

A CIJ may be the right industrial inkjet barcode printer for you if your business requires:

  • 24/7 coding
  • Fast printing speeds
  • Environmentally-fortified machinery
  • Specialty inks
  • Curved surface coding capabilities 

Thermal Inkjet Printers

Thermal inkjet printers are much smaller, lighter, and more affordable than continuous inkjet printers. 

TIJ printers like the Anser X1 are compact and weigh under 10 pounds for easy line mounting and adjustment. Although the X1 offers CIJ-level printing speeds, most TIJ printers offer speeds closer to 120 m/min. However, TIJ printers can create larger, higher-quality markings than CIJ systems, making them a great choice for creating:

  • Barcodes
  • QR codes
  • Images 
  • Company logos

While continuous inkjet printers use pumps to pressurize ink, thermal inkjet printers use heat. Using electronic resistors, TIJ printers raise ink temperature until a bubble is generated. 

As the bubble grows, it propels ink out the printer’s nozzle and onto the substrate to create the code. With this operating principle, many TIJ printers can create codes at a resolution up to 600 x 600 DPI. 

In addition to high-quality codes, small sizes, and affordability, TIJ printers also have few maintenance concerns. TIJ ink cartridges effectively act as both reservoirs and printheads, eliminating the need for servicing either part. As long as you perform regular cleanings and use the machine as intended, TIJ printers will operate well without professional maintenance. 

A TIJ may be the right industrial inkjet barcode printer for you if your business requires: 

  • Higher-quality code appearance
  • Low maintenance concerns
  • An affordable coding system
  • A printer that can easily fit into tight spaces

High-Resolution Case Coders

High-resolution case coders like the Precision Series 72mm and Precision Series 18mm are not designed for printing on primary packaging. Instead, they are intended for coding shipping cartons and other forms of secondary packaging. 

Case coders use a combination of vibrations and electrical charges to pressurize ink. To create stark images and codes, case coders use more viscous inks instead of the water- and solvent-based formulas used by CIJ and TIJ printers. Thanks to these features, case coders are capable of creating markings that last longer and have a higher-quality appearance than codes made with other printers. 

If you are looking to move away from physical labels, a high-resolution case coder can automate your secondary packaging process for:

  • Higher efficiency
  • Lower material costs
  • Reduced risk of human error

A high-resolution case coder may be the right industrial inkjet barcode printer for you if your business requires: 

  • A reliable secondary packaging printing solution
  • High-quality markings
  • An alternative to hand labeling

InkJet, Inc. is Your Source for Industrial Inkjet Barcode Printers

Barcodes are a common requirement across the manufacturing and packaging industry. Food products, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and most other retail products require barcodes for successful distribution and retail sale. At InkJet, Inc., we help companies apply barcodes with high efficiency and minimal risk of error. 

Offering a robust collection of industrial inkjet barcode printers and years of industry experience, the InkJet, Inc. team can help you find the perfect system to meet your coding needs. Call us today to learn which option is right for you. 

For more information about industrial inkjet barcode printers, contact InkJet, Inc. online or call 1(800) 280-3245.