Which Inkjet Lot Code Printer Is Right for You?

Commonly found on food products, beverages, and personal care products, lot codes are essential to modern traceability. Also called product batch codes or lot numbers, lot codes are number/letter combinations that are assigned to product batches that share the same:

  • Manufacturing location
  • Properties/specifications
  • Raw materials
  • Production data

By marking products with lot codes, companies are able to easily source individual goods and view the necessary information. Reliable sourcing is key to completing successful recalls and satisfying industry-appropriate traceability requirements and distributor policies. 

Of course, lot codes are only useful when they are readable. Today’s distribution networks are far-reaching and complex. Lot codes need to stay legible throughout the entire chain to ensure traceability. 

Time To Upgrade Your Lot Code Printing Processes?

Manufacturing and packaging companies need to use printing hardware that meets their production needs and won’t go down from faults in the middle of a workday. These demands can make it difficult to find the right printing solution. Thankfully, there are a number of versatile inkjet printers on the market that are perfect for different situations. Options include:

If you are on the lookout for a new inkjet lot code printer for your operation, ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your search.

What Materials Are You Printing On?

When searching for a new lot code printer, a natural starting point is to consider which materials you will be printing on. 

Lot codes are required in a wide range of industries. Essentially, if a business is manufacturing any product from raw materials, they must apply lot numbers to their goods to track them. That means companies involved in everything from chemical manufacturing to pet food production must outfit their products’ packaging with highly-legible, long-lasting lot codes. 

With this product diversity comes a wide variety of packaging materials as well, including:

Many of these substrates have vastly different surface properties. Consequently, you must select a printer/ink combination that is compatible with your packaging materials in order to create consistently readable lot codes. 

For example, a printer model like Anser U2 Smart 1/2" thermal inkjet printer excels at marking porous and semi-porous materials (e.g., cardboard, wood, etc.) but isn’t compatible with the appropriate ink to mark non-porous materials (e.g., plastic, metal, etc.). Other printers, like the Anser U2 Pro-S 1/2" thermal inkjet printer or DuraCode Keyboard continuous inkjet printer, can print on porous, semi-porous, and non-porous substrates. 

To ensure that you buy the right printer for your needs, take stock of the different packaging materials that you currently use—or plan to use—and speak with an expert about which printer/ink combinations would be ideal for the situation.

Does Your Facility Have Any Challenging Environmental Factors?

Production plants are often home to challenging environmental issues. Extreme temperatures, high humidity, and excessive dust are commonly found in manufacturing/packaging facilities, and each of these elements can wreak havoc on unprotected printers. 

If you use a printer that isn’t fortified against the environmental issues present in your facility, you run the risk of:

  • Hardware damages
  • Long periods of downtime
  • Unreadable lot codes and other flawed product markings

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to find inkjet lot code printers that are built for harsh conditions. The DuraCode Touchscreen, for example, is built with industry standard IP55 industrial protection, which guarantees:

  • Formidable protection against dust ingress 
  • High humidity and condensation

The Anser X1 offers even stronger protection against dust and water ingress. Carrying an IP66 housing, the Anser X1 has the following features:

  • 100% dust-tight without any risk of particle intrusion
  • The controller is protected against high-pressure bursts of water

Both the DuraCode and Anser X1 can operate in extreme temperatures (100° +) as well. Examine your facility’s different environmental conditions and make sure that any potential printers can withstand them to find the right hardware for your line.

What Are Your Printing Speed Requirements?

Just as materials and environmental conditions vary from facility to facility, speed requirements can vary greatly from one printing application to another. 

If you have a high-speed production line in your facility, a continuous inkjet printer is likely the lot code solution for you. Offering marking speeds above 300 m/min, CIJ printers have been a staple of industrial coding and was the first technology that took off in the marketplace. Versatile, reliable, and compatible with porous, non-porous, and semi-porous materials, CIJ printers reliably create legible codes at high speeds. 

For those with lower line speeds or facilities utilizing a temp worker organization, thermal inkjet printers are likely a better choice. While some TIJ printers like the Anser X1 are capable of high-speed marking, most TIJ models are better suited for intermittent printing at speeds below 80 m/min. TIJ printers are also compact enough to fit into tight spaces on the line. Many TIJ printers are also available in handheld models for maximum portability. 

See the chart below to view the speed capabilities, material compatibility, and environmental protections offered by some of InkJet, Inc.’s most popular printers.


DuraCode CIJ

Anser X1

Anser U2 Smart

Printing Speed

- 320 m/min

- 300 m/min

- 76.2 m/min 

Material Compatibility

- Porous materials

- Non-porous materials

- Semi-porous materials

- Porous materials

- Non-porous materials

- Semi-porous materials

- Porous materials

- Semi-porous materials

Environmental Fortifications

- IP55 Housing

- IP65 Housing

- N/A

Operating Temperature

- 41 - 113° F (5 - 45° C)

- 32 - 104° F (0 - 40° C)

- 41° - 104° F (5 – 40° C)

Searching for the Best Inkjet Lot Code Printer for Your Business? InkJet, Inc. Can Help You Find It

Lot codes play a number of important roles in modern commerce. Helping to create front-to-back traceability across supply chains, lot codes are essential to quality-assurance processes, traceability procedures, and product recalls. In a time of increasingly strict regulations, companies across the manufacturing and packaging sphere need to have a printing solution that they can trust—and InkJet, Inc. is here to help. 

Carrying everything from inkjet printers to laser marking systems and high-resolution case coders, InkJet, Inc. can build a marking solution that perfectly meets your coding needs. Whether you are printing on glass bottles, aseptic packaging, or any other substrate, InkJet, Inc. can help you find the best lot code printer to fit the job. Contact us today to learn more. 

For more information on inkjet lot code printers, contact InkJet, Inc. online or call 1(800) 280-3245.