Is a Handheld Date Coder Right for Me?

No matter which sector you’re in, if your company is involved in manufacturing or packaging products, there’s a chance that you need to perform some date coding. For instance, it’s hard to find a food product in the grocery store that doesn’t have a date code, whether it be an expiration date or packaged-on date. Other perishable goods, ranging from suntan lotion to pet food, also frequently bear date codes on their outer packaging. 

In most cases, these codes are required by distribution networks in order to increase traceability, improve inventory control, and inform customers about the products they’re using. In other cases, federal and state legislators also play a factor, as many regulations require date codes to be present on a variety of specific products, including:

To comply with these requirements, most businesses utilize large production lines equipped with industrial marking equipment like continuous inkjet printers and high-speed thermal inkjet printers. However, there are many situations and applications in which smaller handheld date coders are a better fit.

If you’re wondering whether a handheld date coder may be a good fit for your operation, here’s what you need to know.

The Benefits and Uses of a Handheld Date Coder

When many people think of date coding operations, they immediately think of production lines—and this association makes sense. After all, date codes are frequently found on mass-produced goods like pre-packaged food, soft drinks, and pharmaceuticals. 

During production, manufacturers and packagers ensure that these goods are outfitted with the required codes by marking them with large, high-speed marking machines like continuous inkjet printers or laser marking systems. With the aid of these high-speed devices, companies are able to achieve code compliance without sacrificing operational efficiency. 

At the same time, however, there are many cases in which production line marking isn’t the most effective way to code a product. In these instances, handheld date coders provide a convenient way to apply required markings in a fast, immediate fashion. 

For example, a production line worker may opt to use a handheld date coder in the following situations:

  • One-Off Projects: While production lines are great for marking large product quantities in a timely manner, they can prove unnecessary when working with a small number of goods. If one only has to mark a quick handful of products, it’s much easier to reach for a handheld date coder and directly mark the goods yourself.
  • Rework: Modern production line technology allows users to automatically detect when a code isn’t applied correctly or isn’t quite legible. Handheld date coders enable users to quickly reapply the marking without having to run the product through the production line again.
  • Internal Work: By nature, handheld date coders are highly mobile devices that can be used in an instant to mark a surface. Many users take advantage of these qualities to mark things like in-progress pallets and inventory cartons to let other workers know what the object is being used for. 

Beyond these examples, handheld date coders are also very beneficial to startups and smaller-scale companies that are entering the product marking space. Intuitive, cost-effective, and compatible with most substrates, handheld printers are a great introduction to product marking in addition to being a valuable asset to production line operations.

Handheld Date Coder Options

At InkJet, Inc. we carry a few different handheld date coder models to meet the needs of different operations. Our two most popular offerings are:

  1. The handheld Anser U2 Pro-S 1/2" thermal inkjet printer
  2. The handheld Anser U2 SmartOne thermal inkjet printer

Although these printer models share many similarities (e.g., they both weigh less than five pounds, they’re both thermal inkjet printers, etc.), they also differ in certain ways that make them ideal for very different applications. 

The biggest difference is substrate compatibility. The Pro-S is capable of marking both porous and non-porous substrates such as plastic, metal, aluminum, and glass. The SmartOne, on the other hand, is designed to mark porous materials, such as paper and cardboard. These differences alone will be the biggest influence on which printer model will work best for an operation. 

Beyond substrate compatibility, it’s important to note that these two models also differ in print height. While both printers are capable of producing up to four lines of text at a time, the Pro-S maxes out at a print height of ½” while the SmartOne can reach 1”. 

Want To Know More About Handheld Date Coders? InkJet, Inc. Is Here To Help

Whether you’re a start-up company with limited marking needs or a major company that already utilizes a large production line, handheld date coders can help you improve your processes. Compact, highly mobile printer models like the Anser U2 Pro-S 1/2" and Anser U2 SmartOne provide users with the ability to quickly fix mistakes, perform emergency coding, and label different surfaces. 

If you want to increase your operation’s ability to tackle unique coding tasks, InkJet, Inc. has the hardware for you. Our product line is filled with thermal inkjet printers and diverse ink formulas fit for a variety of porous and non-porous materials. Contact us today to discuss how our offerings can improve your marking processes. 

To find the best handheld date coder for your operation, contact us online today or call 1(800) 280-3245