First introduced to the market in the early 1950s, continuous inkjet or “CIJ” printers remain one of the manufacturing industry’s most preferred industrial marking options. Their remarkable capabilities make them perfect solutions for items like cosmetics, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and automotive components, all of which present uniquely demanding coding and marking challenges. If you're considering CIJ printing for your industrial coding needs, you are probably curious about the advantages offered by this marking and coding solution. Below are just a few.
One of the greatest benefits of CIJ printers is that they can be used to mark or code almost any material, at almost any speed or orientation. These printers can print date codes, lot codes, batch codes, logos, and more onto substrates like metal, glass, wood, plastic, and paper. Curved surfaces, textured surfaces, and porous surfaces pose little to no challenge to CIJ printers, due to the contact-free technology they use, which we will discuss in greater detail below. Lastly, not only can these printers print on virtually any surface, they can also use a wide variety of inks, giving product designers even more range for creativity.
In order to mark or code a product, a CIJ printer uses a high-pressure pump to direct liquid ink through a nozzle, creating a rapid, continuous stream of ink droplets. Since the printer’s nozzle never comes into contact with the substrate material, manufacturers who use CIJ printers can usually rely on concise, clear markings, even on objects that are oddly-shaped, flexible, or uneven. Smudges, misprints, and damage are essentially impossible, resulting in less wasted material and less time loss due to reprinting.
Speed of printing
The high frequency of CIJ ink ejection is able to mark and code substrates at faster rates than many other printers can achieve. For example, the average CIJ printer can apply codes to products moving at 1,000 feet per minute, while thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are generally limited to around 300 feet per minute. And while some TIJ printers are able to print at comparable speeds to CIJ printers, they are not suited to the 24/7 continuous operation that CIJ printers are designed for. CIJ printers are fast and resilient to the demands of a continuous production line.
The ink ejection is not the only thing that is fast about the CIJ printing process. The ink that is used is also quick to dry, once again decreasing the chances of smudges or misprints. Since the ink jet is constantly in use, the nozzle does not clog, therefore allowing solvents such as ketones and alcohols to be employed. These solvents are able to "bite" into the substrate and dry quickly, unlike other ink types.
All of the benefits we have discussed above (versatility, reliability, speed) save the user both time and money. In addition to these, there are other ways in which CIJ printers decrease operating costs, too. Firstly, compared to other technologies, CIJ printers can run for many hours before requiring service. They are typically very durable, resistant to high production temperatures, dust and humidity, all of which have traditionally been problematic for other types of printers.
Maintaining the printer is also very simple, and can be performed by the average layperson. Repair is usually simple, too. Since CIJ printers have very few moving parts, most issues are easy to identify and fix, like clogged filters or blocked ink flows. Even better, using high-quality ink and performing simple routine maintenance will prevent all of these issues from occurring at all.
Which continuous inkjet printer should I choose?
Continuous inkjet printers are incredibly versatile, efficient machines that can deliver uninterrupted, rapid coding day after day. Whether you’re working with glass bottles, flexible food packaging, or metal pipes, the high-speed printing capabilities of a CIJ printer can maximize your operation’s uptime and coding accuracy.
With so many CIJ models and ink formulations on the market, it can be difficult to determine which printer will work best for your needs. If you’re facing this dilemma, the expert team here at SSI Packaging can help. One model which we always like to recommend to our customers is the Leibinger Jet One printer. We have found this model to be very reliable compared to similarly-priced alternatives.
If you would like to learn more about the Leibinger Jet One, or investigate another type of printer, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Over decades of experience in the industrial marking and coding market, our experts have gained a detailed understanding of the printing challenges facing various industries, and are happy to direct you to the best solution for your particular needs.
To obtain a continuous inkjet printing system that works for you, contact us today, tell us about your operation, and let us find the perfect match for you!