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!
As we all do our best to stay home and continue with life the best we can amidst COVID-19, some folks find ourselves snacking more than ever. Maybe it's nerves, or maybe you're like millions of others who are working from home. Whatever the reason, we are snacking more and also finding learning new things. For example, did you know there are many types of "date codes" on foods? Here is a short explanation of the various types of date codes and what they mean for you.
"Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
"Best if Used By (or Before)" date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
"Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
"Closed or coded dates" are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.
If you are a manufacture of food products, healthcare products, or paper goods (these days think toilet paper, right?), then let us help you solve the problem of accurate date coding for your production. SSI Packaging Group has been in the date coding business for decades and we are ready to listen to your needs and find the right solution.
Do you need cate coding equipment on a short-term basis? We rent coding equipment so that you can focus on fulfilling orders and we'll worry about the equipment.
Call one of marking and coding experts now to help you get production done on time and accurate the first time. 804.649.1111
An inc.jet .UNO print solution can help you to replace your troublesome CIJ
Printer and here’s why...
By using self-contained HP cartagrages, there is no messy cleanup. The high-capacity ink cartridges are long lasting and when they run out, simply pull out the empty one and drop in the new one.
No Small and Lowered VOC's
Forget the days of fumes and chemical smells from inkjet systems. Because .uno uses a closed packaging system, the ink is delivered on demand only. There are no solvents, spills, or makeup. The result is a no-smell inkjet system that is super reliable.
With it’s simple design comes a great by-product…higher reliability. Get on your business and forget about working if your coding and marking system is working correctly. .uno just works.
Since there are less parts, nothing to maintain, and limits downtime to a few moments the operating cost for .uno systems are a fraction of traditional CIJ systems.
The easy to navigate interface will get you the results you want without having to worry about spending hours programming. Enter your required fields and print.
Space is a huge consideration when considering marking and coding systems. Production lines have limited space for bulky inkjet systems. .uno systems need an extremely small footprint for the printhead and interface, preventing the need to redesign an entire production line.
BONUS - A True Lifetime Warranty
A guarantee of reliability is what your business needs today. And a company to stand behind its words. inc.jet does just this by offering a genuine Lifetime Warranty on its hardware. If there is ever a problem, we will replace it free of charges for the lifetime of that product, whether 1 year or 20 years from now
To take advantage of this limited-time offer, call one of the experts at SSI today. Our goal is to make sure you have the best solution for your particular setting. SSI Packaging Group stands behind our products and our work. We only install marking and coding solutions that we trust based on our long-time experience in the market. Call us today at 804.649.1111
There’s nothing like a cold craft beer! It’s estimated that craft beers sales are growing at 15-20 percent annually. In 2015 craft beer sales exceeded $22.3 billion. With all of this growth and competition how does a micro-brewer stand apart from the crowd? Sure, you can have a great brew, cool labeling, and a hot social media campaign, but being sure your brews are served fresh will keep customers and local taprooms coming back for more. Clearly displaying accurate date coding on your bottles will let everyone know you take brewing seriously.
The Brewers Association recommends that date lot code be clearly coded to aid with marketing freshness, but more importantly traceability for brewers, distributors, importers, and consumers. According to the Bioterrorism Act, brewers are required to insure traceability of their beer. Brewers must keep internal records of the specific ingredients, including manufacture lot numbers that were used in individual batches.
Having clearly labeled lot coding benefits the producers, distributors, and the consumers. The most vital role in lot coding is in the unfortunately event of a quality of safety recall. While brewers to there best to prevent recalls, it is essential to be prepared for them. Empowering retailers and distribution chains to utilize a first-in first-out strategy will ensure that stock stays fresh
Allowing consumers to understand the shelf life of beer educates the public about the industry, but more importantly about how brewers value freshness and transparency.
According the Brewers Association, there are several best practices for coding craft beer*:
• Standard or Gregorian Date package date coding
• “Best by” dating
• Julian date coding
• Unique company specific date coding
SSI packaging group are date and lot coding specialists. We have coding solutions for the smallest of brewers in the country to the largest. For bottle and can lot coding our Jet2NEO continuous inkjet printer by Leibinger, and our .UNO system by ink.jet are both compacts and economical. The Jet2NEO has a unique Sealtronic system that prevents the ink from being exposed to air, and therefore preventing clogging and additional maintenance between product runs. The .UNO high resolution system features ink cartridges from HP and is a great turnkey solution for brewers.
When it comes to case coding for craft brewers, print image and code accuracy is key for successful distribution and sales. Simple to use and maintain case coding systems from SSI Packaging Group include:
• Inc.jet .UNO
• Inc.jet . core
• Evolution 1 BY Digital Design
Of course, SSI Packaging Group is your complete warehouse solution as well with thousands of warehouse supplies in stock every day. From boxes and carton sealing tape, to high speed lot coding systems for bottles and cases, at SSI Packaging Group “we help you pack an track your image”®
It has always been difficult to run pigmented inks with light, high-contrast colors like white, light blue or yellow in small character Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers. Unlike black or darker colored dye based inks, pigmented inks require effective agitation to keep pigments from separating from the solvent carrier. Once the pigments separated, the sediment will clog the nozzle, filters, transfer valves and cause the print to lose contrast. The Leibinger Jet3pi Pigmented printer has numerous design features that enable very reliable operation, low maintenance and excellent print quality with pigmented inks. Here’s why the Jet3pi Pigmented printer is best-in-class:
The Jet3pi Pigmented printer is used extensively throughout many industries including wire, cable, pipe, extruded products, parts marking and packaging.
When a Leibinger printer is started, ink pressure is stabilized before the gutter returns to the open position. This is where conventional ink jets falter because the ink stream can “wobble” while pressure is building and clog the narrow slot within the charge electrodes causing poor print quality, fault conditions and messy clean-up. This printhead design also eliminates the “auto flush” cycle at shut-down which can dilute the ink supply and reduce print quality and contrast.
Unique Features of the Jet3pi Especially for Pigmented Inks
1. The variable speed, magnetically coupled stirring motor on the bottom of the internal ink reservoir continuously mixes the ink when the printer is running. There is a stirring bar within the reservoir that effectively keeps pigments from separating.
2. Ink is pumped through the main filter and into the bottom of the cone shaped ink chamber within the pressure tank. Pigment residue cannot collect since the incoming flow agitates the ink within the chamber.
3. Leibinger’s diaphragm type ink and suction pumps run much cooler and don’t “grind” on the pigments like gear driven pumps in competitive printers. The result is much longer pump life and less degradation of the ink over time.
4. Leibinger printers are designed to enable component level service rather than replacement of expensive modules or subassemblies that are not field serviceable.
5. Preventive maintenance is recommended twice yearly. Jet3 PM kits are inexpensive and easy to install by either the customer or Leibinger technicians.
All Leibinger printers have an “interval mode” feature which will automatically start the printer at programmable intervals up to 3 times daily when not in use. This feature is especially important for pigmented inks to keep the ink mixed. Competitive printers may claim to have a similar feature but only the Jet3pi will recirculate ink throughout the entire hydraulic system including the printhead and nozzle, not just the ink reservoir. This is key to prevent pigments from settling and accumulating within the fluid handling components. Almost no make-up solvent is consumed during interval mode.
SSI Packaging Group is proud to provide the Jet3pi CIj printer featuring pigmented inks. Download the whitepaper and specification PDF here.
There’s been quite a bit of conversation about food waste this summer. As a way of clearing up some common questions about date labels on food packages, let’s look at what they actually mean.
When browsing the shelves in a grocery store you’ll notice 4 main types of date codes on products. Each of these codes are for a specific target group and mean different things.
“best by” - This is date code is a guide for the average consumer. According to David Fikes, vice President of Consumer/Community Affairs and Communications for Food Marketing Institute, an item labeled “best by” usually means that the product will taste best by a specific date. However, the consumer may be able to consume it following that date, with a few exceptions.
“use by” - This is just another way of stating “best by” and means the same thing. Someone will have the best experience with a product prior to the “use by” or “best by” date.
“sell by” - When items are stocked on shelves, employees use the “sell by” date to determine if they can place it on the shelves for sale. Therefore, this date is targeting the retailer and not the consumer. The product will probably be just fine after the "sell by" date, but the store and manufacture want it off the shelves quickly to rotate in new stock.
“expiration date” - Baby formula and a few other baby food products may include a true “expiration date.” After the “expiration date” the nutrients in these baby-related food items may begin to diminish and not be beneficial for the infant. If an item has an "expiration date" on it, then it's there because of federal regulations.
The bottom line is that these dates have less to do with safety and more to do with quality. There are, of course, exceptions such as dairy products, fresh vegetables, and fresh meats. For these items one should check resources such as the Safe Storage chart we posted in January, 2015 or use the new FDA FookKeeper app.
A useful tool for consumers to check the safety of foods is a recently release app but he FDA called FoodKeeper. This helpful app enables consumers to look up the shelf life of food items before and after they are opened. The FDA released this app to help prevent food waste.
The microbrewing industry has enjoyed steady growth in North America. The traditional brown bottle is the container of choice to best preserve the flavor of these specialty brews. Black and red inks are sometimes used but contrast on the dark brown bottles is poor. White pigmented inks can provide better contrast but a more cost effective solution is Leibinger’s yellow “Soft Pigmented Ink” that runs in the standard Leibinger printers. This ink provides good contrast on brown bottles without the higher cost and additional maintenance of fully pigmented inks. Leibinger offers two printer choices depending on the filling environment. For applications where the printer could be heavily splashed or washed down, the Jet3pro with waterproof IP65 cabinet rating is required. If the filling area is relatively dry and the printer can be “bagged” or rolled out the filling area during wash-down, the low-cost Jet2neo with stainless steel IP54 rated cabinet is a great choice. The Jet2neo with yellow SP ink provide the perfect combination of Leibinger’s legendary reliability and low cost of operation. Numerous breweries throughout the U.S. have chosen Leibinger printers with the yellow ink. It adheres well and provides good contrast on brown, green and even clear bottles.
Microbrewers don’t always bottle daily and this can cause reliability problems for conventional inkjet printers. Conventional inkjets can be difficult to restart after being down for even a few days. “Sealtronic Technology”, Leibinger’s unique printhead design with automatic nozzle seal and interval mode assures an instant start no matter how long the printer is shut down. The result is uptime and availability not possible with conventional inkjets.
SSI Packaging Group can help your company find the right making and coding solution for your product- whether you operate a small production line or mass product thousands of products a day. Our sales team will listen to your needs and help you find an affordable solution that ensures maximum up time with limited maintenance.
Call Our Sales Team for More Information: 804.649.1111
The high-performance JET2neo Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printer is the ideal printing and marking system for all non-contact marking and coding tasks on a wide variety of materials, products and packages. The “Sealtronic“ automatic nozzle seal sets this CIJ printer from the competition ensuring that the ink never dries out. Built with high-quality materials, sophisticated technologies and the best production processes the JET2neo has a 24 month warranty to keep your production up and running with ease.
The LEIBINGER automatic nozzle seal, “Sealtronic”, always guarantees immediate availability of the JET2neo. Even after long-term shut-downs the JET2neo will not dry out and is ready to resume printing immediately.
Only parts that are actually worn are replaced when the JET2neo undergoes service. The long-life ink bottles deliver more than 120 million characters. LEIBINGER industrial marking and coding systems contain no cores, cubes, ink modules or expensive assembly units that need replacing.
JET2Neo CIJ Printer distributed By SSI Packaging Group
For over 40 years SSI Packaging Group has been a leader of innovation within the marking and coding industry. SSI Packaging Group specializes in packaging and industrial marking and coding in the Mid-Atlantic and South Eastern states. We are experts in the field of inkjet coding, laser coding, labeling, packaging materials, and shipping supplies. We have sales representatives throughout the Mid-Atlantic and South East who can provide cost-effective solutions to your packaging, and marking and coding needs. The JET2neo CIJ printer is one of our most versatile inkjet systems.
Learn More / Tech Specs Available Here
The noise in the school cafeteria sounded like a roller coaster line at an amusement park. The children were excited to be out of class for their 25 mins. respite for lunch. As I wait for my daughter, I noticed the familiar long line at the cafeteria counter. A lot has changed in last 30+ years in the area of school lunches. Children can choose from a variety of foods, they can select one (or more) of several beverage options, and they use a school credit account instead of cash (Don’t even get me started about teaching kids to rely on credit in 1st grade!). One of the changes to school lunches that seems to be invaluable is the importance of the date codes and freshness dates on almost every item on their trays.
In the fiscal year 2014, there were more than 5 billion lunches served in the United States.1 Of those 5 billion lunches, 64% were connected to the federal free lunch program.2 The statistics regarding school lunches show a steady increase year after year on the number of children who are eating school lunches instead of packing a lunch. When I was a child, I carried around my Incredible Hulk metal lunchbox that also doubled as my matchbox car collection carrier. By the end of the week, there was no telling what was in that lunch/car carrier that I called a lunchbox. Some days, I had no idea what the leftovers were, I just knew that we couldn’t afford to by lunches every day, so if I wanted to eat, I’d have to pack my lunch.
As I sat on the tiny stools at my daughter’s lunch table I looked around to see what the kids were eating. Most were eating lunches provided by the school. You could quickly see who had the standard lunch or the “upgrade” lunch. No matter if a child was receiving a free or reduced lunch or they paid full price, I noticed a several similarities right away.
First, milk is still the standard drink. Both the chocolate and white milks has date codes on them. However, 3 out of 5 kids at our table said their milk was frozen and were unable to drink it by the end of the lunch period. That’s not the end of the world, but it’s disappointing that the school didn’t seem to care. Second, everyone had a sealed fruit of some kind- applesauce, peaces, pears, etc. All of that fruit had date codes on them as well. Third, the meat (if you want to call it that) and the veggies looked like they were some version of a thawed frozen food- all of which have date codes on their containers in the freezer.
Why all of these codes? Of course, it make it easy for the kitchen staff to see what’s still edible and what needs to be tossed. More importantly, these codes help the manufacture track their products for recall purposes. One recall in Feb 2015 was identified as causing 60 children in three states allergic-style reactions. The swift recall helped protect other school systems and children from potentially harmful allergic reactions.4
Implications For Consumers
First and foremost, go have lunch with your kids. You’re making memories, building trust, and having fun when you go to the cafeteria. They won’t be young long! Second, understanding date coding on products is a relativity new skill for many people. Most of the time, simply searching for the inkjet code or stamped code on an item will reveal the suggested Use By date. There are other codes on most items, but they are usually for internal use by the manufacturer and are just gibberish to consumers. Third, teach your kids to look for date codes whether your children pack a lunch or eat a school lunch. There is nothing like cracking open a carton of milk only to discovery you needed a fork to eat the lumpy stuff inside. Looking at the date code could prevent a spoiled food from ruining one’s entire lunch. Date codes are there to read, take a moment while shopping and while preparing foods to find the date code. If there is no date code, contact the manufacture and request the date the item was packaged.
Implications For Industry
School lunches are big business! In 2014, the cost of commodities for school lunches exceeded $16.4 billion.3 Items that mostly provided for school lunch programs include” fruit, vegetables, milk, boxed snacks, breads (rolls, buns, etc.), frozen meats, frozen pizza, desserts, and more. All of these items must have reliable coding on them to ensure freshness and quality. Poorly printed coding can jeopardize confidence in a manufacture and possible loss of contracts. Manufactures, food packers, and food distributors must be able to have clearly printed codes on the items they sell and distribute.
Most companies what to do the right thing by issuing a recall if something is found to be a health hazard. Sometimes the recalls are voluntary others are mandatory. If the codes are smudged, poorly printed, or missing altogether the health of dozens or even thousands of children are at risk. No company wants to take on the risk of bad publicity of children or become ill due to their products. So the food industry has developed certain standards to help facilitate the prompt delivery of foods for schools and, if needed, immediate recall procedures.
SSI Packaging Group has been meeting the needs of food manufactures for decades. They are experts on ink jet coding, laser coding, case coding, and industrial packaging. SSI realized the need to be able to not just print these valuable codes, but also that these items needed to be able to be tracked with surgical precision so they invented the pakTru traceability system.
pakTru traceability, combined with quality ink jet coding, laser coding, or quality labeling systems, help ensure that products are accurately delivered within necessary guidelines. pakTru is a fully owned subsidiary of SSI Packaging, a provider of coding and marking solutions for over 40 years. SSI Packaging has been providing superior customer service and exceptional solutions-driven value to their many clients and is proud to expand their products to include pakTru. More information can be found at www.pakTru.com and www.ssipackaging.com.
The Videojet Unicorn® II large character inkjet printer from Videojet Technologies Inc. is a complete, all-inclusive printing system for reliable and cost-effective single or dual line coding on secondary packaging, such as corrugated boxes and cases. FAlsoPre-loaded, selectable languages and printable characters increase flexibility and improve operator efficiencies by making it easy for operators to change the language required for coding and change the language appearing on the interface. The printer is easy to use and maintain and offers standard print heights up to 1 inch (25 mm) and print speeds up to 200 feet per minute.
“The Videojet Unicorn II printer not only marks cartons, but also provides production information vital to inventory and quality control,” says Tim O’Rourke, Videojet secondary packaging product manager. “Product names, identification numbers, automatic production counts and accurate, to-the-minute time code capabilities are available at the touch of a button. Whatever your coding needs, the Videojet Unicorn printer can be programmed quickly and easily.”
> More on MARSH Unicorn HERE
> More on MARSH Unicorn II HERE
SSI Packaging is proud to be a distributor of Videojet marking and coding products. SSI Packaging Group is a national leader in coding, printing and laser marking products, fluids, and accessories for the product identification industry. As experts in continuous inkjet (CIJ), drop-on-demand (DOD), thermal transfer overprinting (TTO), array, and laser technologies, SSI Packaging Group, along with Videojet are leaders in the industry and ready to help you pack and track your image today.
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