Legacy Continuous Ink Jet [CIJ] equipment may not be able to rise to the various new challenges, but the positive attributes of the technology mean that many manufacturers like to operate with CIJ, fine-tuning older printers regularly to optimize performance and perhaps overlooking substandard coding.
However, coding quality is becoming increasingly critical because poor coding means that the resulting code may fail to meet supply chain requirements.
“For UK businesses, misleading information on packaging or labeling can constitute a criminal offense under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”
– London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The quality of a printed code relies on several factors: accurate placement, precision jetting, readability and contrast, good adhesion, and durability in the face of environmental stresses and physical handling.
There are numerous reasons why a CIJ code could be deemed ineffective, including issues relating to the coding system itself and the production environment. In addition, with the introduction of new packaging materials, incorrect ink selection for the substrate could result in poor-quality code.
>> Common print quality faults: how to identify and avoid them
High production speeds can visibly impact the code, meaning that the data is not printed within the designated code area, or the code appears “stretched” across the label or surface. Print quality can also be an issue. In some cases, a code’s resolution might not be high enough, which means that more ink drops are required to achieve the desired definition.
If an inappropriate or low-quality ink is selected, poor adhesion can lead to codes becoming smudged or chipped, making the code illegible. Code contrast can also prove to be a challenge on certain surfaces, such as amber glass or transparent bottles containing dark liquids. While contrasting colors such as white or yellow are available, their reputation for poor reliability means manufacturers will avoid these inks where possible.
Market research from Domino confirms that code quality is the most important challenge, both now and in the future. When asked to rate the significance of coding-related issues compared to other production issues, more than half of respondents said that a coding issue would be of the highest importance.
For a more in-depth look at how CIJ is changing to meet the needs of manufacturers and producers globally, be sure to check out our white paper Rewriting the Rules: How Continuous Ink Jet is changing to meet the future needs of manufacturing and our new Ax-Series website to find out how Domino is changing the playbook on coding and marking.
Let us know your thoughts below, or find us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Be sure to follow the Domino Blog to stay up to date on the latest from Domino on products, industry trends, and advice for the future.