How to Choose the perfect Industrial Lumber Marker & leave a lasting impression on Wood

  • By Domino North America
  • October 22, 2019
  • Industrial
  • Building & Construction
  • Engineered Wood
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The next time you're walking in the hardware store and you pass by the wood aisle, pause and think about the technology that it took to put those giant logos on the side of the wood. They didn't end up there by accident - they were the result of product marketers, and of course, finely tuned industrial printers specifically built for the rigors of the lumber industry. 

With Domino printers, you can make consistent product coding a hassle-free part of the industrial lumber production process.

Of course, printing on wood products is not without its challenges for printers - it's prone to dust and timber mills are fast-moving.

But whether you are looking to ensure that your product stands out from competitors with high-quality company logos, or demonstrate compliance to international regulations with crisp, clear standards, and codes, Domino's team of engineers is here to help.

Is the lumber industry growing overall?

The health question of the lumber industry is an interesting one. In the North American market, you may remember there was a large peak in mid-2018, followed by a cooldown period in 2019[1]. However, due to the global shipping volatility in 2020, that question becomes more interesting. 

Prior to the 2018 peak, overall global production of round wood and processed timber experienced growth between 2015 and 2018, showing an increase from pre-crisis levels in 2007. In 2016, global industrial round wood production totaled 1874 million m³. From this, processed sawn wood, timber, and lumber totaled some 468 million m³, 3.2% higher than the previous year’s 453 million m3 total, and up 16% since 2012.

Regardless of the trends, with such substantial material quantities, it is important to ensure that coding and marking procedures are carried out in line with very specific requirements as track and trace becomes all the more important in every industry - including lumber.

To assist with wood tracking and tracing efforts, Domino North America operates in two of the largest and fastest-growing wood- and timber-based product markets in the world - the USA and Canada.

What type of coding and marking is needed for wood products?

Coding and marking requirements in the wood subsector vary considerably depending on the type of product being produced.

This wide area includes everything from raw lumber used in construction to coated and varnished products for flooring, furniture and other finished items. As you would imagine, specific coding requirements vary for each application.

These applications include:

  • Dimensions and specs
  • Structural ratings
  • Stress grade test results
  • Timber species identification
  • Date, time, shift, and batch codes
  • Product codes
  • Company branding and logo
  • Barcodes and 2D data codes
  • Association trademarks such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
Black inkjet code from Domino Amjet North America's Macrojet printer marked onto wooden panel

Which industrial printing technologies work with wood?

To properly answer this question, you have to think of what type of product printing that you need to do and whether or not your wood will be finished. Then, you can move on to the type of technology that you will need.

Clean and clear batch, product, and standard codes on wood are a must for developed timber markets, helping to demonstrate that suppliers conform to national and international standards for performance, sustainability, and traceability.

For fast-paced, consistent applications in harsh environments, the Macrojet, Ax-Series, Cx-Series, and Gx-Series from Domino can all provide a solution in the application of codes and standards.

Once you've narrowed down which product in your catalog needs to be printed upon, then you can choose which product from our catalog will work the best. Essentially, it boils down to inkjet. 

From there, it widens because you could choose from a valve jet (VIJ), continuous inkjet (CIJ), piezo inkjet (PIJ), and thermal Inkjet (TIJ), depending upon your ultimate application. However, there are some particular situations where print and apply or even laser could be deployed with much success at a wood production factory. 

That said, given the realities of wood production at a sawmill, or even a wood furniture factory, when considering the right coding and marking technology, you have to weigh in the fact that there is going to be temperature variance and of course, dust from the wood itself or the chemicals involved in finishing the wood.

 

Why would Macrojet be deployed for coding wood?

Large character printers are designed to work in even the harshest environments, to deliver fast-paced coding with minimized downtime, service, and maintenance. With consistently high-quality print output, the Macrojet delivers reliable and cost-effective large character coding for all wood products. Plus, its range of oil-based inks from Domino allows printing on varnished and untreated wood.  

We don't have to tell you that lumber mills and factories are particularly harsh environments. That's why we engineered our large character PIJ printers specifically in high temperature, high-dust, high-vibration environments.

Is it possible to code wood with Continuous Inkjet?

Yes, it is perfectly possible to code lumber with Continuous Inkjet. In fact, our CIJ printers are a perfectly versatile solution for product identification and batch numbering.

The Ax-Series coders have been specifically designed to deliver consistent, fast-paced printing in harsh environments - including dust-filled environments like a sawmill or furniture factory.

Plus, Ax-Series continuous inkjets are also available with a range of pigmented inks in several colors including yellow, black, red, white and blue for added visibility and flexibility for brand differentiation.

Why is PIJ or TIJ a good Lumber Coding option?

As one of the fastest and highest resolution PIJ printers on the market, our Cx Series industrial PIJ systems are perfect for large character printing on boxes, cases and even lumber in this application. In fact, it is fully capable of printing characters of up to 70mm at high speeds.

In addition, it is uniquely capable of printing on lumber and other. Specifically developed for use on porous substrates including untreated wood and timber. The Cx-Series PIJ can provide across piece and end grain printing of product codes and grade stamps.

Our lineup of mineral oil-free inks are fully capable of delivering quality, high-contrast product codes while helping companies maintain overall sustainability goals, lowering overall costs, environmental impact.

Why would Thermal Inkjet be a good option?

Designed for high-resolution printing, our range of Tij printers are capable of printing at fast line speeds with complete reliability. Domino’s Gx-Series TIJ printers provide a perfect solution for everything from 2D codes, to simple carton and weatherboard coding.

Our Gx-Series printers utilize maintenance-free HP ink cartridges with specially formulated inks to address product-specific requirements and applications. Given the hot and dusty environments of lumber mills, Gx TIJ industrial inkjets could indeed stand up to the pressure, so the could be deployed in that situation. 

What type of ink is needed to properly print on wood?

Regardless of your product or coding requirements, with an industrial inkjet from Domino, it’s easy to add production data and so you can get a proper idea of just how much ink and other consumables you'll need for your factory application.

Our valve jet (VIJ), continuous inkjet (CIJ), piezo inkjet (PIJ), and thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are versatile, easy to set up and integrate, and require minimal service and maintenance.

We also supply a range of industrial printer inks and filters specifically engineered to adhere to different wooden surfaces, promising clear, high-visibility results.

Plus, if you don't even want to think about factoring in your Consumable expenses, we've built a payment option that allows you to roll in your consumable costs along with your capital expenditure and service expenditure making the entire purchase much more acceptable for your Finance office. 

What can I code onto wood? Am I limited to Logos, Barcodes and QR codes?

When it comes to product printing, the sky is the limit - so long as you stay within a certain amount of colors. You can get extra advertising space within the store, plus you can get extra traceability.

Essentially, your brand is just as important to us as it is to you - that’s why Domino has such a large range of coders for printing logos and designs. Our Cx-Series PIJ printers can be used to create large, eye-catching logos and designs – turning the side of stacked boards or panels into an advertising space. While our Gx-Series Tij printers are perfect for printing smaller high-quality logos on individual products.

For high-quality, data-embedded machine-readable codes, quality, and consistency is of the utmost importance. Our Cx-Series PIJ printers provide the ideal solution for large-character, high-resolution barcodes, and 2D codes. For smaller character coding, consider a TIJ printer from our Gx-Series range.

Can lasers be used for lumber coding?

While we've focused purely upon inkjet technologies up to this point, there is plenty of reason to also consider lasers for lumber coding and marking.

Some timber products need to be marked with a permanent code that can endure wood treatment or withstand the test of time on both porous and non-porous treated products.  These types of permanent codes guarantee that information will be legible at all stages of the handling process.

For such applications, a laser marking machine such as from Domino’s D-Series range of CO2 lasers offers a permanent solution for coding and marking wood and timber products. A D-Series laser can produce a mark that will not only resist water and abrasion, but also more aggressive surface treatments like bleaching.

Could print and apply be the solution you require?

This is a question that's an interesting one. If the surface of your product is extremely rough, uneven, or irregular in color or texture, and machine-readable barcodes are required, labeling may actually be a smarter marking choice than either inkjets or lasers.

With Domino’s M-Series lineup of print and apply labelers, we offer an excellent option for adding barcodes, product codes, and other variable data onto your timber and wood panels. We actually have product engineers who will work with you to help install our M-Series print and apply machines in your production line, so you get an optimal setup. 

So, print and apply could actually be an excellent option.

Which coding technology is best for your business?

For help identifying the best technology for your business, the easiest option for you is to ask the experts at Domino. We are a global leader in coding and printing technology and have created some of the most advanced coding systems on the market today. We can help you create a customized option with one, or even several of our coding technologies in tandem on your lines to ensure that you get the best printing possible for your factory.

Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you find the best technology for your business.

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