Coding and marking equipment has a tough job: To add a unique printed mark on a product or its packaging for security or tracking. To prevent counterfeiting, manufacturers must outsmart the thieves. Track-and-trace features can be used to ease product recall, monitor product quality and track a product’s journey through the supply chain.
Inkjet and laser coders can be programmed to carry a large amount of information, such as lot number, date code and more. A variety of styles, typefaces and character sizes can be used and changed easily in newer marking devices. And, no matter if you need small- or large-character printing for your product line, in dark or light—or even invisible—ink, there are a variety of machines to answer the call.
With new ink technology, machinery upgrades and software created to give that sense of security for brands and retailers, we offer a quick product roundup to get you started.
Print Directly on Corrugated Cartons
The VIAjet T-Series E (for “Enhanced”) high-resolution piezo inkjet printer from Matthews Marking Systems (matthewsmarking.com) has speeds up to 50 percent faster than the previous model. This is an option if you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to adhesive labels and preprinted corrugated cartons used in secondary packaging.
Two print head models are offered: The T100 for side/vertical printing and the T100S for down/right-angle printing. The print heads create high-resolution barcodes and images as tall as 4 inches (25.4mm). Grouping multiple print heads together enables the marking of larger images, logos and multiple lines of text. Benefits include a throw distance to 6mm without loss of barcode quality.
“We’ve successfully proven that a production line utilizing the standard print engine—running at 260 feet-per-minute with ink coverage of about 18 percent of the side of a white corrugated box—can be increased to 320 feet-per-minute with the enhanced print engine. No shadowing or ghosting of text or barcodes was observed, and the barcodes repeatedly scanned as A grades,” said Ray Fortuna, technical product manager at Matthews Marking Systems.
The T-Series E is controlled by the company’s MPERIA marking and coding automation platform. MPERIA centralizes control of all primary, secondary and tertiary print operations, and integrates with current enterprise systems. It can also control existing third-party marking and coding equipment.
The Choice for Soft Pigment Ink Jobs
New from Linx (linxglobal.com) and distributed in North America by Diagraph is the Linx 8900 Plus Series. The advanced range of color-contrasting inkjet technology provides a high level of printer reliability and ease of use. Enhancements in printhead design and pigment particle dispersion in the series prevent common clogging issues associated with inkjet systems when using color inks based on soft pigments.
The Linx 8900 Plus Series keeps pigment particles dispersed in the ink system using several printer functions that provide constant, gentle agitation. The printers feature an enhanced mix cycle that self-adjusts for idle periods and extended shutdowns. This approach to particle dispersion eliminates the use of mechanical stirring and the need to keep the power on—minimizing the number of wearable parts and the operating cost.
Achieving print speeds of more than 1,600 feet per minute for a single line, seven-digit print message, these printers are fast. The Plus Series can accommodate a wide range of print formats including data matrix and QR codes printed up to 20mm high, with a considerable throw distance of 20mm and up to 45mm when requiring a “tall” print message style. Ink colors include yellow, blue and black.
Linx 8900 Plus Series printhead cleaning intervals can go as long as six weeks, and service intervals of up to 12 months.
UV LED Curing System Meets Coding Challenges
The Squid UV LED Curing System from Squid Ink (squidink.com) offers accurate and consistent UV curing across a variety of commercial and industrial applications. The new system features improved power output, a new-generation dual controller that increases application flexibility by using two separate trigger inputs, and increased safety measures. The Gen 3 controller uses an encoder to power the lamps on and off as the conveyor runs or stops, avoiding possible conveyor spot burn and reducing lamp wear.
The Gen 3 is capable of curing ink in a 20mm x 80mm illumination area. The system features an advanced LED module with CHIP integrated technology to provide consistent luminance, resulting in a reliably cured product every time. The stability of UV LED technology makes the output of electricity predictable and stable, avoiding problems associated with conventional halogen heat lamp drying. The Gen 3 system offers instant-on/instant-off performance, eliminating warm up or cool-down times and streamlining your operation. Squid UV LED curing is environmentally friendly, eliminating mercury bulbs, VOCs and providing employees with a safer workplace.
UV technology provides an efficient way of curing ink: The integrated air cooling system lowers the unit’s operating temperature to extend machine life while reducing maintenance costs. Squid UV curing systems claim to use about 75 percent less energy than typical UV arc lamp curing.
Coding with Molecular Traceability
Videojet Industries recently launched a new way to offer peace of mind for product security and authenticity—a traceable molecular ink called SigNature. We asked Sherry Washburn, Videojet Business Unit Manager – Supplies, to tell us what makes it unique for coding and marking applications.
What does the new SigNature molecular ink do that differs from others on the market?
Videojet: A black continuous inkjet ink, V4221M molecular ink contains Applied DNA Sciences’ SigNature molecular tags. These secure and unique tags are added to each individual V4221M Smart Cartidge to facilitate product and packaging traceability. This enables a forensic certification of origin, authenticity, chain of custody, quality, ethics, integrity and sustainability. The molecular ink is designed for use with the Videojet 1860M continuous inkjet printer. Benefits include a unique, secure and durable tag; forensic-level authentication; non-MEK, non-
How is the molecular tag work traced?
Videojet: Through the use of sophisticated TAG, TEST and TRACK tools from Applied DNA Sciences, verification of product integrity is made possible at points throughout the supply chain with tag readers. Products and packages tagged with V4221M molecular ink can be incorporated into Applied DNA Sciences’ CertainT platform, designed to troubleshoot, monitor and elevate supply and distribution chain integrity. Full forensic authentication is available at Applied DNA Science’s laboratory in Stony Brook, NY.
Did Videojet create the technology in-house?
Videojet: As the result of a strategic partnership, Videojet and Applied DNA Sciences together developed unique security coding and marking solutions like co-branded molecular-tagged inks, such as V4221M, and the 1860M continuous inkjet printer. The relationship creates the potential to tag countless commercial items, all of which are candidates for Applied DNA Sciences’ CertainT platform, to enable traceability throughout the entire supply chain.
Which packaging materials is SigNature designed for?
Videojet: This ink delivers excellent adhesion to a wide variety of substrates including aluminum, glass, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyester, steel and nylon. It is also well-suited for odor-sensitive applications.
Is there anything else Packaging Strategies readers should know about SigNature?
Videojet: V4221M molecular ink meets the requirements of Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) model legislation, including 94/62/EC. It also meets the requirements of the RoHS 2 Directive 2011/65/EU and Directive (EU) 2015/863, and is in compliance with EU Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 as amended.