The increase of product fraud and the demand for complete traceability oblige producers of industrial products to mark their products uniquely. But not only each product needs to be marked with special information e.g. lot number, best before date, technical information, graphics or fill quantity. All products, including their packaging, must be marked individually for traceability of the producing process.
Product marking can be done by several kinds of sign technology like laser, engraving, inkjet printer, thermal transfer printer, label printer or stamping.
Laser printing or inkjet printing are the most used marking and coding technology in the industry. Both methods are non-contact systems where form and shape of products are not important. Laser printing needs a product surface which changes its color by heating.
But not all products have a surface that changes its color by heating. For example 2D codes printed by a laser cannot be read by a scanner. Therefore laser printing is not as popular in the complete industrial product marking as the continuous inkjet technology.
In this marking process the fast and non-contact continuous inkjet technology meets all requirements of ink-jet printing within the marking and coding industry. It is necessary that the marking can be done on all carriers. With an inkjet printer all kinds of print information can be done like texts, barcodes, graphics or databases.
Usually the inkjet printer is integrated into the producing process directly at the assembly line. The range of application of product marking systems with inkjet printers reaches from egg printing with food grade inks, printing best before dates on packaging or even marking black cables with white contrast inks. If solvent based inks are used, the print is smudge-proof after one second on glass, plastic or metal.
Text, symbols, barcodes and DataMatrix formats can be printed onto a wide variety of materials in the industry. Modern product marking system use high speed inkjet printers filled with a wide variety of inks rich in contrast and excellent adhesion. In order to avoid product fraud, several industries, for example the pharmaceutical industry, even uses invisible inks.