Product marking gives sellers and buyers information about the characteristics of the product or the packaging. These could be made by symbols, pictograms, graphics, logos, text or numbers.
Product marking guidelines
Which product in which way has to be marked is defined by several guidelines.
There are numerous ways to mark and code products. Products can be marked with information like the product number (the European Article Number or the Universal Product Code), displayed as bar code as well as a symbol for the filling procedure (a printed e) next to the filling volume. This declares that the product has been filled according to the guidelines of the European prepackaging guidelines.
A CE symbol confirms that the product can be traded within the European Community. Furthermore products are marked with danger symbols, information to the brimfull volume (displayed as framed number which describes the filling volume of a packaging), symbols for materials with food quality or the recycling method.
Depending on the product additional information has to be made from the manufacturer for seller and buyer.
In the European Union are guidelines for cosmetics that cosmetic products have to be marked. This information includes the sell-by date, eat-by date, time of usage after opening, cosmetic ingredients list as well as the lot number, which gives information about the production line during manufacture.
Foods have to be marked with a lot number to inform about the exact production line during manufacture. Furthermore on foods are marks like the treat-capability-mark, which gives information to the route of transport of animal products or the nutrition facts.
Electronic devices need numerous labels for example a GS for certified security, RoHS, TÜV, VDE or UL, PSE, ETSI, FCC etc.
Besides such labels/symbols information to the magnitude and nature of input voltage, maximum voltage and sometimes the power frequency are named. Manufacturer can give additional information to the product with several further test symbols.
Product marking techniques
Product marking can be made with different techniques. Typical product marking techniques are: inkjet marking with small character inkjet printers, laser marking, labeling, colored markings and thermotransfer printing.
Marking with inkjet printers
Marking with inkjet printers, also known as CIJ printers, is mostly done with solvent based ink, which is printed contactless on the product. The generated marking is a so called dot font, because the ink is divided into single dots already in the print head. The desired character is built by charging the ink dots with electric charge and deflect them afterwards more or less depending on the charge.
By the contactless print process all kinds of surfaces can be printed – no matter if round, corrugated or moistly. Also colored markings are possible with the huge amount of inks. See also: LEIBINGER inkjet printers.