Packaging Corner: Mark 1-inch characters, codes with one printhead
New thermal ink jet printer marks 1-inch codes on secondary packaging without stacking printheads.
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For faster and easier data capture, many retailers require consumer packaged goods and food and beverage manufacturers to mark 1-inch tall characters and/or bar codes on secondary cases.
Yet, the only way to do that with thermal ink jet technology used to be to stack two 0.5-inch-tall printheads together—a setup that can easily be knocked out of alignment by production line vibration, causing codes or text to be offset.
That’s why Digital Design, a part of Matthews Automation Solutions, developed the Evolution IV with a 1-inch tall thermal ink jet printhead and integrated ink supply in a 128-milliliter cartridge, explains Gary Bach, global director of sales and marketing.
“It allows users to produce a seamless 1-inch mark without needing two printheads and software that stitches the mark together; it also enables printing of multiple lines of text or graphics,” Bach says.
“Further, the larger volume cartridge holds slightly more than three standard 42-milliliter cartridges, which accommodates the larger amount of ink required to produce larger codes,” continues Bach. “It also eliminates the chance of two cartridges supplying two stacked printheads running out of ink at different times.”
The thermal ink jet technology produces crisper codes than dot-matrix printing, as well as virtually eliminates maintenance and repair frequency. The cartridge-based ink supply is also cleaner than other ink delivery systems that could leak or spill onto conveyors.
Engineered to be the quality, value-priced printer, Bach says there are already more than 30,000 Evolution printers worldwide. “The ability to produce a 1-inch mark from a single thermal ink jet cartridge printhead and single ink supply was something our customers asked for.”
For an easy upgrade, the Evolution IV has nearly the same dimensions as the rest of the product line, making it a drop-in replacement for an existing Evolution printer using the same brackets, Bach adds. “Also, like the other Evolution products, the Evolution IV can incorporate multiple printheads managed from a single controller.”
Currently the system marks on porous substrates, but the company is working on developing inks for non-porous marking applications. The Evolution IV can be seen in Digital Design’s Booth 5120 at Pack Expo International, October 14-17.
About the AuthorSara Pearson Specter Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.
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