Direct printing onto your product can potentially save costs up to 10x per year over printing onto a label.  But which technology should you be using to print your barcodes and text?We analyzed four different printing technologies from FoxJet to find out which works best with certain applications.

CIJ – Continuous Inkjet Printers

Small printers that are easy to maintain, use, and move.  Any printer from the FoxJet Linx Series are fast, no contact, and can print on a lot of different surfaces.

Strengths:

  • Built to run. These printers are great in high production environments.  As technology has evolved, they have become more necessary to applications where a printer is not required daily.
  • Most have a wide variety of ink colors and formulations (MEK, alcohol, acetone, etc.) that can be used to print on almost any surface.
  • Can print very small characters at a very high rate of speed.
  • Great throw distance.  Normally 1/8” to a 1/4”, this printer can work at almost an inch.

Keep in mind:

  • Initial cost can be higher than other solutions
  • Requires the use of ink and solvent.

Ideal for use in: Printing onto small individual products like bottles, and when portability is important to your printing needs.

TIJ – Thermal Inkjet

The three printers from FoxJet’s SoloSeries have a wide range of abilities, including up to 10 lines of alphanumeric text as well as logos and symbols.

Strengths:

  • Can print up to 600x 600 dpi
  • Since it is a cartridge-based system, it performs well in applications where the system will sit dormant for days at a time.
  • Inks that can print on porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Produces readable bar codes

Keep in mind:

  • To print larger than ½”, printheads are “stitched” together.  They rarely line up perfectly, so large characters or graphics may be slightly skewed at the ½” intervals.
  • Requires the head(s) to be very close to the substrate to be printed.

Ideal for use in: Lower volume applications and applications where the system will be idle for lengthy periods of time.

DOD – Drop On Demand

The 9x and 18x printheads from the Valve InkJet systems can print ½”-2” text. It also allows you to quickly develop messages with built in printing codes.

Strengths:

  • Inexpensive way to get a code on a product
  • Simple technology makes it easy to maintain and service
  • Inks that can print on porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Good throw distance (1/4” to ½”)

Keep in mind:

  • Prints dot matrix characters, which are less aesthetically appealing
  • Low resolution – not capable of printing quality graphics or logos

Ideal for use: When you just need to get a code on a box or product, and aren’t concerned about aesthetics.

Large Character – typically Trident or Xaar print engines

Reliable, flexible printing for bigger jobs and saving money in the long run.

Strengths:

  • High resolution printing – graphics and logos look great
  • Most offer a print window of 2”-4” high
  • Produces readable bar codes

Keep in mind:

  • Most systems are for porous applications
  • Printhead must be less than a quarter-inch from substrate

Ideal for use in: Porous-only applications, when high resolution is a requirement.

If you have further questions about the best printer for your marking and coding application, visit our websitecontact us, or schedule a site needs analysis today.

View a variety of FoxJet Marking & Coding videos to see these various printing technologies in action.

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