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Are you a business trying to figure out what coding machines are right for your products? Or are you just looking to make a change?
Don't worry — but know it can be difficult to figure out what machinery is right for you.
We're here to help go through the difference between handheld and inline inkjet coders, their different uses, and which one is a better fit for your business.
What Do You Need Coding Machines For?
Businesses use coding machines to print important information on many different types of products and packaging.
Some of the information printed on products using coding machines are the following:
best before and expiration dates
Logos and promotional messages
The information printed using coding machines is very important for labeling and informational purposes. That information also helps give information to consumers, which is especially important for food and personal care items.
They also help your products meet legal requirements for mass-produced products. So, it is very important to use the correct type of coding machine for your product.
What Are Inkjet Coders?
Inkjet coders print on packaging using ink. They make it easier so you can change the information on the device before a printing mistake is made or if the information needs to be updated.
There are also laser coding machines, which uses an electrostatic digital printing process.
Laser coders can only be used for certain types of packaging.
Laser printing is considered a continuous process without any pausing, inkjet may pause every few lines.
What Is a Handheld Inkjet Coder?
Inkjet coders are also available in handheld form. A handheld inkjet coder is more flexible and makes it easier for inkjet coding machines to print on many different types of packaging.
If your business is just starting out, with a small budget and producing a more limited number of items, then a handheld inkjet coder is likely the best fit for your company.
Handheld inkjet coding machines are also best for companies that use human labor, rather than automation.
Handheld inkjet coding machines are better for those companies because they allow for better quality control than inline coding machines.
What Is an Inline Inkjet Coding Machine?
Inkjet coding machines also come in an inline format.
Inline inkjet coding machines are stationary.
Since they don't move, inline inkjet coding machines are better suited to mass production than handheld machines.
Products can move down an assembly line or conveyor belt.
Depending on the machine, an inline inkjet coder can be programmed to print on each product either based on a timer or using a sensor.
What Machine Is Right for You?
Whether you should choose an inline or handheld inkjet coder will mostly depend on what your production volume is.
If you are producing a large amount of the same product, an inline inkjet coding machine is likely a better fit for your needs.
Inline inkjet coding machines are also more useful if you rely on automation, rather than human workers, to print during your production.
However, if you are creating smaller amounts of different products, a handheld inkjet coder is probably a better and more flexible fit.
A handheld coder also may benefit you if your products have unusual packaging. Unusual or elaborate packaging may make it more difficult to print with an inline coding machine.
Doubling Up On Inkjet Coding Machines
You can also have several types of inkjet coding machines.
You can rely on an inline coding machine as your main way of printing on your products. And, you can have a handheld inkjet coder as a backup. That way, you'll be prepared in case of an emergency.
You can also use your backup handheld inkjet coder as part of your quality control protocol. The handheld inkjet coder can be used to make sure every product's packaging is properly printed during the manufacturing process.
Ink, Scale, and Other Factors
There are a few other factors to consider in choosing what kind of inkjet coding machine is right for you.
You should also make sure that whatever type of machine you choose to purchase, that you choose a device suited for the packaging your company uses.
For example, if you use a porous packaging material, like uncoated cardboard or paper, you should make sure that the device you use is capable of printing properly on that material.
An inkjet coding machine that would be able to print on porous packaging material would use water-based ink, although you should always check the specifications of the inkjet coding machine that you choose.
Some ink may not correctly print on porous surfaces. Other types of ink may not print properly on non-porous surfaces. Some examples of non-porous surfaces include metal, coated cardboard and paper, and glass.
An inkjet coding machine that you could use to print on non-porous surfaces would usually use an ink that is solvent-based, but again you should check the specification of each inkjet coding machine.
Planning for Your Future and Contingencies
It's also important to consider whether or not you plan to scale up your business in the near future. That way, you can plan for your manufacturing needs down the line.
Additionally, because the ink used by inkjet coding machines will eventually need to be replaced, you should consider the price of the ink used in the inkjet coding machine that you choose.
You should make sure you take it into consideration when you create your budget.
"Coding" It Close
Determining whether inkjet coder machines or inline coder machines are right for your manufacturing needs depends on a number of factors.
You have to consider what your products are, the size of your business, and the number of employees you have.
It's really important to consider all of those factors when you purchase your machinery so that you don't run into problems later on.
If you have concerns, or want advice about your inkjet coders needs, contact us!
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