February 15, 2022 

Squid Ink Printing Technology Overview

Squid Ink Printing Technology Overview

Headquartered in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Squid Ink has steadily been making a name for itself since its inception in 1991. Created by an entrepreneur named Bill Hoagland, who networked his way into formulating and packaging DOD ink, Squid Ink’s initial company goal was to make the best aftermarket ink on the market and sell it at a fraction of the price as its competitors. In the company’s earliest days, Hoagland created his ink formulas in the same place he ran all of Squid Ink’s operations: in his garage.

Within just a few years, Squid Ink not only grew out of Hoagland’s garage and into a legitimate facility, but it also began developing printing systems. Over time, Squid Ink’s product catalog gradually grew from a few ink formulas to a wide range of marking technologies, including some of the best high-resolution case coders available today. 

In this Squid Ink printing technology overview, we take a look at the features and specifications of some of the company’s current coding options. 

An Overview of Squid Ink Printing Technology

Although Squid Ink may not have the global name recognition of a company like Videojet or Markem-Imaje, its quality ink formulas and printing hardware have nevertheless given the company a solid reputation throughout the industry. 

Below, we detail some of the technologies that Squid Ink currently offers, including inkjet fluids, continuous inkjet printers, drop-on-demand printers, and high-resolution case coders.

Inkjet Fluids

First, we begin our technology overview by highlighting what Squid Ink first began producing: its ink formulas. Squid Ink’s current ink options can be broken down into four categories. 

  • High-resolution case coder/piezoelectric fluids
  • Drop-on-demand (DOD) replacement fluids
  • Continuous inkjet (CIJ) fluids
  • Mineral oil-free (MOF) inks (designed to comply with the European Union’s food safety regulations)

In each of these categories, Squid Ink promotes its formulas as 100% compatible with some of the most popular OEM systems on the market, including those made by Videojet, Markem-Imaje, Hitachi, and Linx. It also isn’t necessary to flush the printers when switching from OEM to Squid Ink printing fluids—users only need to install the new container and carry on printing as usual. 

In the chart below, we take a brief look at the characteristics of each Squid Ink fluid category.

Hi-Res FluidsDOD FluidsCIJ FluidsMOF Fluids
- Available in 500 ml and 1-liter bottles
- High-quality dispersions, resins and dyes create vibrant, crisp graphics
- Compatible with machines from Alpha-Dot, Diagraph, FoxJet, Markem-Imaje, Videojet, and others
- Available in 1-liter bottles and 5-gallon pails
- The inks are self-cleaning, thereby reducing printhead maintenance needs
- Compatible with machines from Diagraph, IIMAK, Loveshaw, Matthews, and Videojet
- Available in 1-quart bottles and 5-gallon pails
- Make-up is filtered three times with filters that are as fine as 0.4 microns.
- Compatible with machines from Citronix, Domino, Hitachi, InkJet, Inc., Linx, Videojet, and others
- Free of ingredients deemed hazardous by the European Union
- Increased barcode scannability due to darker print
- Available in black, blue, green, and red

Continuous Inkjet Printers

Squid Ink carries three different small character CIJ printer models:

  • The Streamline 5
  • The JetStream
  • The JetStream Sonic

Each of these models offers operational specs that are largely in line with the average mid-market CIJ printer. For instance, the Streamline 5 and Jetstream can print up to 1,000 feet/minute (305m/mi), while the JetStream Sonic is slightly faster at 1,200 feet/minute (365m/min). With these speeds, each model is capable of creating up to five lines of print on porous and non-porous materials. 

However, Squid Ink’s CIJ printers have a slightly more impressive environmental resistance. All three models can operate in a temperature range of 32°F–140°F (0°C–60°C) and a relative humidity range of 30–95%. Additional benefits include:

  • Self-cleaning printheads.
  • Sleek interior designs that are well-suited for quick cleanings.
  • 10.1” touchscreen interfaces. 
  • Remote operation via a wireless tablet (available with Streamline 5).

Although these qualities are a bit below the industry’s best mid-market CIJ printers, Squid Ink’s CIJ line is nonetheless a solid choice for your standard coding applications.

Drop-On-Demand Printers

Squid Ink carries four different drop-on-demand printers:

  • The SQ/2 large character DOD printer
  • The SQ/2 Scorpion large character DOD printer
  • The Vector XII large character DOD printer
  • The Viper thermal inkjet printer

First, let’s take a look at the capabilities of the large character printers. All of Squid Ink’s large character DOD models can print on porous and non-porous substrates. However, their physical printing specifications do greatly differ from one another. To simplify the comparison, we have created a table that touches upon the important specifications of each large character model.

Printer SpecSQ/2SQ/2 ScorpionVector XII
Max Printing Speed200 feet per minute300 feet per minute300 feet per minute
Max Character Length Per Message61 characters128 characters128 characters
Max Lines of Print6 lines6 lines12 lines
Max Printheads2 printheads2 printheads6 printheads
Max Memory Slots64 messages128 messages128 messages

As for the Viper, this thermal inkjet printer offers several impressive qualities, including compatibility with porous and non-porous substrates. The Viper is a production line TIJ model that packs a punch, even if it can’t print very large codes. Let’s take a look at its specs:

  • Internal Memory: 2 GB
  • Maximum Print Height: 0.5”
  • Print Speeds: Up to 197 feet per minute at 300 DPI standard and 787 feet per minute at 300 DPI optional 
  • Vertical Print Resolution: 300-600 DPI
  • Horizontal Print Resolution: 50-900 DPI

High-Resolution Case Coders

Squid Ink currently carries eight high-resolution case coder models. For the sake of brevity, we will focus on the printer that we recently called one of the best high-resolution case coders available today: The CoPilot 500 Turbo.

Capable of creating codes up to 2.8” tall with a single printhead (5.6” with two), the CoPilot 500 Turbo may now be five years old, but it’s still an excellent hi-resolution model. When using oil-based ink, the CoPilot 500 Turbo offers print speeds of up to 205 feet per minute, and when using solvent-based ink, it tops out at 150 feet per minute. The system’s print resolutions max out at 185 DPI when printing vertically and reach 205 DPI when the machine is used horizontally. 

With an internal storage capacity of 4GB, the CoPilot 500 Turbo is a great choice for completing most standard hi-resolution applications.

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C&M Digest Team

The C&M Digest Team is composed of experts from across the coding and marking world. Comprised of ink developers, hardware veterans, and engineers, our News Team delivers informed coverage that is always free from brand bias.

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