April 28, 2022 

Choosing the Best Glass Bottle Batch Coding Machine to Improve Operational Efficiency

Glass bottle batch coding machine line

For more than 3,000 years, glass bottles have played an integral role in how humans store essential goods such as food, medicine, and beverages. Ever since the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians pioneered the art of glassmaking in 1,500 BCE, countless civilizations have utilized glass bottles to improve their storage practices, simplify product transportation, and form decorative art pieces. 

For most of recorded history, however, glassmaking was a time-consuming, artisanal process that greatly restricted bottle availability. This process changed dramatically in the 18th and 19th centuries when scientists gained a deeper understanding of the pertinent chemical processes, allowing business-minded industrialists to combine science and modern machinery to revolutionize the glassmaking industry and make glass bottles readily accessible to everyone. 

Today, manufacturers from around the world produce more than 690 billion glass containers every year. Used to house everything from dairy products to chemical solutions, glass bottles are as valuable now as they’ve ever been. Just as in the 18th and 19th centuries, people haven’t stopped finding new ways to improve glass production. 

For example, to comply with increasingly strict marking standards, companies of all industries have placed glass bottle batch coding machines on their production lines. Capable of placing traceable codes and markings on packages moving at hundreds of meters per minute, batch coding technologies like thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers, continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers, and laser marking systems allow businesses to meet marking requirements without sacrificing productivity. 

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most important elements to consider when picking a batch glass bottle batch coding machine.

Consider Your Output Needs

Glass bottles can hold everything from pharmaceuticals and beer to cosmetics. As such, many diverse industries with varying marking needs use glass bottles as packaging. After all, the batch coding needs of a small craft brewery are vastly different from those of a major cosmetics company or a large brewing company such as Anheuser-Busch. 

To meet the marking needs of different enterprises, the industrial printing market offers several batch coding options that vary in size and operational specifications. Today’s most popular options include:

  • Thermal inkjet printers, which weigh only a few pounds and are ideal for smaller operations that don’t require the industrial coding speeds offered by other batch coding technologies.
  • Continuous inkjet printers, which are built for production line coding and can mark glass bottles moving at hundreds of meters per minute.
  • Laser marking systems, which use concentrated beams of light to mark glass bottles at similar speeds to those of continuous inkjet printers. 

If your company uses a slow-moving production line or no production line at all, a TIJ printer will likely be your best option. Most TIJ printers offer printing speeds around 120-150 m/min, making them suitable for intermittent production line applications or handheld printing tasks. Moreover, businesses can purchase many TIJ models for around $2,000, making them a cost-effective option for upstart companies. 

For companies with larger product outputs, CIJ printers and laser marking systems are better choices. Although some of the latest TIJ models, such as the Anser X1, are capable of high-speed marking, CIJ and laser systems are better suited for industrial glass bottle coding tasks.

Choose the Glass Bottle Batch Coding Machine that Complements Your Filling Unit

Those involved in the beverage industry are likely already aware of how many different ways a bottle can be filled. Machines like sanitary overflow fillers, tabletop overflow fillers, pressure fillers, and gravity fillers not only fill bottles differently but also greatly vary in size. Consequently, it’s important to utilize a glass bottle batch coding machine that can adequately complement the liquid filling unit. 

For example, sanitary overflow fillers are naturally large and designed to be part of large production lines. Facilities that use them frequently have enough space on their production lines to incorporate larger batch coding machinery such as CO2 laser systems to complete their marking applications. 

On the other hand, tabletop overflow fillers are designed for portability rather than efficiency. Those who use tabletop units may not have moving production lines, which opens up the path for smaller batch coding options such as TIJ printers. For these setups, high-speed batch coding options are likely unnecessary, and—as in the case of laser marking units—incompatible due to space constraints brought by equipment such as fume extractors.

Given how many filling line configurations exist today, we recommend speaking with an expert before investing in a batch coding unit.

Fully Understand Your Budget 

Just as all batch coding types have different specialties, they also have different cost factors, most notably in the upfront costs associated with TIJ, CIJ, and laser marking options. While the average TIJ system costs around $1,500-$2,000, a mid-market CIJ printer costs around $8,000, and a top-of-the-line model can cost up to $20,000. Laser systems often cost even more upfront. 

Companies must also consider more than just upfront costs. TIJ, CIJ, and laser systems also greatly vary in their:

  • Ongoing consumable costs (e.g. TIJ and CIJ ink cartridges, which laser systems don’t require).
  • Professional servicing needs (CIJ printers require maintenance at least once a year, while TIJ printers and laser systems require less attention and are therefore better suited for usage-based preventative maintenance approaches).
  • Installation-associated costs (e.g TIJ printers require little or no installation accommodations, while laser systems require several safety elements)

Due to these variations, we suggest seeking out a professional to help you perform a cost analysis of your different hardware options.

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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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