For decades, batch coding has been an integral part of manufacturing, packaging, and trade operations around the world, as it plays a key role in creating front-to-back traceability across the stages of production, processing, distribution, and sales in sectors such as pharmaceutical development and agricultural production. Furthermore, batch codes are an essential element of the recall process, as they enable companies to pinpoint individual products throughout the supply chain.
Given these important roles, batch codes, along with other forms of variable data, such as date codes and serial numbers, are frequently required to appear on product packaging. To apply these markings on industrial amounts of products, packaging companies and manufacturers utilize automated batch coding machines, including, most commonly, continuous inkjet (CIJ) and thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers.
Both CIJ and TIJ printers are ideal for batch coding applications for a few reasons. For one, they are compatible with a wide range of packaging materials, including plastic, metal, cardboard, glass, and wood. In addition, they are non-contact coding technologies, meaning they can mark surfaces without having to physically touch them. Compared to contact batch coding machines like thermal transfer printers, non-contact batch coding machines are capable of printing at higher speeds and generally require less maintenance.
If you’re interested in picking up a new batch coding machine this year, here are some of the most exciting models expected to come out in 2022.
For those who need high-speed capabilities, continuous inkjet printers are the way to go. CIJ printers can mark materials moving at hundreds of meters per minute and are the preferred batch coding option for high-volume production lines. Used in beverage canning facilities, drug packaging plants, and meat and dairy processing centers, CIJ printers enable operators to create code-compliant product packaging with high levels of efficiency.
According to our coding and marking industry insiders, consumers can expect new CIJ releases from the following companies in 2022:
Italian printer manufacturer Zanasi has been selling CIJ systems since 1984, and this year, sources claim that it’s gearing up to add another model into its portfolio. In addition, rumors say that the company is also planning to overhaul its software solution, Orkestra, as well.
Zanasi has made very few improvements to Orkestra in the last five years, while competitors like Videojet have made waves with their own software solutions. However, updating the software has seemingly proven to be sluggish, as insiders detail that lethargic progress on the software update has delayed the new CIJ system’s release for some time.
While specific details about the new printer are sparse, insiders tell of the ability to change nozzle size by simply adjusting the nozzle plate. Although this sounds great in theory, most CIJ users know that adjusting nozzles is both an art and a science. Even when systems claim to be self-adjusting, there are many factors when ink is involved.
We’ll just have to wait and see if Zanasi’s new CIJ system can truly streamline the nozzle-adjustment process.
Matthews Marking, a company that contracts others to make its machines, is also rumored to release a new CIJ model this year. The exciting part of this rumor is that this system has been in development for more than five years and is expected to perform better than its current offering that competes against the CIJ system, the Axian IQ, to allow users to make the most of Matthews Marking’s powerful software platform, MPERIA.
MPERIA is a multi-use solution that offers several diverse features, including the ability to control printheads, vision systems, actuators, scales, and barcode readers.
Sometime this year, InkJet, Inc. is expected to introduce an addition to its DuraCode CIJ line. We recently recognized the current DuraCode options (the DuraCode Keyboard and DuraCode Touchscreen) as two of the best mid-market CIJ printers for industrial applications. Now, our sources tell us that there will be a third DuraCode out by year’s end, and this new model is rumored to be compatible with InkJet, Inc.’s entire line of pigmented formulas.
In addition to the expanded ink compatibility, the new DuraCode model is expected to have updated core and printhead designs and thus is likely to have slightly better performance specs than the existing DuraCode options as well.
Although thermal inkjet printers often aren’t able to match the printing speeds of CIJ printers, they offer several advantages that CIJ printers cannot. For instance, they are relatively small and easy to move, as they only weigh around five to 10 pounds. They’re also much less expensive than CIJ printers on average, making them more accessible to smaller-sized companies. Finally, they can produce markings at resolutions up to 600 x 600 DPI, allowing operators to execute barcode and data matrix applications in addition to batch coding.
If you’re planning on buying a new TIJ batch coding machine in 2022, start your search with these new models:
Exclusively available through AMI in the United States, the Ultra is the latest printer model from TIJ manufacturer Zenjet. Built specifically for harsh environments, the Zenjet Ultra is made from stainless steel and is built with an IP65 enclosure, making it ideal for facilities that are commonly plagued by dust and excessive humidity.
Beyond its rugged structure, the Zenjet Ultra also offers solid printing specifications, including a 180 m/min. top printing speed and 600 DPI maximum resolution.
Need a handheld printer for your batch coding applications? The newly released Sojet V1H is the right model for you. Weighing only five pounds, the V1H is as easy to move as it is to operate.
The printer itself is compatible with solvent-based and water-based ink formulas, making it a great choice for those who need to code both porous and non-porous ink cartridges. Capable of producing four lines of text at a time, the Sojet V1H enables users to mark nearly any surface with highly legible codes and markings.
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