Inkjet Direct Part Marking System for Metal & Plastic

Read here to find out how inkjet direct part marking systems allow companies to meet marking and traceability requirements.
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Direct part marking is an essential process for many of today’s top manufacturing operations. Especially useful in the fields of automotive production and aerospace engineering, direct part marking allows companies to develop full supply chain traceability through the use of machine-readable barcodes and data matrices. 

With the aid of traceable markings, manufacturers can source all of the materials used to develop their parts as well as maintain a detailed log of where their parts are currently located. By implementing these measures, companies can ensure product quality, comply with industry standards/federal regulations, and be fully prepared for potentially complicated issues like safety recalls.

To perform direct part marking on metal and plastic, companies can utilize a variety of methods including laser coding, dot peen marking, and electrochemical etching. Amongst these options, inkjet printers are particularly popular. Reliable, versatile, and available at a lower initial investment compared to other direct part marking systems, inkjet printers help manufacturers keep products up-to-code while maintaining efficient production speeds.


Here’s what an inkjet direct part marking system from InkJet, Inc. can do for you.

Different barcodes

The Importance of Direct Part Marking

In today’s globalized economy, supply chains are often long, complicated, and travel across international boundaries. For industries like aerospace engineering and automotive production, raw materials and completed parts often come from a multitude of sources but end up being used in the same vehicle. If any of these individual components have problems, it can put the entire apparatus at risk. 

Consequently, aerospace and automotive manufacturers need to follow strict traceability guidelines to ensure the quality of their products and be prepared for the possibility of a recall.

Depending on the specific standards, companies may need to mark their parts with:

  • Barcodes

  • 2D data matrices

  • Lot codes

  • Serial numbers

  • Manufacturer title

  • Model designation

  • Type certificate number

  • Production certificate number

To place these markings onto products, companies often turn to inkjet printers—here’s why:

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How Inkjet Printers Improve Direct Part Marking

For direct part marking to work, each code needs to be highly legible either to the human eye or to a machine scanner (depending on the code in question). Without consistent code readability, supply chain issues may arise, leading to the possibility of company fines, recalls, and reputation damages. To avoid these problems, manufacturers must use reliable marking machines that meet the high-speed needs of modern production lines. That’s where inkjet printers come in.

CIJ printer with marking table accessory

First introduced to the market in the 1950s, inkjet printers are now essential tools for industrial coding. For metal and plastic applications, in particular, both continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers and thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are the go-to hardware options. Dependable and capable of producing high-quality markings, these machines are well-suited for direct metal and plastic marking, but they slightly differ in mechanical qualities. 

For example, continuous inkjet printers, like the DuraCode Touchscreen and DuraCode Keyboard, are capable of:

  • High-speed printing reaching above 300 meters per minute.

  • Uninterrupted 24/7 coding for maximum uptime.

  • Resisting environmental factors through their IP-graded external construction.

  • Coding curved surfaces due to their contact-free piezo printheads.

Thermal inkjet printers, like the Anser U2 Pro-S and Anser U2 SmartOne, offer:

Anser U2 Pro-S TIJ
  • High-resolution coding, reaching 600 x 300 DPI.

  • Lightweight construction, generally around five pounds.

  • Easy mobility, allowing users to quickly change line positioning.

  • Zero-maintenance operation, eliminating repair costs.

Cutting-edge TIJ printers like the Anser X1 also provide users with more features than traditional TIJ models can offer. With an Anser X1, line operators benefit from:

Anser X1 TIJ
  • CIJ-level printing speeds, up to 300 meters per minute. 

  • Large-image coding, reaching a max 2-inch print height.

  • Dual-line capabilities, as the X1 can simultaneously control two different production lines.

  • IP66-rated controller, which ensures complete water and dust ingress protection.

  • Wide operating temperature, ranging from 0°- 40° Celsius (32°-104° Fahrenheit).

  • High humidity resistance, ranging from 0% - 90% (non-condensing).

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Why You Need Application-Specific Ink

Another reason why inkjet printers make great direct part marking systems is that they are compatible with a diverse portfolio of ink formulas. All substrates have different material qualities that impact whether an ink formula can successfully adhere to the surface or not. Given how many different metals and plastics exist on the market today, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of which formulas will work best for a given substrate.

To help companies avoid potential marking failures, InkJet, Inc. offers a range of formula options that work with a variety of materials. 

For metal applications, we carry formulas that are compatible with:

  • Aluminum

  • Steel

  • Copper

  • Tin

  • Iron

For plastic applications, our formulas are compatible with:

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Polypropylene (PP)

  • High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Various flexible plastics

We also offer custom ink services if our stock options and specialty formulas can’t match every client’s needs. 

InkJet, Inc. ink

Need an Inkjet Direct Part Marking System? InkJet, Inc. Can Help

Factory Workers

For over thirty years, InkJet, Inc. has helped industrial operations find the equipment they need to optimize production—and we can help you too. Our inkjet direct part marking systems utilize the latest technology and ink formulas to ensure that your products are code-compliant and completely traceable. Whether you need a powerhouse CIJ or a highly mobile TIJ, our hardware offerings will help you achieve your part marking goals.

For more information on inkjet direct part marking systems, contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at 1(800) 280-3245.

 

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