Inkjet Printing on Metal Sheets, Pipes, Foil & More

Metal pipes are commonly used in construction, manufacturing, electronics, etc. In these contexts, they often display codes to ensure traceability, display information, and prevent counterfeiting.

This guide shows what you need to know about metal pipe marking and coding.
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Metal parts and components are used by countless industries, with some of the most common being construction, aerospace, and automotive production. Within these fields and beyond, product codes have become standard, as they help prevent counterfeiting, enable supply chain traceability, and provide consumers with important production data. However, metal marking is not without its unique challenges.  

Metallic surfaces are non-porous, so for codes to be permanent they must be applied with quick-drying solvent-based ink formulas. To further complicate matters, metal production environments are often harsh due to high temperatures, vibration, dust, and the presence of oil or other fluids. Fortunately, InkJet, Inc. has the hardware, ink, and expertise necessary to eliminate the complications often associated with metal marking and help you find the right solution for your unique production environment. 

Here’s how we can help optimize your operation to handle inkjet printing on metal sheets, pipes, foil, and more.

Metal Working Facility

Resist Environmental Complications

Harsh production environments pose some of the biggest challenges to metal marking and coding. Metal extrusion facilities, for example, heat metal to hundreds or thousands of degrees in order to change its form. This process raises the overall temperature of the facility, which can affect the effectiveness of certain ink formulations and even harm the printer itself. 

Other common environmental issues that can impair code effectiveness include:

  • Excessive humidity, which can cause the ink to streak or smudge. 
  • Dust particles, which can enter the printer and damage the printhead or cause adherence issues with the ink.
  • Cutting fluids used during manufacturing, which can also cover the metal surface and adversely affect the ink’s marking ability.

While these elements can complicate the marking process, the right printer and ink combination can account for them and enable companies to create clearly legible markings. 

Open DuraCode CIJ Printer

Choose the Best Printer for Your Unique Operation

InkJet, Inc. offers a variety of printers that are both capable of marking metal and resisting some traditionally difficult environmental issues. For fast, continuously moving production lines, we offer the DuraCode—a continuous inkjet (CIJ) printer capable of 24/7 printing on a variety of substrates. DuraCode printers feature IP55 modular stainless steel construction, indicating that they are resistant to dust, oil, dirt, and other non-corrosive particles. With an operating temperature range of 41-113° F and a max printing speed of 1050 ft/min, DuraCode printers can resist adverse environments and mark products in a reliable manner in even some of the most demanding applications.

Thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are another go-to option for inkjet printing on metal sheets, pipes, foils, etc. TIJ printers are lightweight, mobile, and require little-to-no maintenance. Intuitive to use and easy to move, TIJ printers like the Anser Pro-S offer printing speeds of 394 ft/min, making them a good choice for less demanding intermittent production environments. Newer models like the Anser X1 offer higher printing speeds (~980 ft/min) as well as an IP66 construction that guarantees total dust ingress protection and resistance against high-powered water streams.

CIJ replacement ink bottle

Find the Right Ink for Your Substrates

Having a well-built, reliable printer is only advantageous if you have the right ink for the job. At InkJet, Inc., we have been developing ink for over 30 years, so we understand the unique chemistry behind every ink formula that we provide. We know each ink type’s ideal operating temperature, substrate specialization, and dry time, allowing us to provide each client with the perfect option for their operation.

We provide a number of metal-compatible, solvent-based ink formulas packaged as either chipped bottles for CIJ printers or removable cartridges for TIJ printers. Additionally, we offer specialty inks, including:
 

  • OEM ink alternatives for Videojet®, Markem-Imaje, Domino, and other CIJ printers.
  • Fast-drying CIJ ink for metal applications needs to be touch-dry in seconds, alcohol and heat resistant. 
  • Custom inks that we develop to match your exact specifications.

Inkjet Printing on Metal Sheets Made Simple

As we have seen, metal marking can be a tricky task—the material itself requires specific ink formulas for successful adhesion and workplace environmental issues can cause major complications if unaccounted for. Fortunately, InkJet, Inc. has the supplies and expertise necessary to outfit your operation to meet these challenges. Call today to find the perfect printing solution to meet your metal printing needs.

For more information related to inkjet printing on metal sheets, or any other questions related to printers and ink, contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at 1 (800) 280-3245.

 

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