Inkjet Printing on Rubber Parts and Products | InkJet, Inc.

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Rubber is one of the most important materials used throughout the manufacturing world. Used to produce everything from small rubber bands and doormats to tires, hoses, gaskets, and other important automotive/aerospace hardware, rubber is interwoven into the fabric of our daily lives. Strong, elastic, and versatile, rubber is commonly utilized in fields ranging from chemical production to the construction industry to consumer goods manufacturing. Due to rubber’s strength and application diversity, the material has become increasingly utilized worldwide with annual rubber production has increased by around 6 million tons over the last 20 years.

Along with this growth in rubber production is an increasingly complex supply chain network used to distribute it. Often crossing international borders, these networks rely on traceable codes and markings to ensure that all products and substances are accounted for and shipped to the correct locations. Taking the form of barcodes/QR codes, serial numbers, batch codes, and more, these markings are essential to both supply chain functionality and quality control. As such, companies must apply these codes to all of their products and parts to comply with industry standards and government regulations. For businesses that produce thousands of parts a day, this can seem like a daunting task. 

Fortunately, coding rubber products on an industrial scale isn’t difficult with the right technology. At InkJet, Inc., we help companies complete these applications by providing the hardware and ink necessary to code products in a fast, reliable manner. Here’s how businesses can comply with strict regulations without sacrificing overall efficiency by inkjet printing on rubber parts. 

Sheets of rubber

The Importance of Industrial Coding on Rubber Products

As one of today’s most frequently used industrial materials, rubber parts are found throughout a variety of production fields. For instance, medical beds are situated on rubber wheels, construction vehicles are outfitted with rubber tracks and tires, and the printing/paper industry commonly uses rubber rollers to create graphic pieces. Within these industries and others, rubber-made equipment is absolutely essential, and if any individual parts break down, it can have disastrous effects.

 

Consequently, strict coding regulations exist to ensure part quality and aid in any recalls if a part is proven to be ineffective. The aerospace industry, for example, maintains a variety of guidelines that dictate:

  1. Which codes are needed for a part to enter the supply chain
  2. Where these codes must be located on certain parts
  3. The parameters by which these codes are evaluated (i.e., how to determine whether codes are sufficiently legible/machine-readable)

If any of these guidelines are not met, companies are subject to high fines, recalls, and other expensive, partnership-straining problems. Thankfully, creating long-lasting, regulation-compliant codes isn’t difficult when you have a high-quality inkjet printer.

 

Find an Inkjet Printer That Fits Your Production Line Needs

To meet supply chain requirements and comply with government regulations, manufacturers need to use reliable marking hardware that can stand up against the challenges of industrial rubber marking. These challenges take many forms including:

  • Speed: Modern production lines move at hundreds of feet per minute. Line operators need to use hardware with high-speed capabilities in order to place codes without sacrificing operational efficiency.
  • Heat: Many workplaces utilize high heat to form rubber into the needed product shape. This raises the overall temperature within the facility, possibly affecting the performance of marking hardware. To create long-lasting codes and avoid downtime, companies must use coding hardware that is designed with an operational temperature that meets their needs.
  • Dust: Similar to heat, rubber facilities are often home to flying dust particles. These particles can end up entering unprotected printers to the detriment of the hardware inside. Without hardware fortifications, this can significantly lower code quality and damage the overall marking system.

At InkJet, Inc. we offer a variety of marking options that meet these needs and more. Most often, we recommend a continuous inkjet printer like the DuraCode Touchscreen or, more recently, the innovative Anser X1, a cutting-edge thermal inkjet printer.

The DuraCode is a large printer that is capable of marking substrates 24/7 and offers:

  • High marking speeds, above 1000 feet per minute.
  • Curved surface compatibility, perfect for marking products like tires and tracks.
  • Dust protection enabled by a sturdy, IP-graded industrial structure.
  • Operating temperature of 41-113°F, meeting the needs of many facilities.
  • Mid-operation filter and fluid changes for minimal work time disruptions.

Compared to the DuraCode, the Anser X1 is much more compact as it weighs only around five pounds. However, it still packs a lot of power, providing operators with:

  • CIJ-level printing speeds, reaching just under 1000 feet per minute. 
  • Wide operating temperature, ranging from 32°-104° Fahrenheit.
  • Complete dust protection for the controller, provided by the IP66-graded housing.
  • Large-image coding, reaching a max 2-inch print height.
  • Dual-line capabilities, as the X1 can simultaneously control two different production lines.
DuraCode continuous inkjet printer
InkJet Ink selection

Use an Ink That Works for Your Surfaces

When operating an industrial marking line, your ink choice is just as important as your hardware choice. All ink formulas have different properties that affect how well they adhere to surfaces. Inkjet printing on rubber can be particularly difficult due to the color and elasticity of the material. If one doesn’t use a compatible ink for their rubber substrates, the codes can come out either illegible or vulnerable to touch, heat, and other environmental factors. 

To help companies avoid these problems, InkJet, Inc. offers a number of rubber-compatible formulas, including those with special properties like:

  • High-temperature resistance
  • Alcohol resistance
  • Non-transferability
  • Different colors

If we don’t already carry a formula that fits all of your needs, we also offer custom ink creation services. No matter which properties you require in your ink, InkJet, Inc. has something for you.

Inkjet Printing on Rubber Isn’t Difficult When You Have Expert Help

Do you need to improve your rubber printing operation? With the hardware and ink selection available from InkJet, Inc., you can ensure that all of your rubber parts comply with supply chain policies and government regulations. Call today to learn more.

For more information on inkjet printing on rubber parts and products, contact us today online or call 1(800) 280-3245.

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