Corrugated paper—better known as cardboard—is one of the most useful materials ever created. By some estimates, nearly 80 percent of the products shipped in the U.S. and EU are packaged in cardboard, and nearly 70 percent of cardboard is recycled. Nearly every one of those boxes has something printed on it to convey various types of information. A shipping box from a parcel delivery service has a badge printed on the bottom certifying that it meets crush requirements. A box filled with packaged food being sent to a grocery retailer may have lot and batch numbers, date of manufacture, and a stock keeping unit (SKU) barcode printed on the side. Pharmaceuticals may be printed with a standardized identifier to enable track and trace in the drug supply chain.
How to print on cardboard boxes with the clarity needed for these purposes is a question with multiple answers. The information that needs printing, the clarity with which it needs to be printed, and the production volume will all help determine what the best corrugated printing methods are.
Printing Challenges in Commercial Carton Production
As primarily a structural material, corrugated paper's main benefit for commercial cartons is its ability to resist being crushed or torn. The printability of cardboard is often a secondary consideration, if one at all. However, it can have serious implications for displaying the critical information needed on commercial cartons.
Corrugated materials are absorbent and can allow ink to penetrate deeply and spread. This can create inconsistencies in print markings that affect overall readability. Corrugated commercial cartons also tend to be a shade of brown, which is a low-contrast background when printing with black ink. None of these issues are likely to pose a significant challenge to the human eye’s ability to read what is printed on a commercial carton. However, these difficulties can impede machine reading of barcodes and overall scannability of a commercial carton, leading to hiccups when shipping the carton.
Corrugated printing methods must use a quality printer that is properly set up on the packing line to ensure that commercial carton labels printed directly onto the cardboard are readable and machine-scannable (grade B barcodes), and that operations are efficiently and reliably carried out.
The Right Corrugated Printing Methods for Commercial Cartons
Overcoming the issues that are inherent to cardboard printing requires corrugated printing methods suited to porous and semi-porous surfaces. Large characters and high-resolution printing are also a plus for clearly legible and machine-readable corrugated printing. There are two main types of printers provided by InkJet, Inc. that offer the corrugated printing methods needed in commercial carton production:
Thermal Inkjet Printers
InkJet, Inc.’s Anser line of thermal inkjet printers is a compact and cost-effective line that enables printing on corrugated paper for the production of commercial cartons. The Anser series can make use of a wide selection of inks made to print clearly on porous and semi-porous surfaces like cardboard. An intuitive user interface allows the creation of custom case labels and barcodes, and these printers can be mounted along the production line to print horizontally on the sides of boxes or vertically to print on their tops.
High-Resolution Case Coding Inkjet Printers
The Precision Series inkjet printers provide a more diverse range of corrugated printing capabilities for commercial carton coding and production. The Precision 72 and Precision 18 printers are production line printers capable of photo resolutions. These piezo printers enable clear printing of case labeling information on the porous and semi-porous surfaces of cardboard product cartons. These high-resolution printers can also handle large tasks like logos and other case brandings.
The use of high-quality equipment is only half of what is needed for corrugated printing methods to be successful. The other half is expert setup and quality, industrial printing inks that print clearly, dry quickly, and can be easily read by both personnel and equipment. InkJet, Inc. can provide knowledge and know-how, alongside reliable equipment, for successful corrugated printing and streamlined commercial carton production.
Expert Guidance for Commercial Carton Printing
It’s vital for commercial carton production to proceed smoothly and without interruption. This is best enabled through the use of the correct corrugated printing methods for labels and logos. Expertise and know-how from those who are highly experienced with printing on cardboard are what set up a production line for long term success. InkJet, Inc. is happy to help develop the corrugated printing method for your commercial cartons that will keep production and logistics flowing smoothly.
To learn more about corrugated printing methods for commercial cartons and finding the ideal equipment for your production line, contact InkJet, Inc. online or call (800) 280-3245. We are happy to develop printing methods for your brand and handle testing and validation so you can have confidence in your commercial carton production.