How to Print on Cardboard Boxes: Expiration Dates & Lot Codes

Learning how to print on cardboard boxes with the right hardware can maximize your production line’s uptime and boost your manufacturing output.

To keep an industrial operation moving efficiently, proper organization is a must. This is especially true for companies that are required to label both their products and their shipping containers with the appropriate expiration dates and lot codes. In these situations, knowing how to print on cardboard boxes reliably with high-quality codes every time is essential. It could mean the difference between long periods of productivity and periodic workflow stoppages.

To meet full regulations and ensure traceability of your products, it’s crucial that the labels are well-placed and starkly legible. If not, you might be forced to shut down your million-dollar production line. Don’t let corner-cutting or inadequate technology undermine your real potential.

In order to maximize uptime, read on about how to print on cardboard boxes in an efficient manner and how to avoid some of the common complications that can arise during the process.

Common Cardboard Printing Challenges and Their Solutions

Don’t let poor printing capacity compromise the tracking and tracing of your boxes. You shouldn’t have to second-guess your command of inventory management.

As with any printing task, to determine the best operations and hardware choices, we must consider the unique properties of the base material. As a porous, brown surface, cardboard is susceptible to the following printing issues:

An Extra-Absorbent Surface

Cardboard is a more porous material than something like plastic or glass. Due to this increased absorbency, ink tends to sink deeper into the surface than with other materials. Accordingly, printing A-Grade-level codes directly onto cardboard is nearly impossible. However, if correctly tested and verified, a reliable printer will still be able to print legible codes that meet ISO/IEC standards.

Reduced Scannability

When compared to white label printing, the contrast between brown cardboard and applied black ink tops out at a significantly lower rate: 600 dpi for the former versus 200 dpi for the latter. To overcome this contrast deficit, production heads need to use the ideal printer to apply a clean, clearly marked lot code. This crisp labeling will accentuate the difference between the lightness of the material and the darkness of the ink, effectively neutralizing the dpi difference.

Print Mark Inconsistency

While not unique to cardboard printing itself, poor ink distribution can compound with the above-mentioned dpi deficiency to create major readability issues on cardboard packaging. The key to avoiding this problem is consistent pressure from your printer onto the material surface. A high-quality, well-adjusted printer will ensure evenly applied symbols on an ongoing basis, helping you avoid delays and shutdowns.

Don’t let your $10,000 printer shut down your $1,000,000 production line.

The Right Hardware for Your Cardboard Printing Job

To tackle each of the challenges outlined above, InkJet, Inc. has two lines of products that are perfect for cardboard printing:

The Precision Series Case Coding Inkjet Printers

Available in outputs of both 18- and 72-millimeters, Precision Series high-resolution printers specialize in printing on porous surfaces. Reliably adept at encoding cardboard and other porous materials, these piezo-style printers enable companies to place consistently clear expiration dates and lot codes on a wide variety of challenging surfaces. And, believe it or not, you can administer ink refills to these workhorse machines while they are still printing, optimizing your production line’s uptime to its fullest potential.

The Anser Line Thermal Inkjet Printers

Coming in a range of compact and cost-effective models, InkJet, Inc.’s Anser series is another great option for your production line. Using cartridge-based thermal inkjet printing technology, the Anser series utilizes exclusive ink selections that are perfect for porous and semi-porous encoding tasks. With an easy-to-use LCD screen interface that continually provides status updates on all printing tasks, you can depend on these machines to deliver reliable results over and over. And it’s available as a convenient handheld device as well.

Further Guidance on How to Print on Cardboard Boxes

To keep your industrial operations running smoothly, it’s important that you are armed with both the right information and the right tools for the job. Here at InkJet, Inc., we pride ourselves on our in-depth customer service and our ability to pinpoint the best machine for your unique needs. We will work with you every step of the way to make sure that you find the perfect printer and ink combination that is correctly calibrated to maximize your line’s uptime.

For more information on how to print on cardboard boxes or how to improve another aspect of your assembly line, contact us online today or call (800) 280-3245. Let us handle the testing and validation processes so you can feel entirely confident in the integrity of your line.

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