Innovative Date Coding Machines | InkJet Product Spotlight

Looking for the most innovative date coding machines available today? Click here to learn about some of the best marking machines on the market.

The industrial printing field has always championed mechanical creativity and innovation. The advent of continuous inkjet (CIJ) printing in the 1950s, for example, allowed for new levels of product coding efficiency. When thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers arrived on the market in the 1980s, their small size and affordable price points allowed companies of all sizes to mark their products with clearly legible text and machine-scannable barcodes. 

Today, this tradition of constant innovation is alive and well. Year after year, companies work towards making their machines faster, more reliable, and capable of operating in harsher conditions than ever before. With these developments, manufacturers have continuously redefined what their printers are capable of. 

Here, we take a look at these innovations by examining how hardware designers have improved TIJ date coding machines in recent years. 

Room for Innovation: How Companies Have Improved the TIJ Date Coding Machine

As mentioned above, thermal inkjet printers have been a staple of the industrial printing industry for nearly 40 years. Their sustained popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, including:

  • Compact size and low weight
  • Relatively low upfront cost (compared to alternatives like CIJ and laser marking systems)
  • Intuitive use
  • Easy line integration 
  • Zero-maintenance operation
  • Diverse substrate compatibility (including both porous and non-porous materials, depending on the model)

Thanks to these benefits, TIJ printers have become common throughout industries as diverse as aerospace part development, chemical packaging, and pharmaceutical packaging. They are especially popular in food processing and beverage canning/bottling as well due to their accessible price points and ability to help companies comply with stringent date coding standards

To better serve these industries and others, manufacturers have historically worked to improve  TIJ printers by working on the following areas:

  • Printing Speed: Traditionally, TIJ printers have never been able to compete with the speed of CIJ printers or laser marking systems. For example, older TIJ models would often feature max printing speeds around 100 m/min whereas the average CIJ printer could print at speeds around 300 m/min.
  • DPI Resolution: Simply put, the more dots per inch (DPI) an image possesses, the better it's going to look. However, DPI resolution means much more than that when creating machine-scannable barcodes or data matrices. After all, if a barcode or data matrix isn’t printed at a high enough DPI, it will be rendered completely unscannable.
    While early TIJ printers from the ‘80s weren’t able to create any machine-scannable markings, your average TIJ can now print codes at levels around 600 x 300 DPI or higher—a resolution level that all but guarantees machine-scannability. 
  • Environmental Resistance: Anyone familiar with industrial coding can tell you that production lines can be home to some difficult environmental conditions. Elements like extreme temperatures, dust presence, and excessive humidity can not only impact code appearance but can also damage the printing hardware itself if the machine isn’t adequately protected. 

By improving on these areas and more, today’s TIJ manufacturers have created machines that easily outperform those from the past. To demonstrate, we will take a look at one of the most advanced TIJ printers on the market right now: the Anser X1

The Anser X1: Next Generation TIJ Date Coding Machine

ANSER X1

The Anser X1 is the latest hardware release from TIJ manufacturing company Anser, and it is a great example of innovation in the field. From providing users with CIJ-level printing speeds to offering industry-leading ingress protection, the Anser X1 is a true next-generation date coding machine. 

For a quick summary, let’s look at some of the Anser X1’s major highlights:

  • CIJ-Level Printing Speeds: While most TIJ printers can mark substrates at speeds around 100 m/min, the Anser X1’s max printing speed is three times higher at 300 m/min—a rate that matches many CIJ models. 
  • Dual Line Control: Beyond providing CIJ-level printing speeds, the Anser X1 helps improve coding efficiency with another unique function: dual production line functionality. Unlike most TIJ printers, the Anser X1 is able to control two different production lines simultaneously. This allows companies to instantly double their coding output without the need to invest in additional marking equipment. 
  • High DPI Resolutions: Built with the ability to produce codes up to 600 x 600 DPI, the Anser X1 can create high-quality machine-scannable barcodes in addition to date codes and lot codes. Further, the X1’s two printheads can be stitched together to produce images up to 2” tall, allowing users to perform many large character marking applications as well.
  • Substantial Protection Against Environmental Problems: The Anser X1 comes stock with an ingress protection rating of IP66, meaning that it is fully protected from dust particles as well as blasts of pressurized water. Additionally, the X1 can operate in temperatures ranging from 0 °C – 40  °C (32 °F – 104 °F) and in a relative humidity range of 0% – 90% (non-condensing).
  • Diverse Ink Options: While other TIJ date coder machines may only be compatible with water-based inks, the Anser X1 is able to use both water-based and solvent-based ink formulas. This enables the printer to print on a wide variety of porous and non-porous substrates. For example, by using Anser’s newly released I-S01-1 solvent-based formula in an X1, users are able to create highly-readable text and machine-scannable barcodes on traditionally difficult materials such as aluminum and plastics like PE, PET, and PVC.

These capabilities make the Anser X1 one of the most innovative date coding machines available today. Just look at the comparison table below to see how two competitor products (the Meenjet MX-2 and Domino GX-150) shape up against the X1.

Printer Title

Max Printing Speed

Dual Line Compatibility

Max DPI Resolution

Operating Temperature

1" Solvent Print With Single Printhead Capability

Anser X1

300 m/min

600 x 600

0 °C – 40 °C

Meenjet MX-2

70 m/min

600 x 600

0 °C – 45 °C

Domino GX-150

300 m/min

600 x 600

0 °C – 40 °C

Need a New Date Coding Machine? Find the Best Model To Meet Your Needs With the Help of InkJet, Inc. 

Over the last few years, new printers like the Anser X1 have changed the idea of what date coding machines are capable of. If you’re searching for a new marking system and won’t settle for anything but the best, contact InkJet, Inc. today to learn more about how the Anser X1 can improve your operation.

 

For more information on thermal inkjet coders, inks, software, and label applicators contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at 1(800) 280-3245.

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