Along with markings like barcodes and product batch codes, date stamps are fundamental to creating product traceability. Usually taking the form of either “packaged-by” or “best-by” dates, date stamps tell consumers and retailers how long products are safe to use and when they should be disposed of. Due to this important function, federal and state regulators often require date stamps to appear on a variety of products including:
Of course, compliance with these regulations doesn’t end with the initial date application—the codes need to remain legible until the end of the product life cycle.
To create durable, long-lasting date stamps, companies across the manufacturing spectrum commonly utilize continuous inkjet printers for their reliability, versatility, and industrial speed capabilities. These qualities are the reason CIJ printers are largely favored over traditional date stamping technologies like hot stamping. However, for CIJ machines to complete any labeling application, they must be equipped with the right ink to match the substrate.
If you need ink for date stamp CIJ applications, here’s how to find the best formula to meet your operational needs.
The Importance of Matching the Ink to the Substrate
Date stamps come in many different forms and are placed on everything from juice bottles to cleaning supplies. Along with this product variety comes a large assortment of packaging types and materials ranging from metal cans to plastic bottles and everything in between. Regardless of what type of packaging a company is using, however, it’s essential to use a substrate-compatible ink formula for the application.
All materials have unique surface properties that affect ink drying times. Cardboard packaging, for example, is a porous substrate, meaning it allows liquid to sink into its surface. Conversely, metal and hard plastic are non-porous substrates, meaning that ink will stay above the surface at all times. For a date code to remain legible on any substrate, it must be applied with an ink that is formulated to work the material’s porosity.
Generally speaking, porous and nonporous materials respond well to two different types of ink:
- Porous Substrates Work Well With Water-Based Formulas: Water-based inks naturally sink into absorbent materials. When applied to a porous substrate like lumber, water-based inks offer high levels of adherence and durability, resulting in long-lasting codes.
- Non-Porous Substrates Work Well With Solvent-Based Formulas: Although water-based inks are great for porous substrates, they inevitably create messy markings when applied to non-porous materials. When water-based inks are unable to sink into a substrate, they tend to run down the material’s surface prior to fully drying. This results in labels that are either hard to read or completely illegible.
To avoid this problem, companies can use quick-drying solvent-based inks that are designed to leave sharp images on non-porous surfaces.
Of course, substrate compatibility isn’t the only quality one needs to consider when searching for CIJ inks—there are many operational factors to consider as well.
How To Find the Best Ink for Your Operational Needs
Today’s printing marketplace is filled with a wide variety of inks for date stamp applications. Not only are these formulas made to be compatible with certain substrates, but they also account for a number of other factors such as:
- Extreme environmental conditions
- Post-processing needs
- Protection against distinct elements
For example, InkJet, Inc.’s portfolio of industrial marking inks is made up of dozens of formulas that are built for highly specific applications. Our current offerings include:
- OS420, a black solvent-based ink that is designed for printing on returnable glass bottles during cold fill applications. The printed code is rub-resistant seconds after coding, allowing users to create defect-free codes that can last for a significant time. The formula is also compatible with plastic bottles and metal cans.
- DC411, another black solvent-based ink that is formulated for excellent adhesion to plastics. Offering a dry time of just one second, DC411 is ideal for flexible packaging and film, as well as glass, metal, and miscellaneous plastic applications. Further, the formula is able to withstand the retort process for 30 minutes, making it ideal for placing date stamps on canned food products.
- DC1039, a yellow solvent-based ink that is designed for wire and cable printing. The yellow color enables all applied date labels to appear sharp and legible, while the formula provides high levels of anti transfer and rub resistance.
Beyond these options, we also offer custom ink creation services and a range of inks ready for printing on:
Need Ink for Date Stamp Applications? InkJet, Inc. Is Here To Help
Date stamps are one of the most frequently required product codes across the packaging world. If you’re compelled to place date stamps onto a product line, you can’t risk using the wrong ink for the job.
For over 30 years, the team here at InkJet, Inc. has helped companies of all industries to improve their coding applications. Whether you need a new ink formula for a specific product or new marking hardware to improve your line, InkJet, Inc. is here to help. Call today to learn how.
To find ink for date stamp applications, contact us online today or call 1(800) 280-3245.