Coding Challenges in the Food Industry – The Benefits of Using Continuous Ink Jet

September 20, 2021 CIJ, Coding, Linx

The last 18 months have been a challenging time for food producers in New Zealand and worldwide to say the least. Global supply chains are being tested in a way they never have before and the looming threat of further lockdowns is always there.  Nevertheless, the importance of the printed information provided to the consumer when a product reaches the shelf has not changed.  There are significant consequences for dates and codes that do not meet the required standard and should a food recall be required, it’s crucial that the codes are accurate and to standard.

Why choose CIJ over other coding technologies?

For food producers, CIJ print technology offers a range of benefits that can’t be achieved by other coding methods. One advantage is the high speeds CIJ coders can run at when printing codes with limited data, such as those typical to the food industry like batch numbers and best before dates. This ensures your production line is never held up by a printer running slower than your production capacity, whilst maintaining the quality and legibility that your coding requires. Even for applications requiring very small characters, CIJ coders deliver high speed, precision printing.

As CIJ printing is non-contact, the nozzle will never come into contact with the print surface. This means that even for products where the surface crinkles or bends, a CIJ coder will achieve excellent print results. Non-contact printing is a particularly useful feature for food producers coding onto delicate food items such as eggs, where even the slightest pressure from a printer can damage the product.

The incredibly quick rate which CIJ ink dries offers another benefit to food producers, as this allows your products to be handled or stacked right off the line without the risk of smudging or erasing that comes with other printing methods. When dealing with foods that are highly perishable, this gives you the added benefit of being able to move them out of your facilities and onto the shelf quicker.

What should you consider when purchasing a CIJ printer?

We recommend you take the time to consider the following four factors for your coding application. The team here at Reynolds Group will also assist you through this process so you can be sure you’re investing in the right solution for your coding application:

  • Substrate

    What are the different materials you need to print on and what is the most suitable ink for the application?
    With CIJ technology it’s easy to point the printhead at a new substrate and begin coding without requiring the careful mounting and setup often needed with other technologies. Saving you extra time and costs if you’re looking to print onto multiple substrates or move the printer between multiple lines.
    CIJ coders also have a very wide range of ink types available, allowing you to print onto the widest possible variety of substrates. Other inkjet technologies don’t have this same range of ink types which limits the number of substrates they can be used on.

  • Line speed

    It’s important to ensure the printer can keep up with your line speed.  If you’re expecting production to increase in the future, it’s a good idea to factor this in now, as a future proof investment will save you buying again when you expand your production.
    CIJ coders make a great choice for food producers as they are capable of printing at very high speeds when printing a limited amount of data, such as many of the typical codes in the food industry like batch numbers and best before dates.

  • Factory environment

    This is crucial to consider for food coding. You need to take into account what environment you’ll be printing in and how this will affect the quality of the print. Greasy surfaces can have a big impact on print quality and readability as can plastic films and the cooking process.
    High IP rated CIJ’s are available for use in wet and dusty environments, and with appropriate protections such as positive air pressure can be used in environments where other inkjet technologies struggle.

  • Budget

    Be sure to keep reliability top of mind when investing in a CIJ coder and consider the entire cost of ownership. It’s best not to only factor in the initial price of the printer alone – cheaper models are often less reliable and as everyone knows a breakdown never happens at a good time.

Why is the Linx 8900 a good choice for the food industry?

The Linx 8900 range (Link to 8900 range) has an IP55 rating as standard and up to IP65 on the 8940, for the most demanding environments, making it an excellent choice for the food industry.

The Linx 8900 range also delivers high print quality and exceptional reliability. Not only that, but the simple, touch screen interface make them incredibly user friendly and built-in mistake proofing helps to keep uptime at a maximum.

Touch screens are solvent and alcohol resistant so they can be operated while wearing plastic or rubber gloves, and operators can use hand sanitisers to stay healthy and still operate the printer.

Touch screen with rubber glove

Reynolds Group’s Proven Experience

Reynolds Group’s proven experience of delivering CIJ coders to the NZ Food industry for over 30 years means you can rest assured that your coding investment is in safe hands. Combined with our exceptional 24/7 nationwide service and support, you can expect reliable production, improved output and maximised uptime with your Linx CIJ coder.

View the full range of Linx CIJ printers ➤

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