Date and Batch Code Printing
With a range of technologies available, we can help you find the right machine for printing date codes, batch numbers and other variable data on your product or packaging.
Continuous Inkjet Printing
Continuous inkjet (CIJ) is an established, and versatile, technology for date and batch code printing across food, FMCG, industrial and medical industries. CIJ offers high-speed printing, excellent print adhesion and reliability over long hours of operation. The extensive range of standard, coloured and specialist inks means that can be printed on nearly any substrate and in the toughest of production environments. As well as standard black or coloured inks, you can also print with thermochromic (colour-change) inks, sterilisation-resistant inks, low VOC inks and even food-safe inks for when the print comes into direct contact with your product.
Setting up your date code ‘messages’ or ‘labels’ can be made easy by creating pre-programmed formats, customisable layouts and automatic Use By or Best Before date calculations. You can create and store 100s of messages and the flexible password protection system can control user access to prevent unauthorised changes being made to your date codes.
If your coding takes place in a refrigerated environment, the heated print head maintains consistent print quality by minimising the impact of the temperature on the ink. An IP65 rating also means that your printers can withstand wet or dusty production environments.
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Thermal Inkjet Printing
Thermal inkjet is a cartridge-based alternative to CIJ for high-resolution coding onto cartons and sleeves. The growing range of available inks mean that TIJ is now suitable for printing onto a wider variety of substrates, including plastic, foil, film and even metal. With a similar touchscreen menu system to alphaJET CIJ printers, you have lots of flexibility for creating and storing date code messages. For date code printing, you would typically need just one print head, but you can add additional print heads for also printing bar codes, 2D codes or more detailed product information.
You can install a thermal inkjet printer on your conveyor or in other packaging machinery. It is also the most popular printer choice for use with our sleeve and carton coding machines, for accurate date, batch or barcode print placement on flat-form packaging.
Thermal Transfer Overprinting (TTO)
Thermal transfer overprinters are ideal for printing onto flexible packaging or labels, often integrated into flow-wrapping machinery. The ribbon-based printing gives you a bold high-resolution code. An advantage of thermal transfer is that you can print a larger amount of information, with the bigger print area. As well as printing error-free date codes you can also print barcodes, graphics and ingredients details.
There are a number of different ribbon types available for different coloured print or adhesion on trickier substrates.
We can supply our sleeve and carton feeding machines with a thermal transfer printer for date code, linear barcode and 2D code printing on flat-form packaging (sleeves, cartons, pouches).
Sleeve and Carton Coding
A sleeve and carton feeder (you can also feed pouches or other flat-form packs) gives you a way to print date codes quickly and accurately away from main production. Some of the biggest food manufacturing companies in the UK, use our carton feeding machines for accurate date-coding on cardboard sleeves for ready meal or other prepared food packs. Equally, carton feeders give you a way to automate date coding if you have not yet got other automation in place.
Throughput depends on pack size but you can expect to be able to code around 150-200 packs per minute, with reliably accurate print placement.
udaFORMAXX sleeve and carton feeders are designed to accommodate more than one printer, printer and vision system or even a label applicator. Some manufacturers use the standalone machines for printing a date code and applying a label in one pass.