Need to print barcodes and other info onto your corrugated cases? At ID Technology, we have many successful installs of case labeling and marking, using our label printer applicators and our FoxJet inkjet systems.
Depending on the customer’s needs, either of these technologies can be a very effective way to ensure that every case is correctly marked before being shipped or palletized.
An additional emerging technology for case marking is to use laser systems, such as our Macsa lasers.
Attempting to use a CO2 laser for generating a quality mark directly to the corrugated material is not usually successful. In order to be able to produce the quality that is needed, an area of laser markable material needs to be applied to the case – this is usually done at the converting plant where the cases are made and the laser material is printed on the case, very much as if it were an ink.
One such material for laser case coding is made by our partner, Datalase.
How Does it Work?
The Datalase material is designed to produce a colour change when activated with a low power CO2 laser. There are two types currently used for case marking, one is a white background that produces a white to black colour change, the other a clear coating on the case, that also produces change to black print.
What Can Be Printed?
The laser receptive coating can be printed with text, graphics and barcodes – really any print format that the laser can be programmed to produce.
How Much Does It Cost?
Like every printing job, the answer to “how much does it cost” is application specific. The costs of the system include the additional cost of having the laser material printed to the cases and the hardware cost of the laser, as well as installation costs and ongoing maintenance (minimal in the case of laser marking systems).
As a general rule, it is fair to say that the cost per finished case is going to be a little higher than hi-resolution inkjet, but less than the applied cost of a barcode label.
What is the Quality Like?
The quality of the finished mark depends on a number of factors such as the consistency of how the laser material is coated onto the case, the smoothness of the case material and the laser settings.
Laser marking can produce high quality barcodes that scan everytime. It is important to note, however, that the contrast of the barcodes is always going to be less than when printing a barcode on a white label. This can degrade the score if your customers are looking for certain ANSI quality levels.
When everything comes together, the quality of the print from a CO2 laser using the laser material can be outstanding.
Why Use Laser Case Marking Instead of Labels or Inkjet?
Here at ID Technology, we sell laser, inkjet and label technology and we are often asked this question.
Which technology you use, depends on your application and what your objects are.
If your customers demand ANSI A or B grade barcodes, the easiest way to achieve this is to use our label printer applicator systems. On the other hand, if your goal is to absolutely minimize the cost of cases, our Foxjet Hi-resolution inkjet sytems might be the solution.
Want to a marking solution that involves no inks or labels to replenish on your line, with as little maintenance or downtime as possible? Our laser system might be just what you need.
The best way to decide what is best is to have one of our specialists evaluate your application, discuss your challenges and goals and work with you to come up with the best solution.
Want to learn more or to get started? Call ID Technology toll free at: 888-438-3242 Option#3 to get in touch with the expert in your area. You are also welcome to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Labeling News