Consumables for Coding Systems

The consumables used for coding systems can have a big impact on the performance of the equipment. Many of these consumable products look the same but are you selecting the right product for optimal performance?

Griffin Rutgers recommends you consider these things when choosing the right consumable products for coding systems.

  • Color

Color changes are easy to accommodate with hot foilthermal transfer and thermal inkjet but they will generally print one color at a time.

  • Foil and ribbon grades

When selecting the grade of foil or ribbon, you need to keep these things in mind:

    • Sharpness of print
    • Operating temperature (lower energy levels increase printhead life on thermal transfer printers)
    • Resistance to abrasion
    • Resistance to chemicals that might come into contact with the code after application
  • Type of thermal transfer ribbon (TTR):
    • Wax ribbons: while these cost less and are usually best when long-term durability is not an issue, they are best for printing on coated or uncoated paper tags and labels
    • Wax/resin ribbons: more expensive but the imprint is more resistant to scratching, smearing and mild chemicals
    • Resin ribbons: the most expensive but the imprint is very durable and resistant to most chemicals
  • Foil and ribbon cores and windings

All coding and marking hot foil tape is inside wound on cores in various widths, usually limited to 122m, 153m or 305m.

Thermal transfer ribbons can be wound with the pigment either inside or outside, depending on the printer make and model. The size of the reel is given by its width and its length and varies depending on the printer make and model and usage.

  • Type and typeholders

When selecting type and typeholders, you need to know the make and model of the coder as well as the particular style of type being used. Typeholders styles of type include:

    • Stick type: sometimes known as ‘type high’ or ‘0.918 inch’
    • T-slot: named because of the profile of the slot
    • Rotary or flickwheel: single line of print, changed by wheel rotation
    • Engraved die or Zinco plate: used to print fixed information, such as a logo.
  • Labels

Labels are available on a roll, sheeted or fan folded. You also need to consider:

    • Label size
    • Number on a sheet or number across the reel / total number on a reel
    • Color
    • Type of paper
    • Type of adhesive
    • Core size
    • Special requirements (Example: to be used as a tamper evident seal)
  • Inks
    • Thermal inkjet inks are selected to give the best performance, especially when drying time and adhesion are important. To choose the right one, you need to understand the required performance.
    • Continuous inkjet (CIJ) inks are formulated to provide a cost-effective alternative to the original manufacturer’s grade.

You can choose what type of inks you use in your equipment as long as you select one that is compatible with the printer and meets the requirements of the application.

Posted in Packaging Resources.