The Essential Guide to Coding and Marking Machines for Chemical Industry

The Essential Guide to Coding and Marking Machines for Chemical Industry
June 10, 2024 Macklin Tan
chemical industry

Coding and marking are critical processes in the chemical industry. Whether it’s batch numbers, best-before dates, or barcodes, ensuring that these codes are clear, durable, and accurate is needed for compliance, safety, and efficiency.

So, this guide will explore why coding and marking matter in the chemistry industry, how to choose the right technology, and what to consider when selecting a coding and marking machine.

Why Coding and Marking Matters in the Chemical Industry

The chemical sector operates under stringent regulations and standards to ensure safety and traceability. Therefore, here’s why coding and marking are essential in this sector:

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is paramount in the chemical industry, as chemicals often come with strict guidelines set by governmental and international regulatory bodies.

Traceability

With good traceability, companies can track their products throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to the end consumer. This is particularly important in case of recalls or quality control issues.

Safety

Properly marked chemicals provide essential information about their contents and risks. This information includes hazard symbols, handling instructions, and emergency procedures, which are crucial for preventing accidents and ensuring safe usage.

Quality Control

High-quality codes ensure that products are correctly identified and that their quality can be verified at every stage of the production process. This helps in maintain consistency and reliability in product quality.

Read About: The Efficiencies Symbol: Essential Role of Speed in Coding and Marking

Choosing the Right Coding and Marking Technology

Due to the reasons above, choosing the proper coding and marking machines is essential for ensuring transparent, legible, and durable markings on chemical packaging. This decision involves several considerations, including:

Product Surface and Material

Chemical industry products often come in various of packaging types, such as metal cans, rigid plastic containers, glass containers, plastic bags, and corrugated cardboard cartons.

So, each material has unique properties that affect how well it can be marked with a specific type of printing technology.

For example, continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers are versatile and can mark on almost any material, including curved or uneven surfaces. They are ideal for high-speed production lines, handling speeds over 300 meters per minute without downtime.

Overall, CIJ printers are suitable for marking metal, plastic, glass, and cardboard, making them a popular choice in the chemical industry.

In the other example, thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers are more compact and cost-effective but are typically used for slower-speed lines.

They provide high-resolution printing and are excellent for marking on porous surfaces like paper and cardboard. TIJ printers are lightweight and affordable, making them a good option for small-scale operations or intermittent printing needs.

Printing Needs

The specific printing needs of a chemical packaging operation may include the type of information to be printed, such as batch numbers, barcodes, expiry dates, and logos. The complexity and volume of the print jobs also play a role.

To compare, CIJ printers are well-suited for high-volume, continuous printing operations. They can operate 24/7, marking substrates moving at high speeds without frequent maintenance stops.

This makes them ideal for the large-scale chemical industry or manufacturers who need to maintain high productivity and efficiency.

Meanwhile, while slower, TIJ printers offer high-resolution prints and are suitable for detailed, small-scale coding tasks. They are particularly effective for producing clear, crisp text and graphics on packaging.

This makes them a good choice for companies with moderate printing needs and those requiring high-quality prints on porous surfaces.

Production Line Integration

The next thing to consider is that the chosen technology must be compatible with existing line setups and capable of operating in the facility’s specific environmental conditions.. So, choose technologies with good flexibility and minimal downtime.

For flexibility, choose systems that adapt to different line setups and packaging materials. Versatile printers can handle various shapes and substrates, minimizing the need for multiple machines.

Also, look for machines with features that reduce maintenance and downtime. For instance, printers with self-cleaning printheads can minimize blockages and ensure continuous operation.

Durability Requirements

In the chemical industry, the durability of printed codes is also essential, as codes must withstand various environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and exposure to chemicals. This ensures that the information remains readable and scannable.

For example, machines with IP55 or IP66 ratings are designed to withstand dust, water, and other environmental factors. This durability ensures reliable performance even in challenging conditions.

Also, the codes must remain legible throughout the product’s lifecycle. This is especially important for ensuring compliance and traceability. That’s why choosing ink that can withstand harsh environmental factors is crucial.

Read About: Coding and Marking: Ways to Optimize Efficiencies in Every Kinds of Product

Selecting the Right Coding and Marking Machine

Overall, selecting the right coding and marking machine for the chemical industry involves carefully evaluating your needs and production environment. Here are some steps to guide you through the selection process:

Assess Your Production Needs

Begin by assessing your specific production requirements. Determine the volume, speed, and types of products you need to code. This will help you identify the most suitable technology for your operation.

Consider Material Compatibility

Chemical packaging often involves diverse substrates such as metal cans, rigid plastics like PET and HDPE, flexible plastics, paper, and cardboard. So, ensure that the chosen machine can handle the materials you use in your packaging.

Evaluate Durability and Maintenance

Next, look for machines with minimal maintenance requirements and long service intervals. This will help reduce downtime and maintain productivity, as operating environments in the chemical industry can be harsh and fluctuating.

Check for Integration Capabilities

Also, ensure the machine can be easily installed and integrated into your existing production line. However, modern printers nowadays often already come with user-friendly interfaces and can be connected to other production systems seamlessly.

Review Cost of Ownership

While the initial purchase price of the machine is important, the overall cost of ownership should be your primary focus. This includes the cost of consumables, maintenance, and potential downtime.

Seek Expert Advice

Finally, consult with experts to ensure you make an informed decision and choose qualified suppliers. Reputable suppliers can offer valuable insights and recommendations based on your specific needs.

As a takeaway, choosing the right technology and machine for your production line in the chemical industry requires careful consideration. According to your needs, you may choose CIJ as a flexible option. See a complete list of continuous inkjet printers here.

References

https://inkjetinc.com/blogs/default-blog/industries-inkjet-printing-for-chemical-packaging-ij

https://www.industrialprinterservices.co.uk/industries/chemicals-industry/

https://www.linxglobal.com/en/white-papers/coding-marking-solutions-for-the-chemical-manufacturing-industry-white-paper/

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