Bouteilles de vin sur une ligne de production prêtes à être étiquetées

Industrial Marking & Coding Options for Production Lines

When marking productions on a production line, there are 2 major solutions: labeling or printing. Each of these identification solutions offer manual and automatic options.

1st option: labeling as production marking solution

When identifying productions, you have 2 main options: labeling and printing. Stick-on labels can be applied directly to products (ex: a bottle of ketchup) or on the box that hold them (e.g.: box of 12 bottles of ketchup). This solution is more expensive than printing. Then, why choose it?

In some sectors, labeling is a choice, whereas in others, it is a requirement. For example, major retail food chains require labels for a very simple reason: boxes are oven beige and coding printed directly on the box reduces contrast. Poor contrast reduces code readability leading to delays because of multiple product digitization. To obtain better contrast, there is nothing quite like black ink on the white background of a stick-on label.

Labels are also very present in the food sector: consumers don't really appreciate tomatoes marked with ink, even if the ink is completely safe!

1. Manual labeling on products & packaging

In order to choose the label option while saving on marking costs, manual labeling is a possibility. To do so, an operator must first print labels with the help of a thermal printing system and then apply them one by one to products or packaging.

Rolls of stick-on labels for marking products and packaging

It is also possible to add an automatic part to the process by winding a lot of pre-printed labels and inserting them into a semi-automatic applicator that will facilitate label positioning and make it more efficient.

Automatic printing and labeling are good way to address workforce shortages facing many factories today: operator workloads are reduced and their work environments are improved.

2. Automatic labeling on the production line

When passing from manual labeling to automatic labeling, there are lots of options available: it is possible to create artificial intelligence along the production line that will allow equipment to recognize the product in front of them, know which message to print on the label and even determine how to apply it to the product, all without manual intervention.

Automatic detection is made possible thanks to programmable logic controllers (PLC) that send signals to Print & Apply image viewers. This kind of equipment can be integrated perfectly onto any production line.

Automatic printing and labeling are a good way to address workforce shortages facing many factories today: operator workloads are reduced and their work environments are improved.

Automatic label applying printer on production line

2nd option: printing for product coding on production line

In order to identify products with a logo or useful codes for follow-up, many industries are still using industrial paint markers or even cans of paint and stencils. These solutions are usually chosen when products are quite large, for example in the construction industry (cement, steel beams, etc.).

However, manual and automatic marking solutions are available for all sectors.

1. Manual printing on products and packaging

To continue manual printing on large-scale products while eliminating the risk of error, portable EBS inkjet marking devices are unique on the market with their 1.38'' or 2.25'' printing, depending on the model. Portable electronic stamps are also very practical and can be easily moved to any work site.

These two products are very efficient event on porous surfaces such as cement. Their major advantage is ensuring a uniform brand image and complete technical data from one product to another, no matter who the operator is.

Data printing on cement cylinder with a portable inkjet system

2. Integrating automatic printing into the production line

When we move to automated printing on a production line, various options are available and there are personalized marking solutions for each sector. As a general rule, we can proceed in the same way for automated labeling, meaning that the production line can be smart and manage product printing autonomously with the help of automatons and image viewers.

  • High resolution printing systems and Drop on demand options are ideal for slow printing that requires large characters, for example on cardboard boxes.
  • Continuous inkjet systems are designed for speed and high-volume production with quick dry for a wide number of products. As the name suggests, it is preferable to use continuous inkjet printing for uninterrupted production because the system takes a long time to reset when stopped and non-use can lead to increased maintenance costs.

Automatic printing for integrated marking and coding on a production line

If your product is not porous, you will need solvent-based ink because oil or water-based ink will not dry.

What to consider before choosing an identification system?

The key to avoiding marking and coding equipment breakdowns is to choose, install and use the materials properly. Each identification solution is unique and must be personalized to fit a specific business.

Here are a few criteria to consider to ensure your product is 100% adapted to your needs:

  • Environment (damp, dry, cold, hot, etc.)
  • Speed of production line
  • Production line configurations
  • Data to print (date, lot number, logo, barcodes, etc.)
  • Character height for desired message
  • Computer system presently in place
  • Specific needs of operators
  • Quick dry time (for plastic bottles, yogurt containers, lipstick tubes, etc.)
  • Strict regulations in a particular sector (cosmetics, food, etc.)
  • Turnover rate of products to print
  • Maintenance costs
  • Production costs
  • Shape of productions (ink jetting or direct printing required)
  • Equipment replacement or new purchases
  • Product surfaces (porous or not, material type, etc.)

These criteria have great impact on your equipment. For example, if your product is non-porous (juice bottles, yogurt containers), you will need solvent-based ink because oil or water-based ink will not dry. Each product needs the right identification equipment!

With DMS, you will benefit from turnkey marking and coding solutions for your production line.

Let us help you

When you call on us, we will evaluate your production facility. We will test the printing of your message and your production line operations. You can rest assured that your printing or labeling solutions are fluid, quick and efficient. We will also take the time to consider your opinion and your past experience with other similar devices in order to offer products that will truly satisfy you.

Installation takes just one day and we also propose equipment training for your employees. They will know how to create a message, modify a message, clean the device or change the ink.

With DMS, you will benefit from turnkey marking and coding solutions for your production line.

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