Packtronic is a market leader in delivering high quality Laser Coding Equipment to a wide range of industries in South Africa and Africa. Firstly, the big question going around is; what is Laser coding, and what makes it different from Inkjet coding.
Most of the items we use or consume contain various codes and markings, from best-before and lot dates to EAN or Data Matrix barcodes to serial batch numbers and various unique identifiers. These markings are there to ensure traceability and product safety, to protect consumers and to avoid counterfeiting. They are regulated by various global and national laws, standards, and guidelines. As manufacturers aim to meet the increased demand for product identification and brand protection, they are implementing coding and marking equipment in their factories and throughout their supply chain.
Laser coding; also known as laser engraving / marking, are being used to code and mark every kind of surface – anything from glass to plastic and even coated metals. Laser coders can permanently mark on a wide range of materials, including metal, rubber, plastic, and packaging foils. The very fine spot size creates excellent quality codes and makes Laser coders ideal for marking very small components, or large amounts of information onto small areas.
How it works: A concentrated laser-beam is deflected by mirrors through a lens to form characters. Laser coding and marking is achieved by removing material or a coating from the product or packaging, or by changing the surface colour of the substrate. In each case, the code is permanent.
On painted cards, the top microns of paint are removed to reveal the contrasting bare card beneath. On plastic, the chemical nature is either changed by the laser to cause a colour change or melted to leave a visible mark. With glass marking, the laser code consists of micro engraving that creates a clear, permanent code but does not compromise the integrity of the packaging. This makes laser marking machines ideal for high print volumes – such as food, drink and pharmaceutical products – where it creates easy traceability.
Inkjet coders on the other side works by jetting a high velocity, continuous stream of ink through a nozzle on products. All Inkjet coders use the same basic technology, but they are not the same in terms of design. The downsides of Inkjet coding is that these systems are only designed for small character marking (just under .5” maximum character height). The larger the font size selected for printing, the slower the actual printing speed.
Another important weakness of this technology includes ink and consumable expenses. Inks developed for this technology tend to be more costly as well. Printing requires the use of two fluids—ink and makeup solution. Over time, the makeup solution tends to evaporate, wasting valuable money. This technology requires absolute viscosity control that in turn requires the extensive use of makeup fluids to maintain vital ink properties. Poor viscosity management will lead to poor print quality.
Flexibility is not an attribute in which Inkjet coders excels. Most controllers are limited to the number of printheads they can control. Many Inkjet coding systems are unable to run more than two printheads simultaneously. Overall, higher maintenance requires a higher level of monitoring to work well in tough environments.
To summarize, Laser coding is one of the most reliable, versatile and cost-efficient marking methods available. Packtronic’s Laser coding equipment ensures extremely low operational costs with accuracy guaranteed. Laser coding gives you 24/7 operations without the need for manual intervention.
So, with less downtime and less maintenance, you’ll benefit from lower costs for all your laser marking and coding requirements.