Continuous Inkjet, also referred to as CIJ technology is one of two wildly popular and dominant technologies that are used today for industrial coding. CIJ is popular because it’s fast, low-maintenance, and very reliable. The advantages of CIJ printing technology are that it can be used on virtually any packaging material, on curved surfaces, and it adheres well to every material upon which it is used.
CIJ is one of the oldest and still most reliable printing technology to date. Whenever reliability, speed, accuracy, and flexibility are called for in printing, it’s the go-to tech.
How does CIJ work?
The basic process of CIJ printing begins when a stream of the appropriate ink is broken down into several miniscule droplets inside an electrically charged chamber. The electrical pulse comes from a non-conducting source like ceramic or a quartz crystal.
A vibration is applied to force the charged ink droplets to pass through an electrostatic field found between its deflector plates. The speed and charge applied helps with the proper positioning of the ink droplets that drop onto the substrate and stick to it. No part of the print head touches the substrate. Excess ink (where applicable) is recirculated and returned and stored in the appropriate tank to be used again.
Up to around 120,000 miniscule ink droplets, measuring around half the diameter of a single human hair, are propelled onto the substrate per second. That is one of the reasons it’s fast, efficient, versatile, and why the ink adheres so well to a wide range of surfaces.
The base solvent used in the CIJ process also allows the ink to dry quickly on production lines, which is crucial to productivity and quality. CIJ printers are capable of printing codes on almost any surface regardless of its shape, size, texture, or porosity.
How is CIJ used?
The primary purpose CIJ printing is used is for imprinting information on certain products like dates, batch codes, times, text, logos, and product names. It’s used to provide data on the product/package that can be used for tracing when needed and for compliance regarding mandatory laws and regulations.
CIJ printers can run for several hours before any servicing is necessary, which is better than other printing technologies. It’s a cost-effective solution that offers several diverse printing options for a wide variety of industries. Keeping costs down without affecting quality is important in the business world.
Where is CIJ used?
Industries that use CIJ printing technology include food and beverage, electronics, cosmetics, automobile construction, and numerous other industries where marking and coding is required by the government and other regulatory entities. CIJ has proven itself to be the simplest, most cost-effective and inexpensive, and reliable solution for several industrial applications since it can be used for coding and marking virtually any material, at any orientation or speed, and onto nearly any material regardless of the size, texture, or shape.
Continuous Inkjet printing technology has evolved and will continue to do so in the coming years. The basic premise of the printing process will likely remain the same, which means it will maintain its cost-effective and efficient status for years to come. It will continue to be popular and will likely expand its capabilities to more industries.
This article was contributed by Erryn Deane from Needham Ink. They manufacture and provide various types of industrial ink.