All products in the market are assigned a unique code that serves as a way to identify the product. Different products must be assigned different codes, even when they are made by the same company using the same ingredients. For example, vanilla yogurt and strawberry yogurt manufactured by the same company have different codes. These codes are known as UPC or UPC bar codes. UPC stands for Universal Product Code. The code is important as it makes it easy for the distributors and retailers to do the pricing. Common examples of coding methods used by manufacturers include laser coding and inkjet coding.
Laser coding involves making marks on objects using lasers. This technology, unlike the other coding technologies, does not use any ink. Marks are made using a laser beam. The laser marking machine is programmed depending on how the coding needs to be done. Also, the amount of energy used varies depending on the type of material and the type of engraving used. Examples of materials that can be marked using laser include plastic materials, leather, wood, metals, stone and glass. This technology is mostly used by companies manufacturing cylinders, glass, cutlery and jewelry among others.
Inkjet coding technology involves making marks by placing certain amount of ink on objects to give the desired image. The marks are made carefully to ensure that the image derived is accurate, and they can be of any size. Examples of materials that can be marked using the inkjet coding technology include wood, paper, metal, plastic and glass. This technology is mostly applied by companies that manufacture pharmaceutical products.
Comparison between laser coding and inkjet coding
The major difference between laser coding and inkjet coding is that inkjet technology uses ink to mark the products whereas laser coding mark the products by removing or engraving the surface. Therefore, marks through laser coding tend to last for a longer period of time. This would be relevant to manufacturers that deal with long-lasting products such as glass, metal and jewelry. A good example would be the glass beverage containers that are recycled after use.
If you are working at a smaller manufacturing facility and are not making many markings, inkjet coding is a cheaper alternative because it requires less to maintain and use. However, for large manufacturing facilities where a lot of markings need to be done, then laser coding will be more cost-effective.
Inkjet technology requires input in the form of ink while laser technology does not. However, other cost-related variables such as power usage may be higher for laser coding.
Laser coding and inkjet coding are technologies that can be used together to complement the needs of a manufacturing facility, as each technology has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some materials are more easily marked by laser whereas other materials are more responsive to ink.