Five Key Elements to Ensure Optimal Reliability and Long Life in Your Case Coding Ink Jet Printhead By Steve Liker, Product Manager – Large Character Ink Jet Today, many companies take advantage of the benefits of inkjet printing of barcodes, graphics and text directly onto secondary packages. Inkjet printing can cost up to eight times less than labels. At the same time having an inkjet printer on the factory floor allows for greater printing flexibility and requires less space than an inventory of assorted pre-printed secondary packages. Stainless steel construction, automatic maintenance, a repairable design, demonstrated long lifetime and quality ink compatibility are five key elements to look for in an inkjet printhead. 1. Printhead Construction To ensure that your printing system has a durable, industrial design, closely inspect the physical characteristics of the printhead. Printheads typically feature one of two types of orifice plates. Some orifice plates are made of metallic substances like stainless steel while others are made of polyimide plastic films. Trident piezo ink jet printheads use stainless steel orifice plates that can resist the impact of packaging without scratching or breaking. 2. Automatic Maintenance Printhead orifices are routinely clogged by corrugated fibers, sealing glue, factory dust and other pollutants found on the factory floor. Automatic maintenance systems that routinely purge foreign objects like factory dust from the printhead ensure consistent high quality printing performance. This feature simultaneously enhances printhead durability and quality and minimizes the need for manual operator intervention, which in turn minimizes maintenance expenditures and downtime. 3. Repairable Design Another important factor to look for when searching for a durable inkjet printing system is printhead reparability. When the orifice plate on the printhead becomes clogged with debris, does the entire printhead need to be discarded and replaced or can it simply be repaired? Finding a printhead with a repairable design that allows the front orifice plate to be removed, cleaned and reassembled ensures a long life for your printing system and reduces expensive printhead replacement fees. 4. Demonstrated Long Life It is a good idea to ask your ink jet source the demonstrated lifespan of their printhead – in real world application conditions. For example, many Trident printheads are still in operation more than 10 years after they have been installed and have demonstrated capability to last for 300 billion firings per channel . Be sure the printhead in your printer can provide this kind of demonstrated long life. 5. Quality Ink Compatibility Finally, leading inkjet companies create both the inkjet printhead and a specialty ink designed specifically for use in that printhead with maximum compatibility and optimum performance in your printhead. The use of knock-off inks can cause reliability issues and shorten the lifespan of the printhead. Visit www.diagraph.com for a complete line up of our case coding ink jet printers.