By Chris Pangallo, Product Manager -- Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) & Laser Meat packers face challenges in maintaining compliance with coding regulations not found in other production environments. As in many industries, traceability and expiration dates are required for their products, but successfully executing this coding is a challenge because many meat packing plants run 24/7 in an extremely cold, damp and humid environment. This combination of environmental factors is hard on all marking and coding equipment. One solution for meat packing plants is Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printing. CIJ is a non-contact, indelible, high speed coding solution, perfect for applying variable data onto packaged meats. What is not so perfect for CIJ is the environment found in refrigerated meat plants. But we have good news . There are options available with Linx CIJ printers that address the specific challenges found in the harsh meat plant production environment. The following options are recommended to keep your printers and your production running with maximum uptime. Stainless Steel Enclosure The Linx model 5900 and 7900 printers have clamshell design cold-drawn stainless steel enclosures. The printers are available with IP55 or IP65 ratings, and are suitable for wash-down environments that are part of overall hygiene standards required in meat packaging. Hermetically Sealed, Potted Printhead Linx Technologies introduced to the marketplace and continue to manufacture fully sealed printheads. Sealed printheads mean there is no need to worry about moisture getting into the electronics. Additionally, the printheads have no moving parts and no manual adjustments need to be made, significantly reducing downtime. Temperature is measured as part of the printers’ dynamic viscosity control for high quality print in extreme environments. Positive Air Option CIJ technology uses solvent based ink which is jetted through a nozzle and recycled through a gutter in the printhead (the “continuous” in Continuous Ink Jet). With the positive air option, 8 psi of air is continuously blown through the printhead. The positive air keeps debris, contaminants and condensation from being introduced into the ink delivery system, significantly reducing the need for printhead cleaning and maximizing uptime. In addition positive air minimizes humidity build up in the printhead, which helps to maintain the purity of the ink and the quality of the coding mark. Specialty Inks to Penetrate Condensation Linx has designed ink formulations for damp surfaces that can be applied through a thin layer of condensation. The mark is extremely water resistant once dry, and offers excellent adhesion to a wide variety of substrates such as plastic films, jars, chip board and PET containers. Air Curtain Option Extreme condensation can occur in some production lines. If there is no option to relocate a coding marking station to a less damp area of production, an air knife is recommended. Linx offers an air curtain kit designed to mount to the printhead, blowing a narrow, blade shaped line of air to remove excess fluids from the products. This air knife is positioned immediately before the marking point to deliver optimal ink adhesion. Want a full review of which coding technologies make the cut in meat processing environments? Download our latest whitepaper for details. The Linx model 5900 and 7900 printers have clamshell design cold-drawn stainless steel enclosures. The printers are available with IP55 or IP65 ratings, and are suitable for wash-down environments that are part of overall hygiene standards required in meat packaging.