Seasonal Coding Tips By Chris Pangallo, Product Manager – Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) and Laser Many manufacturers in food processing and consumer goods experience seasonal fluctuations in demand. As a result, their production must ramp up and down throughout the course of the year. Should their product require variable coding such as batch codes and date codes, these companies often make use of Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) coding technology. Reliable Coding Companies that need reliability in their product coding both in peak and off peak production often turn to Linx CIJ printers. All Linx CIJ coding solutions feature a hermetically sealed and potted simple design ink jet printhead that cleans itself. Linx customers experience greater uptime as they do not have to align the ink jet or constantly clean their printer for best print quality. Linx CIJ printers are offered in stainless steel IP55 or IP65 rated enclosures suitable for wash-down and dusty environments. Linx also offers a broad range of fluids to ensure quality marks on a variety of substrates. The following coding tips will help you plan for the challenges of seasonal production: Ramping Up Encoding If product output needs to increase, the production lines may be running at higher, variable speeds. To ensure quality marks it is recommended to provide a speed signal to your CIJ printer. The printer will adjust drop output to match the line speed, keeping the message from stretching out. Line speed measurement is commonly achieved with the addition of an encoder. The encoder mounts to your conveyor and the rotation of the encoder wheel signals the printer as to how fast the production line is moving so that printing output can be adjusted on the fly. In addition to preventing message stretch, the signal will also keep the message from contracting when the production line is moving at a slower rate. Software Upgrades If a customer has standard CIJ printers and finds that its production line speed exceeds the printer’s capability, do not panic. Linx offers software upgrades that customers can install themselves. The software upgrade for a higher performance message type is achieved with a Configuration Code. When entered into the printer higher speed printing is enabled. Consumables ordering When planning increased productivity, don’t forget to take inventory of your coding consumables. Place appropriate orders for ink & solvent and arrange for Preventative Maintenance filter changes based on expected usage. Ramping Down Decommissioning Linx customers have a great benefit with the automatic print head cleaning feature known as FullFlush™. At the end of printing, simply hit the Stop button. The printer will engage a solenoid to shut off ink to the nozzle and then flush the printhead and its tubing out – through both nozzle and gutter- with solvent. This leaves the printhead clean and dry and ready to start when next needed. Planning for a few weeks of downtime If there is no need for CIJ printing for a few weeks, many customers keep the printer in the production area and will start the unit in the morning and turn it off at night once or twice a week. This keeps the fluids from settling within the ink delivery system and ensures a good start up when they need it. Planning for downtime that extends beyond 6 weeks If production completely shuts down for an extended period of 6 weeks or more, decommissioning of the CIJ printer should be considered. Decommissioning involves removal of fluids from the printer and a change of filters. This eliminates the concern of solvent evaporation or ink thickening within the ink delivery system while your printer is in storage. It is clear that cyclical production provides many challenges, but all of these challenges can be addressed head on with the innovations in the Linx CIJ product line. At Diagraph, we are dedicated in solving your coding and labeling challenges. Diagraph has been assisting customers for over 120 years improving production line efficiencies with simple, reliable, cost-effective coding and labeling solutions. Visit us at www.diagraph.com or contact us at 800.722.1125.