The most suitable printing methods for each material
Every day, the supply chain handles an infinite number of products destined for the store shelf. Each product is packaged and coded to ensure its protection and correct identification and traceability. The chosen packaging and the marking solution are fundamental decisions, because just as there is a more suitable material to protect each merchandise, there is a more efficient type of printing for each material.
UBS marking systems
Our Thermal Inkjet TJX Series systems, for primary products with water-based, solvent or UVLED inks, and Inkjet APLINK, for secondary products, with oil-based or UVLED (mineral oil-free) inks, offer the best quality print on a wide range of substrates. UBS works on customized solutions to perfectly adapt to customer demands. Printers integrate easily into any production line, print in high resolution and require little maintenance.
Let's review below the most common types of materials in packaging and the most suitable printing methods for each one.
Not sure which printing method is right for your company?
Marking of laminated materials
Plastic laminated materials, such as polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and aluminum foil are the most used materials in stick packs, one of the most common packaging formats among primary products. These are flexible, precisely dosed containers that optimize the use of raw materials and are therefore very thin. In this case, both solvent ink and UVLED are a recommended solution. It should be borne in mind that to prevent the print from being damaged due to lack of drying time during the process, the indicated solution is UVLED ink, since the message is instantly printed and cured, with unbeatable precision.
Printing on cardboard
Cardboard is the raw material for a large number of packages. For thin cardboard used in consumer packaging, the TJX marking (water based if it is porous, solvent or UVLED if it is non-porous) guarantees traceability at high-speed printing required for primary products. In the pharmaceutical industry, the product is encoded with 2D codes on most occasions, something that our TJX Series printers allow thanks to its high-resolution printing.
Porous corrugated cardboard is the most widely used material in the secondary packaging industry. Cardboard boxes are used to pack all kinds of products, and there are several possible marking methods. One of the most widespread is the flexographic, but direct printing is the most practical. High-resolution inkjet with oil-based ink guarantees the best results.
When it comes to satin cardboard, common in confectionery packaging, wine bottle boxes or cosmetic products, direct printing with UVLED ink represents a very important advance in quality, flexibility and cost savings.
Marking on plastic containers
TIJ marking is the most efficient solution for a wide variety of plastic packaging. PET is the main material used in beverage and dairy bottles, as well as in household cleaning product packaging. Our TJX Series Thermal Inkjet ensure quality and long-lasting coding. Happens the same with films, multilayer, coated and thermoformed sheets that are used as barrier materials for aseptic food packaging; and with heat-sealable plastics for four-welded envelopes, with which granulated, liquid or powder products are packaged without precise dosing.
Thermoformed plastic trays are the usual packaging for fresh foods that require controlled temperature preservation. The normal thing for their codification is to apply a label and print the necessary information on it, something that the TIJ system effectively solves.
The Thermal Inkjet is also suitable for marking metal containers for cosmetic and household cleaning products, by coding the plastic caps clearly and permanently, even at high rates. Likewise, it solves operations as delicate as printing on glass vials and ampoules, common in the pharmaceutical industry, even though they must be autoclaved.
In plastic containers marking for the chemical industry, TIJ printing with UVLED ink competes with other primary packaging coding technologies such as laser, CiJ or TTo technology. In addition to the quality of the finish, UVLED curing has such important advantages as ease of installation, savings in energy consumption and the absence of maintenance.
Mastering this clean technology is one of UBS's main differential values. We are manufacturers of all the components of our printing systems, as well as we control software, which allows us to propose solutions that provide competitive advantages to our clients.
UVLED ink printing
Printing with UVLED ink, both in primary and secondary products, represents a great advance in terms of quality and cost optimization. It is the best solution for marking a material as demanding as glass, or the plastic film with which the shrink packs are made. In the trays and boxes of expanded polystyrene (EPS), most used for the conservation and transport of fish, UVLED curing allows direct printing of logos and images with excellent quality.
It is also the most suitable system for coding extruded plastics, as it offers very good contrast, immediate curing and long-lasting marking; and for laminated woods for the furniture industry, due to the associated cost savings.
In cellulose fibers and polymers, the UVLED ink of our Inkjet printers greatly improves the performance of pad printing and flexography for surface marking with logos and images.
Treated metals for the automotive industry are complex surfaces that demand robust coding methods. UVLED ink is usually a good solution, and if the marking must stand external abrasions, our APL Series label print and apply equipment works with special high-resistance plastic materials.
Two-ink inkjet: the APLINK MRX Bicolor printers
For printing on porous surfaces of secondary packaging from the chemical industry that must comply with Reach CLP regulations, UBS has developed APLINK MRX Bicolor printers. They print in two colors, so that they are prepared to mark pictograms, in accordance with European regulations and international standards, which inform about the precautions to be taken when handling merchandise.
Thanks to printer development and label creation software, the MRX Bicolor can combine up to 4 different colors on the same label.
Inkjet for printing on laminated plaster and wooden pallets
One of the industrial applications with the greatest requirement for robustness in marking is laminated plaster, which is widely used in construction. Oil-based inkjet is the best answer. Our APLINK MRX Series incorporate a protection plate for the piezoelectric head, which prevents deterioration and ensures good stability.
Inkjet is also the best solution for marking wooden pallets, traditionally fire-marked with wedges. Direct coding with the APLINK MRX Series allows a faster production speed, no line stops, very simple format changes, much lower power consumption, and low maintenance. In addition, our oil-based inks are free of mineral oils, which contributes to caring for the environment.
Are you working with other materials? Do you need a specific solution that has not been covered in this article? We invite you to contact us, and we will study your case in detail.
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