Process improvement examples:
Hot printer / thermal printer comparison

Both hot printers and thermal printers perform printing by placing movable type or the print head in contact with the target. These methods have been commonly used at manufacturing sites and can be installed on automation machines.
This section focuses on the differences between these two contact-type printing methods and non-contact printing method like inkjet printers. The advantages of non-contact printing are explained below.

Problems with contact-type printers

Contact-type printers use ink ribbons and printing plates. If the ink ribbon jams, the production line must be stopped temporarily. Recovery requires time as the head temperature needs to be heated up, causing significant production downtime. In addition, plate wear and contact pressure must be properly managed.
On the other hand, inkjet printers eliminate the need to use ink ribbons and plates, thereby eliminating all associated problems. Cleaning the print head is as easy as pressing a button. As a result, the daily maintenance required is drastically reduced.

Comparing contact-type printers to inkjet printers

Contact-type printers Inkjet printers
Cost
  • Operating costs are high due to ink ribbons, plate replacement, and other factors.
  • Operating costs can be reduced, and waste such as used ink ribbons can be avoided.
Productivity
  • Waiting for the plates to heat or cool during replacement takes time.
  • Production may stop due to problems such as the ribbon becoming jammed.
  • Tooling changes are not necessary.
Quality
  • Character blurring can occur due to variations in contact pressure and plate wear.
  • Non-contact printing ensures stable print quality.
Management
  • Temperature and contact pressure must be managed and adjusted as needed.
  • Maintenance is easy with one-button automatic cleaning.

Inkjet printer application examples

Printing with pillow-type packaging machines

  • Printing with pillow-type packaging machines
  • KEYENCE inkjet printers are commonly used for inline printing of date and lot codes during packaging process. These printers eliminate problems such as blurred or missing prints, as well as holes on films that are usually caused by the contact method printing like stamping.
    Through built-in sensors and optimization, flawless and clear marking can be achieved. Inkjet printers can be easily installed on both high-speed production lines or packaging machines. When using encoders with the printers, printing speed is automatically adjusted according to film/line speed to ensure stable printing.

    KEYENCE can offer a complete proposals including where to install on your existing equipment, how to attach a guide, and when to trigger printing start signals.

Printing with a rotary packaging machine

  • Printing with a rotary packaging machine
  • Inkjet printers can easily be mounted on the rotary machines that fill pouch containers. By replacing conventional stamp marking with inkjet printing, failures are eliminated such as rubbed print, chipped print, misprints, and packaging damage.

    Feel free to contact KEYENCE for more information. We can help addressing any concerns regarding the printing application whether it's variations in materials being printed or printing speed.

    KEYENCE can offer a complete proposals including where to install on your existing equipment, how to attach a guide, and when to trigger printing start signals.

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