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Purpose of coding

Why printing is needed?

Printing can be used for a variety of reasons. Some markings are required, while others can be implemented to increase functionality at a manufacturing plant. From traceability to hard expirations, practically every sold good is marked in some way.

Printing expiration dates on food products

Clearly printed expiration dates help consumers make informed decisions and safely use perishable products. By having this information readily available on products the producer limits their liability. Heavily used in the food packaging industry.

Printing lot numbers, and serial numbers

Where and when a product was manufactured can be marked in the form of a code, such that stable quality can be maintained and managed. In the case of a recall, production lots can be identified thanks to these codes. This minimizes recall in the market by pinpointing the cause of the error, and recalling only the applicable models that my be faulty. Good for downline marking in automotive manufacturing.

Printing code to manage process

Marking is not only used for post sale tracking and traceability, but also as an aid to production. By internally labeling parts, assembly and inter-company shipping can be streamlined into more efficient production.
From labeling which side a component is designed to go on, to quality control pass/fail indicators, parts must be organized and categorized to maintain an efficient product standard.

Printing for prevention of counterfeit products

Secret numbers and codes are printed on products recognized only by the manufacturer. If counterfeit products should appear, the manufacturer can use these codes to distinguish which products are unlawful imitations. This printing application has been used as a means of protecting a proprietary brand.

Methods of coding

Methods of printing are divided into "contact marking" and "non-contact marking."

Contact marking


This is a method where a person writes with a pen, which is the simplest and cheapest method.
It is effective when production volume is small, however is very susceptible to human error and is not repeatable or consistent.


Stamps are pressed manually or pressed by a machine.
It is difficult to keep quality printing due to the imprecise nature of stamping. Excess, or insufficient pressure can make marks unreadable.
Stamping cannot reliably maintain quality on curved shapes or update characters in real-time for counters and date logs.


Labels can be used to mark certain products. They often provide optimal contrast and are clearly printed. Because of the seperate production labels require they normally incur a larger cost per part. It is also very easy for labels to peel off losing the mark totally. They do not provide a permanent or reliable solution within production.


Engraving provides a permanent mark which cannot be wiped away from the surface of products. While this advantage is important, many products cannot structural handle ablations.
It also proves difficult to change the contents being marked, or to mark accurately. Marking on shapes that aren't flat is also impossible with this technology.

[Attention!] Non-contact marking

Industrial inkjet printer

Industrial inkjet printer

Ink particles are individually controlled and then projected on to a target to create lasting marks. This technology can print on curved and angled surfaces because of the lenient focal range inherent to this technology. One of the main advantages of IJP is its ability to print at high-speeds. Variable data can be programmed in for easy operation when using counters, lot codes, date codes, or other constantly changing strings.

Laser marker

Laser marker

Characters are marked by moving focused light across the X, Y, and Z planes.Laser markings cannot be rubbed away or erased, so they are a viable option for permanent marking of any kind.

POINT Non-Contact Advantage

Contact marking has to be done on a stationary target, even if the target is only stopping for an instant. This type of indexing creates problems for production lines that need to operate continuously. Non-Contact marking allows for a continuous production line, such that manufacturing can continue to operate at high-speeds without any interuption. Non-Contact marks are also preferrable for soft and rounded applications where mark deformation may occur. For non-contact marking there is no need to change marking plates or stamps, which makes it easy to change contents or products on the same line easily.

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Permanent marks without ink

3-Axis Hybrid Laser Marker MD-X1000/1500 series

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