Ever found yourself confused with coding and labelling acronyms? Here, we decode the acronyms every manufacturer needs to know.
LPA = Label Printer Applicator
Label Printer Applicators (LPAs) print information onto pressure-sensitive labels, then automatically apply those labels onto cartons, pallets and products. You might also know them as “print and apply” solutions, because that’s literally what they do. They can print information such as variable large and small human-readable text, logos, graphics, and barcodes in the correct format (usually ITF-14 or GS1-128), and apply the label to one side, adjacent sides or opposite sides of the carton.
- High volumes of labels with variable barcodes, product information or graphics.
- Labelling a variety of substrates, such as cartons, plastics, timber, and metal (including steel).
- High-resolution barcode labels and SSCC pallet labels, which are fully compliant with GS1 and retailer quality standards.
- RFID Smart Labels
LA = Label Applicator
If you have your labels ready to go, a Label Applicator (LA) is a cost-effective alternative to the manual “slap-and-ship”. Unlike LPAs, they don’t print the labels, rather, LAs are automated labelling systems that apply pre-printed pressure-sensitive labels onto cartons, trays and primary products. For barcoding especially, they provide the professional look of precise label placement.
- Applying labels with information including ingredient lists, nutritional panels and general product information to flat, tapered and round surfaces.
- Applying pre-printed barcode labels or promotional and marketing labels onto retail packs.
CIJ = Continuous Inkjet
Small Character Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) is a non-contact printing method. Electrically charged droplets of ink are expelled from a print-head nozzle at up to 120,000 droplets per second onto a substrate. Because the ink droplets are just half the diameter of a human hair, CIJ printing technology delivers precise and reliable results, at speed. CIJ coders are also famously easy to use, reliable and have a low cost of ownership, thanks to the robust, sealed print-head.
- Variable information, e.g.: date codes, batch numbers, promotional codes, serialisation codes, product identification codes.
- Graphics, logos and small character text
- High-speed lines
- Irregular products in food & grocery, beverages (non-alcoholic, wine and bottled water), pharmaceutical, cosmetic and timber
- Harsher production environments
DOD = Drop on Demand
Large Character Drop on Demand (DOD) inkjet printers are great for more demanding industrial applications. They can mark low to moderate resolution, small to large characters onto a variety of substrates, including secondary packaging, timber, metal, concrete, plastics, foam and more. Each print-head contains several individual valves arranged in a single column. The valves are able to open and close independently to form ink drops “on demand”, which drop precisely onto the substrate as it moves adjacent to the print-head, DOD is a highly reliable and durable coding technology, simple to operate and boasts lower capital and operational costs than many inkjet technologies.
- Printing larger information, such as a product name and batch information, directly onto the carton.
- Demanding industrial applications and hardware product marking, e.g. timber, metal, steel pipes, roofing etc.
- 2D codes on a variety of packaging substrates
TTO = Thermal Transfer Overprinter
Thermal Transfer Overprinters (TTO) are a highly cost-effective printing solution. TTOs use a high-resolution thermal print-head that melts a wax or resin-based ink from a thin thermal transfer ribbon (“foil”) coating onto the product’s surface. The thermal transfer ribbon’s smooth and waxy surface creates less friction when coding onto packaging, resulting in a crisp, durable print. As such, a thermal transfer barcode is highly resistant to any chemicals, humidity, UV, abrasion and climatic changes that product packaging may encounter along the supply chain.
- High-speed production for clear printing results.
- Generic flexible packaging film and self-adhesive labels.
- Printing date codes and automated barcodes onto snack foods, confectionary and fresh produce.
- Products that need to endure friction, changes in temperature or dampness, and last more than 6 months (long-life manufactured goods).
TIJ = Thermal Inkjet
Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) coders use a cartridge containing an ink reservoir and a series of resistive elements. Each element is activated by an electrical current, which then heats the ink to create an ink droplet. The droplet is ejected out of the faceplate nozzle and onto the substrate. TIJ technology is extremely fast and will print exceptional quality; the time between each firing is only 100 millionths of a second and the technology has a throw distance of 1-6mm (depending on the print-head used).
- Printing legible product information directly onto the carton (Gelato Messina does exactly this to save on labelling costs).
- Porous and non-porous packaging, from cartons for food & beverage to timber marking and grading.
- High line speeds
LCM = Large Character Marking
Some inkjet technologies, such as the Matthews Mperia V-Series 8000+, have exceptional print flexibility when it comes to large-size information. Print-heads can create character heights from 5mm to 128mm. To achieve large character marking, you can even stack print-heads on top of each other. This is ideal for large graphics, such as logos.
If you want to talk to the experts about your coding and labelling solution, or decode some more coding and labelling acronyms, contact the Matthews Australasia team.
Looking for highly informative case studies, whitepapers and infographics for manufacturing? Or videos showing solutions in action and lots of detailed of brochures? Find all that and more in Matthews’ large resource library. It also has presentations we’ve done to industry bodies and articles from our thought leaders. Plus, it’s all free to download!
Image credit: iStock / Yonca Alparslan