Accessorise Your Coder

Accessorise Your Coder

When buying a new iPhone online, at countless times during the buying journey you are encouraged to add on an accessory here and choose an extra there. It allows you to take a generic product and adapt it to suit your usage and style.

Printers are very similar. Not every business is the same, so ensuring that your equipment works for you is an important part of selecting the right equipment. Upgrade your printer or coder to do things it could not do before, or simply enhance its functionality. A huge range of accessories and extras are available, and some of them are common across different brands and models.

The supporting infrastructure you’ll need for your technology depends on your production environment, infrastructure, as well as the type of printer selected. Whether you are purchasing continuous ink jet, thermal ink jet, laser or print and apply technologies, the correct supporting solution beyond the core printer will help you to avoid delays and downtime on the production line whilst ensuring your coding operations are efficient.

Here are five examples of items to consider prior to installation:

1. Brackets

To code effectively, you need to make sure the print head and printer are positioned in exactly the right place. That doesn’t just happen automatically. Bracketry can be ordered that ensures your print head is held securely when coding to ensure accuracy. However, you may also require flexibility – you need to consider ordering a bracket that can be manoeuvred when necessary. For example, this is required if and when you change the products you are coding.

2. Stand

A stand can ensure your coding equipment is ideally placed and within proximity of the product you are marking. If your printer has a touchscreen, a stand will make it easier for your production staff to program coding operations, providing an ergonomic solution. Alternatively, you may need to find substitutes for a stand. For example, as you may wish to stack multiple printers on top of another to compensate for “real estate” or space constraints.

3. Print-go mechanism

Ever wondered how a printer knows when to, well, print? Every printer requires a signal that tells it when to fire – whether that’s releasing a drop of ink or firing a laser. Using sensors allows a printer to anticipate products moving down a production line and instruct the correct moment to code the item in question. The type of sensor you need will depend on the substrates you typically code onto.

Retro-reflective sensors work by emitting a beam of light onto a reflector. If the beam is interrupted, the sensor tells the printer to print. Proximity sensors operate by directing a light beam towards the object to be detected. The printer is told to print if the light is reflected by the product.

There are a range of different types of sensors – including sensors for transparent items, which detect the minute signal difference that reflected light undergoes when passing through transparent objects such as see-through plastic containers. You can also connect your printer to a host machine – such as a bottle filler or flexible packaging machine – so that the machines work in tandem.

Which sensor is best for you? That depends on the nuances of your production line and the items you are marking.

4. Encoder

Are all of your production lines consistently running at the same speeds? Maybe, but it’s unlikely. Variances in the speed you run your line can cause printers to produce poor quality codes. Encoders tackle that problem by tracking the exact speed of the conveyor or product to ensure all items are coded correctly. Encoders also require mounting kits, wheels and couplings. Make sure you fully specify your project to account for the variables in your production.

5. Beacon and line stop

Your printer is a critical component of your production operations. It needs to be maintained, cared for, and monitored if you want to achieve maximum OEE and uptime. A beacon is a light tower warning system that alerts production staff if it detects any problems with production machinery – saving both time and money. Line stops can automatically stop the line if a problem is detected. Ultimately, a smaller investment in time and money for the appropriate solution yields longer term benefits – this includes savings for a manufacturer in terms of downtime, OEE or eliminating potential waste of incorrectly coded products or packaging.

Need support?

Finding the right supporting infrastructure, accessories and associated parts for your printer isn’t always straightforward. It depends on the nuances of your production line, the print technology you are working with and the products you are marking. If you would like support, we can help. We have the specialist knowledge to make sure your supporting infrastructure is appropriate for your printer, your production facilities and, ultimately, your profits. Contact us for more advice

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