Printing on Boxes, Cartons and Cases

Case Coding and Printing

If you’re a manufacturer of food or consumer products in general, no doubt you’ll need to make a number of decisions regarding packaging and how to code those packages so they comply with shipping regulations.  This article examines the various alternatives for Case Coding and how to evaluate what’s best for your operation.

Corrugated shipping cases go through an initial process whereby the fixed information is printed… name, company branding, etc.  But for variable information on cases, more and more manufacturers are reducing its number of box SKU’s and they’re going with digital coders.  By variable, we’re referring to the information that changes from one product line to another, such as product name, part numbers, lot/batch numbers, expiration dates, quantities, special handling instructions and more.

Package printing and coding options:

  • Print & Apply labels are popular because the resolution is very high and has the possibility for full color.  The obvious trade-off is cost as Print & Apply must overcome the high cost of printing plus the paper label itself.
  • -Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) is a versatile print technology that excels with non-porous packaging surfaces.  Since CIJ is lower in resolution, the print appears as dots on cases which is problematic when manufacturers need the barcodes on their cases to read when received by retailers.
  • Piezoelectric Inkjet (Piezo) is one of the contenders for case coding.  The print resolution is capable of higher resolution too.  But piezo has fewer options and availability for both printheads and ink.  And when the piezo printhead must be replaced there can be a significant cost for the manufacturer.
  • Wax jet is case coding technology from Markem-Imaje.  The technology is high resolution and environmentally friendly, and is capable of fast print speeds.   The manufacturer, however, has delays in warm-up times, and the permanence of the wax ink is susceptible to UV light and color fading.
  • Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) is generally regarded as the #1 technology for Case Coding.  TIJ is high resolution, and meets retailer requirements for readable barcodes.  With bulk ink supplies TIJ is a very affordable technology, and certain bulk systems enable ‘hot swapping” so the line doesn’t stop when changing out consumables.  TIJ also includes spot color capabilities to help certain information stand-out from other data printed on the box.

When it comes to the creation of  high-quality, accurate coding on boxes, cartons and cases look no further than Case Printing Solutions.  Call us for assistance to: (1) troubleshoot your inkjet printer, (2) implement a bulk ink system, (3) buy & save when purchasing original and remanufactured HP ink products, (4) rebuild your print system and thereby extend its useful life, and (5) upgrade to a new print system.  Case Printing Solutions helps you get the most from your HP TIJ system and maximize Return on Investment.  Contact us today: (541) 754-2273, or