Coding in a Wet Environment

All coders should be reliable, easy to use, and apply high-quality batch and date codes onto a range of products – but each sector has its own specific requirements. For beverages, one stands out above all: the ability to code effectively in a wet environment.

Our recent voice-of-customer research underlines this. When we asked our beverage customers to name the main challenges they face with regard to coding and marking, it was this need that came up time and again – whether the product they were filling was bottled water, fruit juice or beer.

This is no surprise. If the code fails to adhere to a can or bottle before it leaves your factory, you will fail to meet legislative and retailer requirements. Your product could also be vulnerable to counterfeiters, and if you ever need to recall products, a bad situation will be made far worse by your inability to trace where they have gone.

But fear not. We’ve put together the following pointers for choosing a coding and marking solution that will work effectively amid condensation – and therefore help you avoid potentially serious damage to your business caused by slipping up in the wet.

1. Steel is a steal

Our first piece of advice is to select a model that has an IP55- or IP65-washdown stainless steel enclosure. These are designed to allow for continual operation even if the printer is washed down with the rest of the production equipment – which also means that operating in a wet bottling environment will be no problem. Such features are common and are well worth any additional expenditure

2. Think ink…

If continuous ink jet (CIJ) is your technology of choice, inks are available that can penetrate condensation to mark both glass and plastic bottles. These have been specially designed for cold-fill beverage applications or factories where bottles are stored outside for long periods before being brought inside for filling, and they perform excellently in wet environments. (They also perform well in dry environments, so are a good option to cope with changes in factory conditions)

3. … But consider laser

Laser coders use no ink and thus do away altogether with the risk of accidental smudging or dilution. They reliably print clear, consistent codes onto substrates such as plastic, coated metal, glass, labels. What’s more, laser codes are permanent, and so provide the surest guarantee against codes not sticking to their packaging

Don’t slip up with a wishy-washy solution that fails to meet the first test of coding and marking for beverages – instead, choose a coder that delivers clear and durable batch and date codes even in a wet environment, ensuring you always meet the regulations and can protect your brand.

To find out more about the different coding and marking technologies and which one best suits your needs, read our new beverage white paper