Continuous Inkjet Printer FAQ

You will find the following information here:

What does CIJ stand for?

Continuous inkjet, or CIJ, is a small character inkjet printing technology that is ideal for marking on both flat and curved surfaces. It is a non-contact printing method that can utilize a range of continuous inkjet inks to print on almost any substrate. CIJ printers are used throughout the world to print dates, lot and batch numbers, codes, ingredients and other product information and messaging directly on products and packaging.

How does continuous inkjet printing work?

Continuous inkjet printers create a continuous stream of ink that “jets” from the main tank, through a nozzle into a gutter which, with the aid of vacuum pressure, returns the unused ink back into the main tank. This stream is continually broken up (modulated) into individual drops in a very precise and controlled way. To print, the printer then charges single drops within that stream with varying charges, one drop at a time, in a pattern that when flown through a high voltage field inside the printhead, deflects it from the gutter and creates a vertical line of drops (stroke). The greater the charge, the more deflection in the vertical direction. The stroke is a single line of drops which creates one vertical slice of the character(s) or image to be printed. As the product moves past the printer, it creates subsequent strokes with the proper pattern to make up the dots within the dot matrix for each character. The most common “fonts” are made up of seven drops in the vertical direction and five in the direction of travel (stroke). It is also possible to print more than one line at a time, with the lines stacked on top of each other. Single line, dual line, and tri-line codes are most common.

When are continuous inkjet printers the recommended printing solution?

Continuous inkjet printers can print on plastic, metal, glass, paper, cardboard, corrugate, wood, and more. Typical applications include beverage cartons, cans, and pouches, pharmaceuticals, small cardboard boxes, cabling, and small components. Almost any product or packaging that moves on a conveyor or extruder is a good candidate for continuous inkjet printing.

What is the difference between continuous inkjet printing and contact coders?

Continuous inkjet printers never touch the product. The typical optimal distance from the printer’s printhead to the product is 3/16th of an inch, although readable print can be achieved with much longer distances. This gives continuous inkjet printers the advantage to print on more curved and irregular surfaces, like bottles and bags, compared to contact coders.

What is the difference between continuous inkjet printing and DOD technologies?

With continuous inkjet (CIJ) printing, the ink is continuously circulated throughout the printer from the fluids system to the printhead, and back to the fluids system. In DOD technology, the ink is only dispersed when the printer is printing. The continuous cycling of the fluid allows CIJ printers to use inks with faster dry times, where DOD printers would suffer with the ink drying on the printhead.

What is the difference between continuous inkjet printing and LCM technologies?

LCM or “large character marking” uses DOD inkjet technology for print-on-demand case coding. Both high and low-resolution LCM printers are typically used for secondary packing where a larger font is required. While continuous inkjet (CIJ) fonts usually range from 1/8th of an inch to ½ of an inch in height, LCM characters can be over two inches tall.  Like other DOD printers, the code dries more from absorption than from evaporation, which can be quite slow on non-absorbent materials.  This makes LCM most suited for corrugate and other porous materials and not glass, metal, or plastic.

How far away from the product can Videojet continuous inkjet printers print?

For the majority of Videojet continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers, the recommended distance from the end of the CIJ printhead to the product is 3/16” or about 4mm. When the printhead is closer to the product, the code gets smaller and the printed drops are closer together. When the printhead is further than 3/16”, the print height becomes taller, the printed drops are farther apart, and the drops land with less accuracy.

Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets for my Videojet inks and fluids?

MSDS for Videojet fluids are available for download by clicking here.

What types of product detectors does Videojet offer?

Videojet offers a variety of product detectors. Most commonly used are photo-eye type product detectors that employ infrared beams to detect when a product is coming down the line. We also offer metal detectors for metallic product detection and small fiber optic beam detectors for detecting registry marks within a product. Call Videojet Customer Service for more information regarding product detectors at: 1 (833) 760-0609.

How do I contact a local Videojet representative?

Call 1(833) 760-0609 and follow the automated phone system to speak with customer service.

Contact Videojet Technologies

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Service & Support:
(833) 760-0609


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