How Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printing Work


Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printing technology has a history dating back to the 1950s. Over time, this technology has evolved significantly, making modern CIJ printers indispensable for industrial marking purposes.

CIJ printers are capable of rapidly printing lines of information without making physical contact with the printing surface. They can imprint text, graphics, barcodes, and labels on a variety of surfaces, including plastic, metal, glass, and more. Whether the surface is porous or non-porous, flat or curved, CIJ printers excel in delivering precise markings.

Here’s a closer look at how CIJ printers operate:

  1.  Ink Reservoir: CIJ printers contain an ink reservoir where the printing ink is stored.
  2. High-Pressure Pump: The printer employs a high-pressure pump to force the ink from the reservoir into a small nozzle. This process happens consistently at an unchanging pace.
  3. Ink Droplets Formation: As the ink exits the nozzle, it is fragmented into tiny droplets. Simultaneously, an electrode charges these droplets.
  4. Electrostatic Plates: These charged ink droplets then pass through a series of electrostatic plates. These plates direct the droplets onto the printing surface, forming characters, codes, or images.
  5. High-Speed Process: The entire process unfolds at a remarkable speed, with thousands of ink droplets being projected every second.

Applications of CIJ Printers:

CIJ printers find widespread use in various industrial and commercial printing applications due to their versatility, high-speed capabilities, and compatibility with diverse surfaces. Common applications include:

  • Product Labeling: Used to print labels on products in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and cosmetics.
  • Batch Coding: Helps manufacturers track and trace products throughout the supply chain.
  • Barcoding: Prints essential information like prices or product categories in barcodes, aiding point-of-sale operations.
  • Date Coding: Imprints manufacturing and expiry dates on products.
  • Serial Numbering: Enables product identification and tracking via printed serial numbers.
  • Security Printing: Utilized to incorporate security features such as invisible ink, watermarks, and QR codes, reducing counterfeiting and fraud risks.

Benefits of CIJ Printers:

  1. High-Speed Printing: CIJ printers can print codes on products moving at speeds of up to 1,000 feet per minute, ensuring efficient production processes.
  2. Reliable Markings: CIJ printers create clear, legible, and permanent markings on products, which are crucial for traceability, anti-counterfeiting efforts, and compliance with regulations.
  3. Ease of Maintenance: With minimal moving parts, CIJ printers are easy to maintain. Regularly cleaning filters prevents clogging, ensuring continuous operation.
  4. Adaptability to Environmental Conditions: CIJ printers can perform reliably in high-temperature environments, making them suitable for manufacturing settings with elevated temperatures and challenging conditions.
  5. Non-Contact Printing on Various Surfaces: CIJ printers excel at printing on both porous and non-porous surfaces, as well as flat and curved objects, such as cans, bottles, boxes, pipes, and wires.
  6. Versatile Ink Options: CIJ technology supports various ink types, including high-temperature, non-transfer, pigmented, alcohol-resistant, and UV-readable inks.

Types of Surfaces for CIJ Printing:

While CIJ printers are versatile and can print on a wide range of surfaces, the choice of ink varies depending on the material:

  • Plastics: CIJ printers are suitable for printing on polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, PET, and polystyrene.
  • Metals: They can imprint markings on aluminum, steel, and copper surfaces.
  • Glass: CIJ printers are compatible with glass surfaces, including bottles, jars, and windows.
  • Paper and Cardboard: They can print on paper and cardboard packaging materials, including corrugated boxes, cartons, and labels.
  • Fabrics: CIJ printers can be used for fabric printing on materials like cotton, polyester, and nylon.
  • Wood: Wooden surfaces, including furniture, plywood, and panels, are also suitable for CIJ printing.

In summary, CIJ technology offers high-quality, non-contact printing that can adapt to challenging industrial environments. Whether it’s for high-speed production lines or fragile products, CIJ printers are invaluable tools in today’s industrial sector.