The right specification for the ink in an inkjet coder is a key to optimizing system performance. Expertise in specifying inks is strength of Nutec Systems Inc. a partner of HP in delivering thermal inkjet solutions.
In straightforward applications such a printing on SBS board matching the ink to the substrate is essential in getting clear legible codes.
However another area where ink formulation is important is package security an issue high on the list of packaging priorities. The ink offers an especially effective medium to permit package authentication a step that reduces the risk of counterfeits.
Packaging security consultants say one of the best places to apply a security mechanism is as close to the end of the packaging operation as possible. That keeps security under the packager’s direct control.
Coding offers unique opportunities to enhance security explains Nutec’s Mike Shaw. “Within the coding inks we can incorporate both overt techniques-those you can see readily-and covert methods which you can’t see. And the application can all be done under the packager’s control” he says.
Overt techniques include color-shifting inks. These hard-to-duplicate inks reflect different colors as they are viewed from different angles. Coding inks can also carry covert mechanisms such as visual and organic taggants. Optical taggants such as fluorescent and phosphorescent inks identify whether a package came off a specific manufacturers production lines. Viewed in the distribution chain with the proper lighting these inks “glow” to display their “pedigree.” In addition DNA or enzyme-based taggants provide security at the forensic level.
Another way thermal inkjet technology delivers security is in its ability to print codes. The HP print heads can print RSS and data matrix codes. These codes printed in millions of variations add a unique ID to each package. That ID helps packagers track-and-trace individual units further verifying authenticity.
Nutec has a large install base in the pharmaceutical industry. “Virtually all of them are capable of delivering the security inks and the serialized codes that add to package security” Shaw says.